Major League Baseball really wants you to love Mike Trout. They want you to have Trout as your favorite player. He is the new face of baseball. Every year he will be mentioned as being a favorite for the American League Most Valuable Player. Trout is the new Derek Jeter.
Trout is undoubtedly a great player. He is a five-tool player, with his only weakness possibly being he strikes out too much. He is good enough to be in the running for MVP most every season. But he should not win the award in 2015. This year the award should go to Toronto Blue Jays third baseman, Josh Donaldson.
The reason comes down to August. August and September are where the bones of playoffs teams are made. There might be a case made for a player whose stats are far beyond the rest of the league to be MVP, but that rarely happens. Neither Trout nor Donaldson have those kinds of statistics this season. Even in the National League where Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals has a WAR above 10, two games higher than anyone else’s and one could argue that another player is more worthy because of the team success of that player. For instance, Andrew McCutcheon of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs could make a claim. In the American League, the race is clearly between only Trout and Donaldson, but Donaldson should win because of his August numbers compared to Trout.
Player AB R H TB HR RBI BB K AVG OBP SLG
Trout 101 6 22 34 1 7 21 31 .218 .352 .337
Donaldson 105 29 34 76 11 35 16 25 .324 .408 .724
August was also the month Trout’s Los Angeles Angeles went 10-19, while Donaldson’s Blue Jays were 21-6. Obviously the blame or credit for those numbers cannot be placed squarely on one player and the Blue Jays also traded for David Price and Troy Tulowitzki, but when it comes to winning in August and September, a MVP should produce stats that help his team. Trout did not. Donaldson did.
Mike Trout will continue to be the new face of baseball, but Josh Donaldson has simply been better for his team this season. The Blue Jays will make the playoffs, and Donaldson will have an important role in how far they go in the playoffs. The Angels most likely will not be in the playoffs again. The fact that they will not be in is not Trout’s fault alone. The team was so poor in August, though, and he should get some of the blame. Josh Donaldson should be this year’s American League Most Valuable Player.