Last but not least- the American League
MVP – you’d think they’d name it after someone like all the hockey awards. I mean, if the best pitcher award is the “Cy Young” maybe the MVP should be the “Ted Williams” or ‘Babe Ruth award”. Just sayin’… anyway, my choice for the big honor is…
Mookie Betts, Boston. Gotta admit, my first gut instinct at the end of the season was for the runner-up – J.D. Martinez – but upon studying the stats and consideration, Betts deserves to win out. Too bad an ab strain kept him out of the lineup for half of June or he might have been even more clear-cut best. But even with that, in his 136 games, he hit .346, launched 32 homers, 80 RBI and was tied for second in the league with 47 doubles. 81 walks helped his on base soar to .438 and all in all, he was second best in the majors with a 1.078 OPS. Gotta like that he only ground into 5 DPs all year too. Perhaps though the tipping point for me, making Mookie the most valuable on the best team was he played 131 games in the outfield, and rather well too. Which is something my second-place,
J.D. Martinez, Boston, couldn’t boast. Not that his fielding was bad by any means, but he had only 32 games with any fielding mixed in, being by and large the full-time DH. I don’t believe that a desginated hitter can’t be an MVP, but in a virtual tie, you have to give the nod to the more multi-dimensional player. That said, Martinez was a huge addition to the Sox and they probably wouldn’t have won it all without him. .330, 43 HR, major-league best 130 RBI, .629 slugging percentage, 188 hits (second in league)… he did all that New England hoped he would and then some.
third- Khris Davis – Oakland. the outfielder/DH led the world with 48 homers this year, in a division which isn’t terribly inclined to a lot of longballs, and drove in 123. Granted he hit only .247 but his .549 slugging percentage was quite stellar and the award does say valuable not all-around “best.” The A’s amazed, making it into the Wild Card with a, well, kind of lacklustre team, and one has to think that Khris’ dynamic hitting was the thing that lifted them there…. there weren’t a lot of other big bats on the Bay’s east side to back him up!
fourth – Luis Severino – New York. While he finished just out of my top picks for Cy Young, he was a powerhouse on the mound, being 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA over 191 innings. The Yanks had a balanced and talented postion lineup, with Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks ,Giancarlo Stanton and rookie of the year choice Miguel Andujar all contributing well but none were head-turning or completely invaluable. But the starting rotation was shaky for the pinstripes, especially before J.A. Happ arrived, and one has to think that without Severino, digging deeper into their farm system or trying to recycle another aging starter in the Jaime Garcia ilk would have led to problems …and no triple-digit win tally for them this year.
Honorable mentions- Mike Trout – L.A. Anaheim , Blake Snell – Tampa Bay, Jose Ramirez – Cleveland, and yes a bad team but still, Whit Merrifield – Kansas City. How stinky would they have been without his infield glove, league-leading 192 hits and his 45 steals?
Well the owners will be meeting in a couple of weeks, free agents will be flying free and just hours back I saw that soar-backed superstar Clayton Kershaw did what most expected him to do, namely sign an extension to stay in L.A. We’ll look at the off-season, some free agent predictions and what Toronto should be doing this winter in the coming weeks….