The debate over the American League’s Most Valuable Player still hinges on Angels’ two-way star Shohei Ohtani, with almost two weeks to go in the regular season.
Of late, however, discussions have begun with the acknowledgment that fellow contender Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is in full tears at the plate – putting a rare Triple Crown within reach – and for the Blue Jays. An outcry, arguably the most feared team in baseball with the playoffs just around the corner.
comes again But.
While Guerrero’s offense is unmatched across the board (also first in the AL in on-base percentage and slugging), he can’t pitch.
Ohtani, meanwhile, has been dominant as the ace of the Angels’ staff, while also fighting for the home-running crown. Guerrero may lead his team later in the season, which is a factor in the eyes of many award voters, but the performance of Ohtani’s sub-500 Angels is hard to beat.
But the race isn’t over until the end, and Guerrero is now hot while Ohtani has struggled at the plate in recent weeks. Recency bias may play a role in the outcome. And Ohtani may have thrown his last pitch of the season.
With a strong finish, Guerrero could be in a position to impress substantial undecided voters.
Two special players doing special things is good news for the sport, but difficult for baseball writers, who have to make choices when it comes time to vote. Ballots are cast before the playoffs, with the winner announced shortly after the World Series.
Here’s a closer look at the MVP case for both AL contenders:
The case for…
- Guerrero: We are on Triple Crown clock when it comes to the 22-year-old first baseman. Guerrero is tied for the home lead at 45 with the Royals’ Salvador Perez. His .317 batting average is only behind Oakland’s Starling Marte (.322), who started the season with the Miami Marlins. Guerrero is third in runs with 103, nine behind AL leader Perez. He has also saved many runs with his gloves.
- Ohtani: The 27-year-old two-way star has distinguished himself by emerging as the ace of the rotation not only less than three years after Tommy John’s surgery, but also with the injured three-time AL MVP Mike Trout of the Angels. crime has been committed. of the weather Ohtani, with 44, is leading Guerrero and Perez to the home title to go with 94 RBI. He also has speeds that Guerrero can’t match, stealing 23 bases. On the mound, he is 9-2 with a 3.36 earned run average. At nine beginnings on June 30th, his age is 3.09.
Case against him…
- Guerrero: Given Ohtani’s advantage – no, Guerrero won’t be reducing the stretch – anything less than a Triple Crown will likely not suffice. Guerrero did not make an outright lead in any of the three categories after Thursday’s game. All he can do is stay warm at the plate in the Jays’ last 16 games, help the club reach the playoffs and hope for the best.
- Ohtani: As good as the numbers look, he hasn’t been as good at the plate in the second half: .279 with 33 home runs before the All-Star break, and .219 with 11 homers. And while his pitching improved, he may not be on the mound again this year. Angels manager Joe Maddon announced on Thursday that Ohtani would not make his scheduled debut on Friday due to a pain in his right arm. Maddon said Ohtani, who is still cleared to bat as the designated hitter, would like to continue to pitch in hopes of a 10th win. But with him out of the playoffs, the Angels will undoubtedly shut him down if there is any risk.
- Guerrero: There have been 10 batting Triple Crowns (tops in the AL or NL in home runs, RBIs and average) since the Baseball Writers’ Association of America began the modern MVP selection process after the 1931 season, the last by Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers in 2012. Six resulted in MVP awards. outsiders? Chuck Klein in 1933, Lou Gehrig in 1934 and Ted Williams in 1942 and 1947. Cabrera defeated Trout, who had led baseball in the war that year.
- Ohtani: Ohtani’s closest comparison is to the legend Babe Ruth, the last player to pitch 100 innings in 1918 and 1919 and make 200 plate appearances in a single season. Ohtani, however, is the first player to score 30 home runs and 10 starts in one. single season. It took him only 81 games.