Mike Trout on Thursday was named the unanimous MVP of the American League.
The 23-year-old received all 30 first-place votes and finished with 420 points. Detroit's Victor Martinez took second with 229 points, while Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley placed third with 185 points.
Let me say this: I do not disagree with this vote. But what's funny about this is Trout didn't have as good a season in 2014 as he had in 2012 or 2013:
2012: .326/.399/.564, 30 HRs, 84 RBIs, 49 SBs
2013: .323/.432/.557, 27 HRs, 97 RBIs, 33 SBs
2014: .287/.377/.561, 36 HRs, 111 RBIs, 16 SBs
Sure, Trout's power numbers were up in 2014, but he also struck out a league-leading 184 times. The batting average, on-base percentage and stolen base totals, while good, took a noticeable dip. I feel like his best year was 2013, when he finished second in the MVP voting to Miguel Cabrera. Trout also finished second to Cabrera in 2012.
Frankly, Trout has been the best overall player in the American League for each of the past three years. What was different about this season that swung the vote in Trout's favor? For one, Cabrera regressed to the point where he was no longer the best hitter on his own team. (Martinez was.) And two, the Angels won a league-best 98 games and made the playoffs.
The Angels did not make the playoffs in either 2012 or 2013, and there is always that subset of voters that believes the MVP *must* come from a team that qualified for the postseason.
Again, Trout deserves the award. It's just funny that he finally received his recognition in his weakest season of the last three.
Clayton Kershaw wins NL MVP
It's been a good week for Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw, who won the NL Cy Young Award on Wednesday and the NL MVP on Thursday.
Kershaw went 21-3 with 1.77 ERA, a 0.857 WHIP and six complete games in 27 starts this year. There's no denying he's the best pitcher in the league. The debate surrounding him was whether a pitcher should win the MVP award over an everyday player.
Here's why I think it's OK for starting pitchers to win MVP:
Dodgers record with Kershaw on the mound: 24-3 (.852 winning percentage)
Dodgers record with all other pitchers: 71-64 (.526 winning percentage)
The Dodgers are a decent, but not great team when Kershaw doesn't pitch. But with him on the mound, they rarely lose. I'd say he's pretty valuable, and you can justify voting for him for MVP on that basis.
Eighteen voters agreed and named Kershaw first on their ballot. He totaled 355 points. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton got eight first-place votes and 298 points for second place. Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 winner, finished third with four first-place votes and 271 points.