Most people around baseball agree that Mike Trout is one of the most dynamic and complete players in the game today.
Some have even suggested that Trout should be the face of baseball. If you are a Los Angeles Angels fan or just a baseball fan, you should know that you are watching a special player in Trout. Every game I have attended over the past four years that Trout has been on the team, I watch in anticipation of seeing something special, and most of the time Trout does not disappoint.
Trout has won numerous awards in his four-year career, including the 2012 Rookie of the Year, 2014 and 2015 All-Star Game MVP and the 2014 AL MVP. Also, he has been an AL All-Star all four years and Trout has been voted to be a starter three times. Trout has also won the Silver Slugger Award all four seasons and has been a Gold Glove finalist twice. Trout could have very easily been a three-time AL MVP award winner if it wasn’t for Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera, who Trout finished a close second to twice.
Mike Trout plays all out every day and the Los Angeles Angels would have been nowhere close to the playoffs without him. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
So back to the matter at hand. In three days, the AL and NL MVP award winners will be announced with all the hoopla and fanfare that goes along with the announcements. The three AL finalists are Trout, Toronto’s Josh Donaldson and Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain. However, most baseball experts believe it is a two-man race between Trout and Donaldson.
Here is why I believe that Trout should win the 2015 AL MVP. If you look at the numbers in many areas, Trout and Donaldson’s stats are very even. Trout and Donaldson each hit 41 home runs and Trout batted .299 while Donaldson checked it at .297. Of the three triple crown categories, the only major disparity is in RBIs, as Donaldson drove in 123 to Trout’s 90, which can be attributed in large part to where Trout batted in the lineup and also the fact that many times Trout came up with no one on base.
So let’s dig deeper. Donaldson did score more runs (122 to 104), but again a lot of that can be attributed to the Angels’ lack of offense as Trout was on base more often as is evidenced by his .402 on-base percentage as compared to Donaldson’s .371 OBP. Trout also had a league-leading slugging percentage of .590, compared to Donaldson’s .568 percentage. Furthermore, Trout also had a higher overall OPS (on base + slugging percentage), which Trout also led the league in at .991, compared to Donaldson’s .939 OPS. Finally, in one of those special sabermetric categories that seems to be very popular, Trout’s wins above replacement is higher at 9.4, compared to 8.8 for Donaldson.
So in many of the batting numbers, Trout is slightly, if not a lot, better than Donaldson. Let’s look at the defensive side of the coin and there to me is no comparison. Donaldson is an average to above average third baseman, while Trout is an above average to an exceptional center fielder. Donaldson had 482 total chances and made 22 errors for a .952 fielding percentage, which is respectable for a third baseman, but definitely not eye-popping. Meanwhile, Trout had 435 total chances and made no errors for a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. Trout also had many highlight-reel plays throughout the year, which got him recognition as a finalist for the Gold Glove award for the second time in four years. Donaldson has never been a finalist for a Gold Glove.
It’s true, third basemen tend to make more errors because of tricky hops and the nature of the hot corner, but most people who have watched Trout and Donaldson would say without hesitation that Trout is a better fielder at his position than Donaldson is at his spot. Finally, the argument what does Most Valuable Player mean exactly. I believe it means how important you are to your team, and where would your team be without you in the lineup.
Without Mike Trout, the Angels would have struggled mightily and would have been nowhere close to making the playoffs. Toronto on the other hand would have been hurt without Donaldson as well, but they had so many other weapons to rely on besides him such as Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, who both drove in over 100 runs and hit 40 and 39 home runs, respectively. The Blue Jays also had Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Revere in the lineup as well. Trout did have Albert Pujols (40 homers, 95 RBIs) and Kole Calhoun (26 homers, 83 RBIs), however they never had a true lead-off hitter and as a whole, their lineup was not nearly as deep as the Blue Jays.
So I strongly believe that Trout is more deserving of the 2015 MVP as he was overall a better player than Donaldson was this season. My vote is for Trout. What about you? Who would you vote for if you had the chance and tell us why you believe the person you would vote for is the most deserving of the 2015 AL MVP.