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Mike Trout is no MVP, Alfonso Soriano is — baseball columnists

Sep 11, 2012, 10:30 AM EDT

Mike Trout Getty Images

I know these are just two opinions from a couple of random dudes, but wowzers.

First, Gary Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, who has a slide show — annoying, by the way — with his thoughts on MVP candidates. His comment on Mike Trout:

The Angels are charging, but Trout is showing signs of fatigue. He was hitting .275 with an .855 OPS since Aug. 1. Good numbers for a rookie, but not the stuff of an MVP.

Thing is, the MVP is not an award based on August 1 numbers only. It’s for the whole year, and for the whole year Trout still leads the league in hitting, is second in OPS, plays stellar defense at a key position and leads the league in stolen bases. If you’re into WAR, he is lapping the field. Not that you need to be into WAR to appreciate how much better Trout has been than anyone this season.  If you’re into that whole “carry your team on your back” thing, look at where the Angels were when they called him up and look at them now.

Heck, even if you want to take Fraley’s bait and look at how the guy has done lately, just look at just the second half of the season. There are hardly any players hitting better than Trout since the break, including Adrian Beltre, who Fraley talks up big. Trout has the same number of homers, a better average, a better OBP and only a slightly lower slugging percentage. Miguel Cabrera has hit better since then, sure, but c’mon, Trout’s season is one of the best all-around years we’ve seen in a long time, and not just for a rookie.

Then we get this from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times, commenting on Alfonso Soriano:

The only guy in Monday night’s lineup over the age of 30 has undergone such a complete baseball rebirth at the age of 36, he might have been in the National League MVP conversation if the Cubs had played even as well this year as, say, the Pittsburgh Pirates, or maybe if he’d accepted that trade to the San Francisco Giants.

Soriano is 28th in the NL in OPS. He’s 54th in OBP. He’s 20th in slugging. He’s 7th in homers.  Please, pray tell, what the basis is for an Alfonso Soriano MVP case.

I know MVP voting is a democracy and you can choose whoever you want, but you either believe that Trout is no MVP candidate or Soriano is, or you don’t.  If you think those things, your baseball analysis is severely wanting. If you don’t, and you’re just throwing that stuff out there because you have a column to write, than you’re being dishonest with your readers. Either way: bad times.

  1. raysfan1 - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    They are both being homers and, yes, slide shows are annoying.

    • pw38 - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      Agreed. I’m a Rangers fan but come on, Adrian is hot but doesn’t deserve MVP. I’m not fully sure Trout does either but he is about as qualified as any other player, rookie or not. Heck if Josh Hamilton can miss the last month of the season and still get MVP Trout can have an average month and still get it.

  2. manute - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    It’s all part of the Dallas Morning News’ annual Mike Young campaign. You’re up, Evan Grant.

    • hep3 - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      Was Gary Fraley mentored by Skip Bayless?

    • yahmule - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      Trout’s WAR is 10.2 and Michael Young’s is -2.6. Once you factor in intangibles and leadership, most Texas sportswriters would call them about even.

  3. kkolchak - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Of the two, the Soriano column is much funnier. Dude and his huge untradable contract has been a anchor chain strapped around the Cubbies the past few years, but just because he had an okay season relative to what he’s being paid rather than a crappy one he should be considered for MVP?

    • hokiegajanisgod - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      Didn’t the Giants try to obtain Soriano in a trade only to have Soriano reject it???

      The trade of (an injured) Carl Crawford to LA proves that no contract is too big to be traded

      I’d focus more on the Cubs weak pitching staff and stop using Soriano as the whipping boy for all of the teams problems.

  4. frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Not to take anything away from Trout (after all, he is STILL the best waiver wire pickup in the history of my fantasy baseball teams*), but I don’t agree that MVPs aren’t won in August/September. Of all people, you should know that Craig.

    Chipper won his MVP pretty much in a SINGLE SERIES in 99. Yes his stats were great that year, but so were Bagwell’s and McGwire’s (before people thought he was a cheater).

    Not saying it is right – it just is. And if Trout continues to just be a star (and not other-worldly) down the stretch, then it’s ripe for the taking. Especially if Beltre continues to hit like a monster.

    *on a side note – I picked up Medlin too when the Braves said he was going to start. Ca-CHING!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      but I don’t agree that MVPs aren’t won in August/September.

      Splitting hairs, but it’s the difference between what happens and what should happen. For instance, you could make a claim that his absurd Sept where he hit .385/.562/.750 with 9 HR and 21 RBI is the reason why Howard won his MVP award over far more deserving players.

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:20 AM

        Very true. And again, not saying it’s right – but that’s they way it happens.

        Of course another part of me says it is right – when Howard and Chipper took over during crunch time and led their respective teams to the playoffs, in my opinion that’s pretty valuable.

        But if someone would have achieved a triple crown in either of those years for a non-contending team, wouldn’t they be pretty valuable too?

        It’s a good debate either way – and it always will be until MLB lays out very specific criteria for what is considered an MVP.

        Of course – I kinda like the fact that we can debate this instead of talking about Valentine or the RedSox for a change…

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM

        Yes dammit. I see the typo.

      • natslady - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        Good question. Are Gio’s wins more valuable because they are for a playoff-bound team and he faces extreme stress every time he steps on the mound? OTOH, do Dickey’s wins have a greater degree of difficulty because he’s on a bad team? If the two pitchers end up with similar stats, including “peripherals,” this will make for an interesting vote.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:44 AM

        If the two pitchers end up with similar stats, including “peripherals,” this will make for an interesting vote.

