Alex Bregman – 3B, Houston Astros
Best stat: 119/83 K/BB ratio
Bregman put in an all-around excellent season at third base for the Houston Astros. His defense earned him a Gold Glove nomination. He smacked 41 home runs, which paced all AL third basemen. His OBP was a tremendous .423 (second to only Mike Trout in the AL), and it’s is in large part to Bregman’s strikeout-to-walk ratio. Bregman led all of the majors in walks with 119, and struck out only 83 times. For a guy with nearly 700 plate appearances, that’s about as good as it gets. Bregman was one of the hardest players for opposing pitchers to put away in all of 2019.
Worst stat: .250 BA with RISP
For all of Bregman’s success at the plate this past season, his numbers trend towards average with runners in scoring position. His overall BA for the season was .296, but plummets to .250 with RISP. He struck out only 83 times in 2019- but nearly a third of those were when guys were in scoring position as well. Are these terrible numbers? No. But compared to his fellow candidates for MVP- Trout batted .297, Semien batted .327- Bregman’s numbers with RISP are far and away the worst.
Marcus Semien – SS, Oakland Athletics
Best stat: 343 total bases
Semien posted one of the sneakiest MVP-caliber seasons we have seen in some time. And that’s not his fault a lot of people didn’t notice, he just happens to play in Oakland. So in case you missed it, Semien hit 33 homers, drove in 92 runs, and earned a Gold Glove nomination at shortstop. Now, he’s likely been outdone by Bregman and Trout offensively, making him the dark horse candidate here. But Semien did best these two handily in one category: total bases.
Semien hit 43 doubles and 7 triples in addition to his 33 home runs. THis helped him amass 343 total bases for the season, more than his two MVP counterparts (Bregman had 328, Trout had 303). Granted, Semien did lead the league in plate appearances and played in all 162 games- but honestly, that should be to his credit as well.
Worst stat: 92 RBIs
While 92 RBIs is not a terrible total, Semien easily loses out to Bregman’s 112 and Trout’s 104. Getting to that 100 plateau is one of those important “looks” for a vote like this, and Semien just didn’t make it. And this is ironically where his games-played total works against him. Nobody in baseball had more plate appearances, yet Trout and Bregman were able to be much more efficient when driving in runs than Semien.
Mike Trout – OF, Los Angeles Angels
Best stat: 45 home runs
Mike Trout is nominated for MVP again. What else is new? Going for his third MVP title, Trout as always posted impressive offensive and defensive numbers. And while WAR is the first thing that usually comes up in the Mike Trout discussion, a simpler stat might be the most meaningful for Trout this season: home runs.
Trout mashed 45 home runs this season. It was easily a career high for him, and second most in the American League. But a foot injury ended his season in September, limiting him to 134 games. Had he played a full 162 game season, he was on pace for 54. His power numbers in 2019 were on an unprecedented pace until his injury, even by his standards.
Worst stat: 11 stolen bases
You want to know how good Mike Trout is? His worst stat of 2019 might be that he only stole 11 bases (he’s averaged 27 over a 162 game season). Seriously, that’s the worst. The guy led the AL in OBP, SLG%, OPS, OPS+. Had he not gotten hurt, he probably would have led the AL in home runs, walks, and RBIs. Trout is a machine. Expect him to win the MVP yet again, it looks like it’s his to lose.
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