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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Handicapping the 2021 MVP and Cy Young Races

Last year about this time, I wrote about Trout’s eventual decline from the obvious best player in baseball. He still hasn’t lost that status, but he’s not quite as much of a slam-dunk favorite to win the MVP award as he was in the past. Pushing 30, he’s not likely to have any new gears left, which increases the one-sidedness of his risk. He also tends to dominate statistically on a wide basis rather than having one eye-popping number for people to look at; he’s led the AL in a Triple Crown stat just once, winning the RBI title in 2014. Sure, he doesn’t play in a good home run park, and the Angels’ general incompetence limits his RBI opportunities, but if all voters were taking that into consideration, they’d probably be using different stats anyway. That doesn’t mean that Trout is terrible; only that in some stats, he’s close enough to the rest of the league that he’s vulnerable in an MVP race (and team quality does count).

I questioned whether Bichette ranking so highly made sense, but ultimately, I don’t think it’s that crazy. All the projection systems put a 30–30 season within reach, and a shortstop hasn’t done that since Jimmy Rollins in 2007. Fernando Tatis Jr. is also a 30–30 threat in 2021, but if both he and Bichette did it, does anyone think that both doing the same thing would cause people to hold Bichette in less esteem? The Blue Jays are an extremely interesting team, and should they surge to make the playoffs or even threaten the Yankees, Bichette is the favorite to be the best player on the Jays, which tends to be rewarded. (George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. just missed this list.)

I’m also intrigued by Mondesi being at the back of the top 20, though I guess it does make some kind of sense that if the Royals are actually good, he’ll have a lot to do with it. He is still just 25 and phenomenally talented, with some holes in his game that, if patched up, could have great dividends. I’m not quite at the point that I’m buying that Mondesi actually has better odds than, say, Springer, but I’m at least fascinated by the notion, as I don’t put my thumb on the scale.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 25, 2021 at 12:36 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cy young, mvp

 

 

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