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LA Angels: 3 MVP candidates competing with Shohei Ohtani

May 25, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) hits a single in the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) hits a single in the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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May 22, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
May 22, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Gerrit Cole is on a mission to break the trend of pitchers not winning MVPs.

The last pitcher to win an MVP was Clayton Kershaw in 2014, and the last pitcher to win an AL MVP was Justin Verlander in 2011.

It’s tough to win an AL MVP as a pitcher. National League pitchers don’t have to worry about facing a DH anywhere near as much, and they get a free out in every lineup most games.

Gerrit Cole‘s just different. His fWAR is at 2.8, a full game higher than the next AL starting pitcher.

He’s third in the AL in ERA (1.81), second in the AL in K/9 with 12.80 Ks, and second in BB/9 with 1.11 BBs. He’s allowing an absurdly low .191 batting average against him.

Nobody can hit Cole. Nobody can hit Ohtani either, but obviously Cole is a better pitcher right now.

Not only are those numbers better, but Cole can start more games. Ohtani can’t start every fifth game due to potentially fatiguing his arm. That being said, Cole obviously isn’t a full-time DH like Ohtani.

Cole has absolutely entered MVP conversation, but when it comes down to true value, even an Ace like Cole is going to struggle to compete with someone who can both pitch like an Ace and rake at the same time.

It’s tough to be more ‘valuable’ than somebody as versatile as Ohtani, but especially when you’re a starting pitcher, and the voters have been telling you that your position is not as ‘valuable’ as position players when looking at the way they’ve been voting.

That’s why this next and final candidate who will be competing with Ohtani for MVP, like Guerrero, is a position player.

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