Mike Trout is no MVP, Alfonso Soriano is — baseball columnists

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I know these are just two opinions from a couple of random dudes, but wowzers.

First, Gary Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, who has a slide show — annoying, by the way — with his thoughts on MVP candidates. His comment on Mike Trout:

The Angels are charging, but Trout is showing signs of fatigue. He was hitting .275 with an .855 OPS since Aug. 1. Good numbers for a rookie, but not the stuff of an MVP.

Thing is, the MVP is not an award based on August 1 numbers only. It’s for the whole year, and for the whole year Trout still leads the league in hitting, is second in OPS, plays stellar defense at a key position and leads the league in stolen bases. If you’re into WAR, he is lapping the field. Not that you need to be into WAR to appreciate how much better Trout has been than anyone this season.  If you’re into that whole “carry your team on your back” thing, look at where the Angels were when they called him up and look at them now.

Heck, even if you want to take Fraley’s bait and look at how the guy has done lately, just look at just the second half of the season. There are hardly any players hitting better than Trout since the break, including Adrian Beltre, who Fraley talks up big. Trout has the same number of homers, a better average, a better OBP and only a slightly lower slugging percentage. Miguel Cabrera has hit better since then, sure, but c’mon, Trout’s season is one of the best all-around years we’ve seen in a long time, and not just for a rookie.

Then we get this from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times, commenting on Alfonso Soriano:

The only guy in Monday night’s lineup over the age of 30 has undergone such a complete baseball rebirth at the age of 36, he might have been in the National League MVP conversation if the Cubs had played even as well this year as, say, the Pittsburgh Pirates, or maybe if he’d accepted that trade to the San Francisco Giants.

Soriano is 28th in the NL in OPS. He’s 54th in OBP. He’s 20th in slugging. He’s 7th in homers.  Please, pray tell, what the basis is for an Alfonso Soriano MVP case.

I know MVP voting is a democracy and you can choose whoever you want, but you either believe that Trout is no MVP candidate or Soriano is, or you don’t.  If you think those things, your baseball analysis is severely wanting. If you don’t, and you’re just throwing that stuff out there because you have a column to write, than you’re being dishonest with your readers. Either way: bad times.

Albert Pujols is eighth on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.

With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.

The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

Nationals place Max Scherzer on 10-day disabled list with neck inflammation

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The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.

Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.

It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.