First, it was the rookies. Then it was the managers. Next were the pitchers. Now it’s time for MVPs in MLB Awards week. It’s time for the big reveal on the award everyone anticipates most: He Who Brings Value.
We won’t waste time here. First up, it’s the American League nominees and their vitals:
- Alex Bregman, Houston Astros: .296 average, 41 home runs, 112 RBI, 1.015 OPS
- Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics: .285 average, 33 HRs, 92 RBI, 10 SBs, .892 OPS
- Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels: .291 average, 45 HRs, 104 RBI, 11 SBs, 1.083 OPS
It’s surprising to see no candidates with .300-plus averages on this list, and we doubt that has happened a lot lately. A few thoughts: Bregman and Semien played shortstop for playoff squads, while Trout only played 134 games for a sub-.500 team in 2019. Keep those details in mind.
All three players reside in the AL West, surprisingly enough. In addition, all three players accrued excellent WAR numbers over 8.0 this season, with Bregman leading the way (8.4) and Trout coming up second (8.3). Semien’s 8.1 mark was right behind them both. That really shouldn’t matter in this discussion then.
Look, we know Trout is the best player of this generation, but he didn’t play a full season, and his team finished 35 games out of first place. We can’t give him the award in a season where there are other worthy candidates. Maybe baseball historians will slam us for that, and we might not blame them.
Bregman has a huge edge in OPS, of course, although he also was surrounded by superior teammates. Semien has an edge in dWAR (defensive value), but it’s only 0.3 dWAR. We’re not sure that’s enough to overcome Bregman’s other advantages.
We’d love to see someone unlikely win the award, but Bregman did have the better season for the better team, and with some of the injuries that happened to the Astros, he stepped up to deliver. Bregman should win this award.
Now, the candidates for the National League MVP award and the details:
- Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers: .305 BA, 47 HRs, 115 RBI, 15 SBs, 1.035 OPS
- Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals: .319 BA, 34 HRs, 126 RBI, 1.010 OPS
- Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers: .329 BA, 44 HRs, 97 RBI, 30 SBs, 1.100 OPS
All three players’ teams made it to the postseason, although Yelich’s team did it despite him missing 32 games. That’s interesting, despite his superior numbers in multiple categories. This award also does not factor in October efforts, so Rendon’s brilliant October does not matter in this vote.
What stands out here is Bellinger’s big edge in WAR (9.0), which handily outpaces the numbers put up by Rendon (6.3) and Yelich (7.1). The Dodgers didn’t get a lot out of some of their regular “stars” in 2019, and Bellinger carried the team to the best record in the league this season. That has to count for something.
So, despite all three players’ excellent seasons, we give the big nod to Bellinger and expect the voters to do so as well.
Stay tuned for Spring 2020 when we start analyzing past award gaffes in MLB!