Who Ya Got: American League MVP
I’m gonna run a “Who Ya Got” column on a pretty regular basis from now on to talk about 2 or 3 options for something and which one I think I have as the winner. This time it’s American League MVP because it’s a hot topic with so many options. We have a bunch of names you could throw into the mix like Manny Machado, Jose Altuve and Mike Trout, but I’m going to focus this on two Boston Red Sox to see who on the team should win it (I’m a homer I know but it’s gotta be one of these two guys).
So with all that said, who ya got between David Ortiz and Mookie Betts?
It’s a really, really tough call and I’m afraid neither will win it because they will split a lot of votes but these guys have been the overall stars of the American League this year. Mookie was my preseason pick to win MVP but even I didn’t anticipate him being this good. He’s gone above and beyond and become one of the game’s top 5 players and top 2 or 3 outfielders at least. I thought a good comparison for him would be Andrew McCutchen, but he’s blown by that.
Betts is second in the AL in runs scored, first in hits, tied for 16th in homers (with 31), fourth in RBI, tied for 2nd in doubles, tied for 8th in triples and 2nd in WAR. He is 6th in steals with 24 and has only been caught 4 times, 10th in OPS and 6th in average. He’s also just an electrifying base runner and an above average fielder with a great arm. He’s got a .997 fielding percentage with just one error, 13 assists and a defensive WAR of 2.7. He’s quickly become a star in this game and is really deserving of an MVP award in his second year. I mean, people are comparing him to Willie Mays which is a reach but obviously, he’s killing it.
On the other side we’ve got the elder statesman, the opposite of Mookie, who is absolutely crushing in his final tour around the MLB. It’s Big Papi. He’s having the greatest season any 40 year old hitter has ever had and the greatest final season as well. He just mashed his 36th homer last night to move him into a tie for 8th in the AL. He’s second in RBI with 121 (his most in 10 years) and he really looks like he did a decade ago. Well, he might actually be better than he’s ever been. And every homer he launches seems like it comes in a key situation to take the lead or tie the game. He’s ninth in walks, fourth in average, second in OBP, first in slugging and first in OPS. Ortiz is sixteenth in WAR, first in doubles, twenty second in hits and 36th in runs. He also somehow has two steals (without being caught) and a triple. He’s putting a beat down on the league and he’s been doing it for a longggg time now. It almost seems criminal that he is retiring.
When picking between these guys, it’s hard to make a case against Mookie Betts. He’s more well rounded as Ortiz does not run the bases well or play the field at all, and statistically he’s just got a better round up than Ortiz, and most players, have.
But as I watch these two guys lead the Red Sox into another October and tear apart the Orioles this week, I keep coming back to Ortiz. The guy is doing something magical. He’ll probably hit 40 homers at 40 years old. He’s passing the torch, but for the next month and a half it’s still his. I don’t think he’ll win, but he’d get my vote for MVP. He deserves it after never having won one in his long time assaulting baseballs. Mookie has a lot of time to win many accolades and he deserves many this year, but not MVP.
I got Ortiz.