Cleat Geeks

Could Mike Trout Still Win MVP?

If you didn’t think it was possible for Mike Trout to be any better than he already was, I’ve got some scary news for you.
He is.
After missing nearly seven weeks of the season due to a thumb injury, Trout is mashing, and (again) celebrated his birthday in a big way on Monday night, hitting a major milestone: 1,000 career hits. Trout obviously likes playing on his birthday, having already hit dingers on his 21st, 22nd and 24th. He celebrated 26 on Monday by becoming the youngest player in MLB history to hit that many home runs on his birthday. And the statistics he’s piling up at his age continue to boggle the mind. He followed that up later in the game with this monster blast off the left field foul pole.

But after missing more than a month and a half of game action, is it still possible for him to win the AL MVP?

He has led the American League in WAR each of the last five seasons, and has quickly narrowed the gap between himself and his competitors since returning, now just 1.0 fWAR away from catching Aaron Judge.

Despite having played 38 fewer games than Judge and 39 fewer than Jose Altuve, Trout’s WAR totals put him within striking distance of both players.
Of course, MVP voters look at more than just WAR when determining who to name the Most Valuable Player, but it’s remarkable that Trout has been able to gain ground so quickly. And at the moment, Trout is at career highs in batting average, on-base percentage percentage, slugging percentage, weighted on base average (wOBA) and weighted runs created (wRC+). I don’t want the excuse that Trout can’t win the MVP because the Angels won’t make the playoffs. Trout proved last year by winning the MVP while the Angels missed the playoffs.

Since returning from his injury, Trout is hitting an astounding .363/.469/.663 with 7 home runs and 3 doubles in 96 plate appearances. Meanwhile, Judge has slumped a bit since the All-Star break, batting .182/.333/.377 with just 5 dingers and 12 RBIs in 22 games.

Altuve is a different story. Perhaps the best pure hitter in the game, the Houston Astros’ incredible second baseman has been just as productive as Trout since the All-Star Game.
Altuve and Trout have virtually the same fWAR since the second half of the season began. It’s likely Altuve is the leading contender for AL MVP at the moment in my opinion, but could Trout catch him in WAR and make things interesting for voters?
It will take a herculean effort from Trout over the final two months of the season to do so, but remember, this is Mike Trout we’re talking about.

 

 

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