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The BBWAA Got Something Right!
Mike Trout is your AL MVP, for the second time in five seasons. It was only the second time in AL MVP history that the winner did not play for a playoff team (2003, Alex Rodriguez), as the 74-88 Los Angeles Angels finished 15 games out of playoff spot. Trout now has five seasons with an OPS+ of 168 or greater, good for 20th among all players since 1901. Trout also led baseball with 123 runs scored, which would seem obvious given his league-leading 0.441 on-base percentage, but perhaps it’s more impressive when you learn that the Angels were in the bottom half of runs scored in MLB in 2016. The man does it all.
The BBWAA Didn’t Get Everything Right, Though
As progressive as you thought the Baseball Writers Association of America was after awarding an MVP award to a player from a non-playoff team, the BBWAA is apparently still not ready to commit to a world where a 22-win season does not result in a Cy Young. Rick Porcello picked up the hardware for the AL after going 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and a 1.01 WHIP. Compare that to Justin Verlander’s 2016, where he went 16-9 with a 3.04 ERA, a league-leading 254 strikeouts, and a league-leading 1.00 WHIP. Sure, comparable seasons if you value wins, but wins are a suspect barometer of pitcher success. That hasn’t stopped the BBWAA – in fact, only one AL pitcher who won 22+ games since 1990 did not win the Cy Young. That would be Dave Stewart (1990), whose teammate and 27-game winner Bob Welch won the Cy Young.
Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak Better Like Each Other
The pair of Boston Bruins teammates are turning into quite the lethal duo. Among NHL lines with 7+ goals scored this season, they’re the only players to appear on multiple lines, thanks to their work with Patrice Bergeron and David Backes. The Marchand/Backes/Pastrnak line that opened the season for the Bruins scored 7 goals on 42 shot attempts, and Marchand/Bergeron/Pastrnak have picked up another 7 since the return of the Bruins’ top center. If the concept of advanced NHL stats is new to you (or extends as far as goals/shot attempts), here’s an analogy of what the dynamic duo has done so far.
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