Now we move on to the National League, where the MVP debate will have writers at each other’s throats for months. It’s Miggy vs. Trout all over again, where the shiny, identifiable accomplishment is pitted against the better overall season without some benchmark to point to. The Cy Young will come down to whatever voters can construct out of a pile of good that make up the five or six contenders. But at least Rookie Of The Year is simple and will save everyone bandwidth. Let’s kick this pig…
Not only have I already laid out the case of why Betts is the choice over Ronald Acuña Jr., but I have recently learned that this choice greatly pisses off my colleague Carron Phillips. Which has only steeled my resolve on the matter.
The short version here is that while Betts doesn’t have the glossy benchmark accomplishment of 40/70 that Acuña has, his offensive season has been just as good, in a worse hitters park, while playing multiple positions and at least being passable while Acuña has mostly spent his time in right field with his glove on his head. 40 homers and 70 steals is shiny as hell, and certainly a unique accomplishment. But Betts has simply been better for a team that needed him to be more than Atlanta needed Ronald to be.
I’ll make it up to Atlanta fans everywhere by going a little outside the box here. Everyone has just given this award to Blake Snell already, given that he’s made 23 straight starts while giving up three runs or fewer and has a 0.50 ERA in September. A September that didn’t really matter for San Diego, but that’s not his fault.
But Strider has been better, and if you strip out stats that involve luck in any way or the defense behind the pitcher, Strider is a clear leader. He’s struck out more hitters than Snell, he has a better xERA and FIP, and he’s walked way fewer hitters. Snell’s supporters can, and rightly, claim that whether you hit it within two feet of the cup from the fairway or the woods, it’s still a birdie, and Snell has been doing his fair share of saving himself out of the trees with the number of hitters he’s walked. Snell has walked nearly twice the amount of hitters Strider has (55 to 99). If you have to give the ball to someone for one game that has to be won or Putin will have you defenestrated, I’m taking the guy more likely to put up 13 Ks with one walk than 12 with four.
What’re you, new? This has been a walk from Opening Day, and Carroll will probably add an MVP trophy or two to his case before he hangs ‘em up. There isn’t even anyone else to consider.
Hosmer was so bad in just over a month for the Cubs that they chose “No one” to play first rather than toss him out there again. Hosmer’s launch angle for the season was 3.3, threatening gophers and worms in every park the Northside 9 played in. He also struck out a quarter of the time. It was a free hit, given his contract status, and it definitely rolled snake eyes.
It must be quite the experience for Nats fans, if such a thing exists, to go to the ballpark, see Patrick Corbin throw a collection of waffles at opposing hitters, and know that he’s the last vestige of their World Series-winning team just four years ago. Imagine them trying to convince their children, as souvenir after souvenir heads to the bleachers that the child will never get near, that this pitcher was a major cog of the team’s first-ever World Series championship. It’s as if the only thing they found in Pompeii was a toilet. Sure, necessary to the function of that society, but not exactly proof that it was once glorious. Patrick Corbin is Adam West sitting in the Batmobile in the Hollywood museum.