Astros: MVP, Cy Young awards preview, predictions
This one has all kinds of intrigue, which is interesting because in late August it looked like Trout would win the MVP in a landslide. But lo and behold the game’s greatest player missed the rest of the season with an injury, leaving the door open for Bregman to enter the conversation.
Their overall numbers are both impressive. In just 134 games, Trout set a career high in home runs (45) which was second in the league, while Bregman hit 41 (tied for third) in 156 games. Bregman had more RBIs (112 to 104) and walks (119 to 110) and fewer strikeouts (83 to 120).
Bregman finished with the higher batting average (.296 to .291), while Trout was the leader in on-base percentage (.438 to .423), slugging (.645 to .592), OPS (1.083 to 1.015) and OPS+ (185 to 162). Bregman had more extra-base hits (80 vs 74) and total bases.
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In the bWAR stat, Bregman actually overtook Trout at the end, finishing with 8.4 to Trout’s 8.3. Again, that was largely a function of Trout being injured the final month of the season, so it will be interesting to see how voters weigh Bregman playing a full season versus Trout missing time.
However, Trout still had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. As such, he finished as the league leader in five different categories — on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, OPS+ and intentional walks. Bregman, meanwhile, only led the league in one category — walks.
There’s really not much debate that Trout was the better player until he got hurt. His numbers were far superior in many categories, and if he’d finished the season, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.
However, Bregman did play 22 more games than Trout. He was also the best hitter on the league’s best team, while Trout’s Angels were non-contenders yet again. These factors will be important to some voters, which is why Bregman has a legitimate shot at winning the MVP award.
MVP Prediction: Trout
I think it’ll be fairly close, but in the end I think Trout’s excellence will mean more to the voters than his absence in the season’s last few weeks. He’s won two MVPs and finished in second place another four times, so that history will probably work in his favor as well.
Bregman is certainly deserving, and he should be in more of these discussions over the next several years. But Trout is simply just too good.