Once again, there were no surprises in the awards voting.
Mookie Betts is the American League M.V.P. Christian Yelich is the National League M.V.P.
Beats beat out the two finalists in the A.L., Mike Trout and Jose Ramirez. The votes are cast the final day of the regular season so the Red Sox post-season run didn’t contribute to Betts winning. His 32 home runs, 80 RBIs, and league-leading .342 batting average did it. As did his OPS of 1.078.
By comparison, though, Trout hit 39 home runs, drove in 78, and hit .312. And both his .460 OBP and 1.088 OPS lead the league. Betts wins, whether you believe in this line of thinking or not, by virtue of his team making the playoffs. That’s the way the vote so often goes.
But even though he finished second, Mike Trout is amassing a resumé that is truly remarkable. In his seven seasons, he has won the MVP twice, finished second four times, and fourth once (last year when he was injured for a good part of the season). Every year he moves closer and closer to the upper echelon of the Hall of Fame.
In the National League, Christian Yelich came two home runs and one RBI away from winning the triple crown, which hasn’t been done in the National League since Joe Medwick did it for the Cardinals in 1937, some 71 years ago. Miguel Cabrera did it in the A.L. in 2012, Trout’s rookie season in which he was a lock to finish first in M.V.P. voting until Cabrera’s heroics.
Yelich enjoyed quite a coming out party once he left the Marlins. In his first year with Milwaukee, he carried the Brewers to the N.L. Championship Series, leading the league in batting (.326), slugging percentage (.598) and OPS (1.000). He never had a slump the entire season.
Cubs second baseman Javier Biaz finished second and Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado finished third.
It’s the first M.V.P. award for both Betts and Yelich.
And, on the totally other end of the spectrum, the Rangers have signed veteran catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network. Mathis is 35 and known for his defense. With a lifetime batting average of .198, he will help both pitching staffs, the one he catches and the one he hits against.