The AL MVP Race Consists of Two Players- Mookie and Mike
For years, Mike Trout has reigned supreme as the face of Major League Baseball. He has two MVP awards to his name already. Until this year, no one questioned his status as the best player in baseball. However, Mookie Betts is dominating this year for the first-place Red Sox. The results of the All-Star Game fan voting showed him with 600,000 more votes than Trout. While this is by no means an accurate measure of their skill, the stats show that it’s time to consider Mookie the best player in baseball right now.
(Disclaimer: note that this is RIGHT NOW. Trout has had a far more successful career. Just making it clear.)
Let’s get this out of the way right now: yes, Mike Trout has a better WAR than Mookie Betts. Trout’s is 7.1, Betts’ is 5.9. Some people think that is the end-all, be-all of baseball statistics. It is not. That is a conversation for another time, though.
Let’s start with batting average-the most basic baseball statistic. Mookie Betts currently leads all of baseball in this area, currently hitting .352. Mike Trout is hitting .314. Trout has a higher on-base percentage, beating Mookie .457 to .440. All that means is that more of Trout’s appearances on base come from walks, while Mookie hits more, but draws walks less. Mookie’s slugging percentage is .683 right now, leading the MLB. Trout’s is .618. Betts also leads the league in OPS (on-base plus slugging), with an absurd 1.123, in front of Trout’s 1.075. If you’re looking at solely these numbers, you’re thinking Betts is better, no?
Maybe you’re not a percentage fan. If that’s the case, take a gander at these numbers. Thus far this year, Trout has had 415 plate appearances and Mookie has 341. During these PA’s, Mookie has the same number of hits (102), seven more doubles (25 to 18), and two fewer homers (25 to 23). Not too shabby for having 74 fewer appearances at the plate. This season, Mookie also has just one less RBI, and has scored five more runs. However, Trout has been far better at drawing walks, taking 81 bases on balls to Betts’ 43.
Look at the numbers. Mookie Betts is statistically a better baseball player than Mike Trout this season. It doesn’t hurt that number 50 is leading the Sox to the MLB’s best record at 66-29, riding a ten-game win streak. Meanwhile, Trout’s Angels are 48-46. A team’s record is obviously not indicative of an individual’s success (see Machado, Manny), but it’s worth mentioning.
As the league approaches the All-Star break, both players are destroying the rest of the league. The two are in a tier all by themselves, above the rest of the MLB. Don’t discount how good of a baseball player Mike Trout is. It’s crazy what he’s been able to do for years. However, right now, Betts is the best player in baseball. We’ll see who takes home the MVP award at the end of the year.
*Stats accurate as of Friday, June 13th.
Follow me on Twitter: @jackbuffett_