MVP or not, Mike Trout deserves better

Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, yawn. But once again, if the odds are any indication, he isn’t a lock to win the American League MVP Award In a vacuum, the 2019 season is up for legitimate debate. Were I to have an MVP vote — and I don’t — Astros third baseman Alex Bregman would just slide in safely at the top of the ballot He can credibly fill in at shortstop and third base, hit for power, average and led the league with 119 walks  But Bregman has the fortune of being one of many brilliant talents on a perennial contender He’s got 2017 MVP Jose Altuve, 2019 Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, a well-placed camera, and even Carlos Correa, helping him compete for championships Whenever that trash can banged, Bregman delivered. Advertisement  The star infielder only has to fight one battle: being the best player he can be  However, despite Trout missing the end of the season due to foot surgery, they were an eyelash apart in value to their team — Bregman at 8 4 Wins Above Replacement; Trout, 8.3. Trout was the superior hitter because he’s also within the very inner circle of the best hitters in baseball Bregman OPS’d 1.015 this season, which is outstanding. Trout’s career OPS is 1.000, and he finished with nine less walks than Bregman in 30 less games  With all else being equal, if you need to win one game, Trout should still be your guy  But for Trout to win an MVP award, he has to win two battles. First, being the best player in all of baseball, which he has done every day he has stepped on the field since 2012 The other, his Sisyphean chore of halting the Angels, a theoretical big-league ballclub, from being relegated to Disneyland attraction, thus getting plunged into an eternal debate about the nature of what it means to be valuable  Have you seen the meme of LeBron James from Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals? You know the one The King, playing the game of his life, is completely exasperated by his teammate J R. Smith passing out of a game-winning shot attempt because he forgot the score of the game, thus forcing the Cavs into overtime, ruining arguably the greatest playoff performance (51 points) of the three-time champion’s career and their only chance of beating the Warriors that series  Trout is LeBron, except it’s not the Finals or World Series — it’s August, his team is 15 games under 500, and 39-year-old Albert Pujols just grounded into a double play down three in the seventh Despite having more career WAR than Derek Jeter, Trout has played in one postseason No surprise — five of their regulars posted batting lines below the league average The one Angels starter you could have confidently called good was Tyler Skaggs, and he tragically died midseason of a drug overdose Without a radical overhaul of their team accomplished through the right combination of precise free-agent signings, savvy trades, perfect trades and two-way excellence from Shohei Ohtani, Trout will need the perfect storm of inarguably better performance than his AL peers on actual contenders while staving off Anaheim’s leaguewide embarrassment  If you believe, as I do, that Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, you probably do so mostly in theory Which is fine, because watching him play, for the presumptive East Coasters reading this, is a lot to ask Imagine shelling out over $100 on MLB.TV, and spend around 100 games watching an All-Time Great pick up three hits and a make a diving grab in a 7-5 loss to the Mariners? Also, it’s 1 a m. ET. Unless you met your boo in your favorite blog comment section, seeking out Mike Trout games has probably consigned you to singleness Otherwise, you’re a baseball writer. Perhaps both.  Look, what I’m trying to say is, I understand if Mike Trout is underappreciated in your home You got a life to live. But I hope that despite the lack of hardware relative to his greatness, that you try and watch the GOAT at his craft

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