Mike Trout

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.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.