With the Angels star out with an injury, can the Astros third baseman overtake him in the MVP race?
It’s already been established that Astros third baseman Alex Bregman is having an MVP-caliber season. The conventional wisdom, however, was that Mike Trout, the consensus best player in the game, would be the runaway winner. That may not be the case any longer.
Following news that Trout’s season is over thanks to a foot injury, the door might be slightly open for Bregman to creep into the conversation. The injury doesn’t automatically disqualify Trout, and in fact he could still win the award thanks to his stellar season. But it’s no longer a sure thing.
There are some stats in which the two players are already comparable. They are currently tied with 104 RBIs, so Bregman will likely overtake Trout in that regard. The same can be said for walks, as Trout leads the majors with 110 but Bregman is right behind him with 109.
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They are close in batting average (.291 vs .295) and total bases (303 vs 300), so any difference there would be negligible. They’re also not too far apart in on-base percentage (.438 vs .420) or stolen bases (11 vs 5), so those may not sway too many voters either.
Trout will likely end up with more home runs, as he finishes with 45 while Bregman currently has 36. But the numbers swing the other way when it comes to doubles, as Bregman leads with 35 compared to Trout’s 27.
Bregman does have significantly fewer strikeouts (78 vs 120) and more hits (153 vs 137). He also has the advantage of playing more games, having appeared in 145 with 11 remaining on the schedule. Trout finishes with 134 games played, so some voters may give Bregman points for playing the full season.
However, barring an insane run these last two weeks, Bregman will not be able to catch Trout in slugging percentage, OPS or OPS+, as the outfielder has a significant advantage. It will also be difficult to catch him in WAR, as he sits at 8.3 compared to Bregman’s 7.5.
Beyond the Numbers
Both players are excellent defenders, so one probably won’t have an edge over the other in that regard. Trout does have more respect across the country, given that he’s universally regarded as the game’s best player. Maybe that shouldn’t count for anything, but it probably will make a difference to some voters.
However, Bregman has the advantage of playing for a good team, while the Angels simply haven’t been good for most of Trout’s career. In a season when the Astros have seen George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa all miss time with injuries, Bregman has been the constant middle-of-the-order bat the team has needed. That will definitely count for something.
The Astros should end up with the division title, while the Angels aren’t even sniffing the playoffs. If Bregman can add to some of his stats in these last two weeks, he could present voters with a difficult choice. It might not be enough to overtake Trout, but then again it might.