        Agreed, but it’s so rare that they are similar, that people have to start stretching the truth/using obscure stats to make their point (cf. every Michael Young/MVP article, ever). We also could use a good debate around here revolving around actual playing. Seems like the only articles that get a ton of comments are the social commentary ones from Craig, which is just what he wants us to do…

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        Great anaology – one further complicated by the fact that it includes Dickey.

        Will voters screw him (like LaRussa did at the AS game) out of hardware because he uses a ‘gimmick’ pitch and Gio has a ‘sexy’ fastball?

        Not taking anything away from Gio here – lord knows my Braves have had a hard time with him…

      • natslady - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM

        Wagner of the WaPo just wrote an article comparing the Cy Young leaders (NL, of course).

        Here are some quotes from that article

        Gonzalez leads the majors in batting average against (.206), slugging percentage against (.587) and hits per nine (6.75). He has the second-best strikeout per nine ratio (9.48) in the majors behind Stephen Strasburg. Gonzalez has also been consistent; despite a small blip in late June, he has pitched at least six innings in all but six of his 29 starts. One of weaknesses is walks per nine ratio (3.38), good for 38th in the majors.

        Gio Gonzalez, WSN: 19-7, 2.93 ERA (5th in NL), 181 1/3 innings (11th), 1.13 WHIP (7th), 191 strikeouts (4th).
        Matt Cain, SFG: 13-5, 2.96 ERA, 194 1/3 innings, 1.03 WHIP, 175 strikeouts.
        Johnny Cueto, CIN: 17-8, 2.71 ERA, 192 2/3 innings, 1.15 WHIP, 155 strikeouts.
        R.A. Dickey, NYM: 18-4, 2.64 ERA, 198 innings, 1.03 WHIP, 195 strikeouts.
        Clayton Kershaw, LAD: 12-8, 2.79 ERA, 199 2/3 innings, 1.02 WHIP, 201 strikeouts.
        Kyle Lohse, STL: 14-2, 2.81 ERA, 186 innings, 1.10 WHIP, 116 strikeouts.

        Here is the link to the article.

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      “Chipper won his MVP pretty much in a SINGLE SERIES in 99. Yes his stats were great that year, but so were Bagwell’s and McGwire’s (before people thought he was a cheater).”

      Chipper Jones was 3rd in the league in OPS (ahead of Bagwell, behind McGwire), 2nd in WAR (just behind Bagwell), hit .319/.441/.633. You are free to argue that Bagwell or McGwire deserved it over him, but Jones won it because he had a great year, not a great series.

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        I was waiting for that reply falcon – and I absolutely agree with you.

        However, in 99 no one (and especially not the MVP voters) embraced, or even glanced at OPS or WAR.

      • thefalcon123 - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM

        Oh Jesus Christ, you know that WAR and OPS are just simplier ways of reflecting a host of other stats right?

        So instead, voters paid attention to his .319 batting average, his 44 home runs, his 41 doubles while his main competition were Jeff Bagwell (1st baseman with fewer home runs and lower BA) and Mark McGwire (1st baseman with a much lower BA who fielded and ran the bases about as well as I do).

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        Jeez – I said I agree with you.

        Stats were all fairly even – my point is that Chipper’s September performance against a division rival that propelled the Braves to the postseason is what decided a close MVP race. Much like what could happen this year.

        And as far as McGwire’s low BA – oh well. Some might argue that by driving in almost 40 more runs than Chipper that he should have won it instead. You can spin this 1000 different ways… I was just trying to make a point.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        “WAR, good god! What is it good for – absolutely nothin. Say it again!” ~ Joe Morgan

  5. Gobias Industries - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Since yesterday at around this time, Mike Trout failed to reach base two times. Not the stuff of an MVP.

  6. p1nick - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    1. Its Jerry fraley…but dont worry too much about it, he’s as worthless as he is a counterpoint blowhard.
    2. Murph for MVP.

  7. natslady - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    I don’t understand how LaRussa “screwed” R.A. Dickey in the All-Star Game. As I understand it, Posey had to be the starting catcher because he was chosen by the fans, and he’d never caught Dickey–or any knuckleballer. LaRussa was trying to win the game for the National League. Now, if the ASG had no meaning, then you could argue that Dickey should have been “awarded” the position of first starting pitcher, for whatever that is worth…

    • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      Maybe you are right – but there were some grumblings that LaRussa went another direction than Dickey because he feels that DIckey is having success with a gimmick and didn’t deserve to start.

      And meaning something or not – Dickey deserved the start. And I believe he should be the Cy Young award winner too. But I don’t vote and whether or not he wins it remains to be seen…

  8. skids003 - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    How do you get a job as a baseball columnist? It seems the only requirement is to make up stuff and write about it.

    • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      What an ignorant comment. Why do you bother to read it then?

      • natslady - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:50 PM

        I don’t think he/she was talking about HBT. I think it was in reference to the two columnists that sparked this article.

    • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      Skids – I’m an asshole.

      I realize now your post was in reference to the material covered and not the blog itself.

      I humbly apologize.

  9. sabatimus - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    I’m still on the fence between Trout and Cabrera. But when I read that Trout is the first guy since Bonds to have a 10 WAR, that made me pause.

    • sabatimus - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      And that 113 runs scored in 118 games is a massive number too.

  10. thatyankeedude - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    I think the point is that Alfonso has had a really good year but trout has put up stud muffin numbers this year. If I were to vote trout for sure gets my vote but Soriano gets a high five and a comment on a nice year.

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