Alex Bregman should win the American League Most Valuable Player Award. How’s that for getting to the point? At the very least, he deserves a second and third look before voters cast a ballot for Mike Trout.
Nothing against Trout, who has earned his "best player in the game" status. In the same way fans from other eras speak of Hank Aaron or Willie Mays, we’ll speak of Trout. In MLB.com's most recent survey of its reporters and editors, Trout got all 38 first-place MVP votes and Bregman got all 38 second-place votes.
But before the Baseball Writers' Association of America voters make their choices, I hope they allow the season to play out, and that they consider both players in the context of their 2019 performances.
Here’s a case for Bregman:
The Astros are sprinting toward a third straight 100-win season and third straight division title. In that way, Bregman's at-bats are different. One argument is that Trout should not be punished for things outside his control. But there’s a counter to that.
“That’s a really good debate,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said, “and when you have a guy who’s on the winning team, it’s easy for me to vote on that side. I think it certainly is a tiebreaker.”
“All these games matter to all these guys,” Hinch said. “It’s not an exhibition game. I have great respect for the guys who are doing it on teams not in contention. You shouldn’t punish Mike Trout. At the same time, I think it’s a notch in the favor of guys that are doing it with playoff pressure or playoff-chase pressure.”
In prodding Bregman to discuss the AL MVP Award, this is where he begins.