Darío Vázquez, Resident Sports Expert
On Thursday night, the MLB announced the last and “most important” individual award of the recently wrapped season. With it came the inevitable controversy – although not as entertaining as Kate Upton going berserk over Justin Verlander not winning the AL Cy Young Award- of what defines an MVP. Some believe it should be the best player on the best team and those are happy with Kris Bryant winning the NL MVP. Then there are those who believe it should be given to the best player in the league and they must be happy with Mike Trout winning the AL MVP.
Christian Fuentes, Sports Journalist for Metro Puerto Rico
Ah, nothing like an off-field controversy to fire up the ol’ baseball debate in mid-November. So a lot of talk went around about the choices for AL and NL MVP winners Mike Trout and Kris Bryant. I think you couldn’t have two more different situations for the winners. That makes you think: Why them? What made them the winners of the highest individual prize in the sport?
Well, I won’t go so far as to saying there should be a specific criteria for every year. I think this was a case of the year. To me, there is no question Kris Bryant was the guy in the National League. The Chicago Cubs had the best record in the sport and he was far and away their best player and put up numbers. That’s more the criteria I’d lean to: The best player on the best team, provided he put up numbers and impacted BOTH sides of the ball. Bryant did just that. Now in the AL, it was simply a case of a weak pool of candidates. By my criteria, the MVP should have been Mookie Betts, but I think he was victimized by the fact that he benefitted from a potent lineup that had many players that put up close to similar numbers. This was a mirror image of what happened in the 2003 AL MVP voting. Texas Rangers SS Álex Rodríguez beat out New York Yankees C Jorge Posada, despite Texas finishing in last place and the Yankees had the best record in the league. Posada had terrific numbers, but he was part of a potent lineup and wasn’t really considered the team’s best player. Rodríguez put up great numbers across the board and filled the stat sheets (much like Trout). Again, I just think this is a matter of the situation every season. There are years when there is a clear-cut winner, like it was with Bryant in the NL, and there are years where the stat sheet is what dominates. I say winning matters, but apparently it hasn’t as much in recent times.
Also, people have to stop with the whole “Oh, the writers have no right or place in awards voting”. Um, the awards are called “the Baseball WRITERS Association of America Awards”. Who else is supposed to vote? That said, it seems like voting philosophies differ a lot. If I had a vote, winning would matter and I wouldn’t give mind to all the sabermetrics thing that many “new age” voters do. I could live without the points thing and either just give the award to the player with the most first place votes or just give one vote and that’s that.