Race for AL MVP: Mike Trout vs. Josh Donaldson

(Courtesy of Sportsnet.ca)

(Courtesy of Sportsnet.ca)

TORONTO- The race for the American League Most Valuable Player Award is on as Toronto Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson matches up against L.A. Angels’ Mike Trout  for a three-game series.

Both Donaldson and Trout are two highly favoured candidates for MVP and both deserve to win such an honour. But there can be only one winner for this race.

Trout is currently leading among AL players in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) at 6.7, just slightly ahead of Donaldson’s 6.6 heading into this weekend series.  WAR is a sabermetric baseball statistic used to summarize a player’s total contributions to their team in one statistic, calculated by Fangraphs. As you can see by both WAR totals for Trout and Donaldson, both players prove to be very valuable for their respective teams.

Trout was the unanimous pick as AL MVP last year and led the Halos to win the AL West division. On the other hand, Donaldson finished eighth with the Oakland Athletics.

Naming an MVP is not an easy task, since other factors are at play. Some people view an MVP as the best player on a playoff team, while others believe that it is simply the best player period, regardless of how their team fares.

If you look based on numbers:

For Donaldson:

  • Games played: 119
  • Batting average: .293
  • Runs scored: 89
  • Home runs: 33
  • Runs batted in: 91
  • Stolen bases: Four
  • Extra-base hits: 63
  • On-base percentage: .362
  • Slugging percentage: .570
  • On-base-plus slugging percentage: .932
  • Fielding percentage: .957

For Trout:

  • Games played: 117
  • Batting average: .295
  • Runs scored: 79
  • Home runs: 33
  • Runs batted in: 71
  • Extra-base hits: 57
  • Stolen bases: 10
  • On-base percentage: .392
  • Slugging percentage: .585
  • On-base-plus slugging percentage: .976
  • Fielding percentage: 1.000

Donaldson has been productive during his first season with the Blue Jays. Leading the league in runs batted in, runs scored and extra base hits. The Blue Jays hold the first wild card spot, ahead of the Angels by 3 games.

On the other hand, Trout proves to be a better around player with a higher on base percentage and presents more speed than Donaldson. The Angels are currently holding the second wild card spot, half a game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles. By season’s end, the AL MVP award might be determined based on which player helped his team to secure a playoff spot.

Overall, the AL MVP race will be highly debated amongst baseball lovers. But in the end, this campaign will feature a two-men battle between Trout and Donaldson. Both deserve the title, but there can be only one most valuable player.

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