For just the second time in his Hall of Fame career, Mike Trout is not a finalist for the American League MVP.
With the MVP award finalists being announces, Los Angeles Angels fans were left scratching their heads because a familiar name to the Halo faithful was left off the top three finalists for only the second time in his career. Mike Trout missed the top three for the first time since 2017 and only the second time ever. If 2020 wasn’t already weird enough, Mike Trout, for the first time, may have not deserved to be in the top three.
I know, crazy to think that Mike Trout doesn’t deserve to be in the conversation for MVP. However, Trout only played in 53 games this season out of 60 and while his numbers neared similar to Indians slugger, Jose Ramirez, the argument isn’t strong enough to pick Trout over him.
Let’s not get to ahead of ourselves now, Trout will more than likely have another top four finish and still be considered the best in the game. In a shortened season, some guys just had career years and Trout just had another one of those, Mike Trout years, where he hits bombs, robs home runs and flirts with a slash line that people would be okay being banned from baseball for being able to have just once.
White Sox Jose Abreu and Yankees DJ LeMahieu both had unbelievable seasons where one of them led the American League in batting average, slugging, on base percentage, OPS, OPS+ and more. Anyone who really looks at those players numbers this year would have a tough argument validating why anyone else deserves the award. However, I am sure someone with a vote will do it.
Ramirez and Trouts numbers were eerily similar in 2020. With Trout playing five less games, they both had the same amount of home runs (17), RBI’s (46), and OPS (.993). Trout had half of his base hits as extra base hits and Ramirez had two more than half as extra base hits. Ramirez also edged him by four more runs to have a total of 45 which was good enough to lead the American League.
If we sit back and really break it down, there is not enough of an argument to say that Trout deserves to be top three over Ramirez and it doesn’t really matter, especially since that Abreu or LeMahieu are going to win the MVP anyway. Now, if Trout plays all 60, more than likely Trouts numbers go up instead of down and he is probably sitting top two instead of maybe third instead of fourth.
If this was a full season, I’m sure Trout would have blasted around 40ish bombs and had numbers we have come to accept as normal for a talent like him. I’ll defend Mike Trout being the best player in baseball until he retires. This was a shortened season where he didn’t play every game and his trophy shelf will likely fill with specs of dust in between all of his other MVP’s until next year.
Having to debate if Mike Trout deserves to be top three instead of top four in the MVP race is the least of Angels fans worries right now. Mike Trout will do what he always does in 2021 and likely be the MVP favorite by the all-star break. I’m sure he’d trade in all of his regular season MVP’s for a World Series MVP. Hopefully, the Angels put the pieces around him this offseason to make that more realistic for the next few years.