Where Does Mike Trout Sit in the Early AL MVP Race?
By Vincent Page
Sure, it is only April and Mike Trout just missed a series due to a groin strain. However, is it ever too early to talk about where the LA Angels’ superstar sits in the race for the American League MVP Award?
For Mike Trout, this has been perhaps his hottest start to a season so far in his career. His efforts in the first full week of the season earned Trout his first AL Player of the Week Award since 2015, which seems really weird considering he has been the best player in the MLB for six years straight now.
In just 12 games, Trout is slashing .406/.592/.938 and has been dynamic in the field. The highlights of his defensive play can be narrowed down to two plays. The first one being when he gunned down a Texas Ranger at home plate. The runner never had a chance of scoring due to Trout’s throw being absolutely perfect. The second, well, just ask Christian Yelich.
At the plate, Trout has absolutely carried the Angels’ offense when he has played. Without anyone threatening hitting behind him, pitchers have been intentionally walking Trout before he can even leave the on deck circle.
Since he has missed a handful of games it’s hard to make an argument for Trout based on stats. While he has absolutely mashed anytime he has stepped into the box (and been pitched to), he has 12-20 less at-bats than the other main candidates for MVP.
Who are those candidates by the way? Well the first five I recognized as legit threats (basically players who aren’t role players getting started hot i.e Daniel Vogelbach), were: Jose Altuve, Matt Chapman, Gary Sanchez, Austin Meadows, and Khris Davis.
Outside of that group, players such as Mookie Betts, Carlos Correa, and Aaron Judge are always candidates for the award. However, right now I’d have to guess Trout isn’t just the front runner in the eyes of Angels’ fans, but in the eyes of the entire MLB world.
Even with missing these past few games, Trout still leads the entire league in WAR. Whether you agree with WAR as the best measure of a players’ value or not, that is an extremely impressive feat for Trout. It becomes even more impressive when you realize Trout isn’t just the league leader in WAR and the favorite for MVP, but he is on pace to have the greatest season of all-time.
There is no doubt in my mind Trout is going to pick up right where he left off once he returns. And as long as he doesn’t miss any more extended time this year, Trout will be adding his third MVP to his trophy case this winter.