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#pounditThursday, October 29, 2020

Oakland writer John Hickey voted Mike Trout 7th for MVP

Mike Trout

Mike Trout won the 2016 AL MVP award, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced on Thursday. The honor marks the second of Trout’s career, although I’ll argue it should be his fourth (yes – he deserved in 2012 and 2013 over Miggy).

Trout won the award over Mookie Betts, who finished second. Trout received 19th 1st-place votes, 8 second-place votes and 356 points overall. Betts received 9 1st-place votes, 17 2nd-place votes and 311 overall points. The voters pretty much proved it was a 1-2 race between the two of them.

But there was one particular voter whose ballot was inexcusable.

27 of 30 voters had Trout in the top two of the MVP voting; one had him third; another had him fifth; and then you had Oakland-based writer John Hickey, who voted Trout 7th.

I can understand if you feel Betts deserved the award over Trout. After all Betts was spectacular and his team reached the postseason, while Trout’s Angels won just 74 games. But to have Trout 7th? There is no explanation for that.

Trout was worth around 10 wins over a replacement player, according to Baseball Reference and Fangraphs’ WAR metrics. No other player in baseball approached Trout’s value. Yet Hickey thought, in order, that Adrian Beltre, Betts, Jose Altuve, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson and Miguel Cabrera were all more valuable this year.

What’s worse is that Hickey, who covered the A’s, saw Trout in person multiple times this season, and the Angels outfielder shined in those games. Trout batted .418 with five home runs against the A’s this season, posting a 1.172 OPS against them.

Trout was again the best player in baseball this season. Why penalize him because his owner and GM stunk at putting together the rest of the team? Without Trout, the Angels would have won around 60 games. With Trout, any team in baseball would have had a much greater win total. Now that’s value.

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