AL MVP Rankings: LA Angels Rookie Star Mike Trout Makes His Debut in the Top 5
Bryce Harper is getting all the love from the national media, but the best rookie in baseball is Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels—hands down.
There's nothing Trout can't do on a baseball diamond. He can hit, he can hit for power, he can field and he can most certainly run. Since he got called up in late April, he's been the best all-around player in the American League (not an exaggeration).
Trout's presence has made a difference in Anaheim. The Angels were in a funk when they called Trout up, and now they're sitting just three games behind the once-unbeatable Texas Rangers.
So it's time, my friends. This is the week Trout finally gets some American League MVP love. He's waited long enough.
Here are this week's AL MVP rankings.
5. Mark Trumbo, INF/OF, Los Angeles Angels
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Last Week: No. 4
You can see that I've moved Trumbo down from where I had him last week, but it's really nothing against him. It's not like he went into a slump or anything.
Quite the contrary, actually. Trumbo has seven hits in his last 19 at-bats, including four home runs. He's driven in 12 runs in his last five games.
Trumbo's recent hot stretch has added to what were already highly impressive numbers. For the season, he's hitting .326/.380/.632 with 14 home runs and 39 RBI. He ranks in the top 10 in the American League in batting average, home runs, RBI and slugging percentage. His 1.011 OPS ranks third behind Josh Hamilton and Paul Konerko.
The most telling stat, however, is Trumbo's wOBA, a stat that FanGraphs says "measures and captures offensive value more accurately and comprehensively" than all other advanced statistics.
Trumbo's wOBA is .426. That ranks second in the AL behind Konerko and Hamilton, who are tied atop the league at .451.
So yeah, Trumbo can hit. The only reason I moved him down was so I could accommodate a certain young teammate of his.
4. Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
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Last Week: Unranked
I've said this before, but I'll say it again: If you don't already have a man crush on Mike Trout, you had best start developing one.
Trout's numbers are ridiculous across the board. He's hitting .350/.407/.548 with five home runs and 29 RBI in 39 games, and he's also stolen 13 bases in 16 attempts.
The month of June hasn't done anything to slow Trout down. In nine games this month, he's hitting .500/.535/.632 with a 1.166 OPS. He's recorded multiple hits in seven of the Angels' nine games this month.
Defensively, Trout is a magician. Per FanGraphs, he has a 6.5 UZR in the outfield, not to mention four defensive runs saved. He's well on his way to becoming a perennial Gold Glover, perhaps as soon as this season.
When Trout joined the Angels on April 28, they were 6-14. Since then, they're 26-15.
This is not a coincidence; Trout really has made that much of a difference.
The fact that he's still only 20 years old should scare the American League.
3. Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago White Sox
David Banks/Getty Images
Last Week: No. 2
The decision to move Paul Konerko down a peg in this week's rankings is justified, as he's been merely decent since lighting the American League on fire in late May.
In his last nine games, Konerko has hit .206/.308/.294 with a single home run and two RBI. Both the homer and the ribbies came on Sunday courtesy of a two-run bomb.
Granted, Konerko has been slowed by a bad wrist recently, so he can't be blamed too much for his recent cold stretch. Besides which, his numbers for the season are still excellent.
Konerko is hitting .365/.447/.614 with 12 home runs and 35 RBI. He leads the AL in batting average, ranks third in slugging and his 1.061 OPS is good for second.
I love WAR as much as the next guy, and Konerko's WAR of 2.7 (according to FanGraphs) is good for fourth in the American League. He's been a difference-maker on a White Sox team that is enjoying its stay atop the AL Central.
2. Adam Jones, CF, Baltimore Orioles
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Last Week: No. 3
Just like Paul Konerko, Adam Jones has also been slowed by wrist issues. Fortunately for the Orioles, Jones hasn't had to miss any time yet. He's played in all 60 of Baltimore's games.
And he's played quite well in those games, of course. Jones is hitting .300/.345/.568 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI, not to mention nine stolen bases. He ranks in the top 10 in the AL in batting average, home runs, runs, steals, slugging and OPS.
Jones has slowed down somewhat in June, as he's hitting just .231 with a single home run in nine games. That one home run, however, was a walk-off dinger that gave the Orioles a win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
So why does Jones rank ahead of Konerko?
A couple reasons. First and foremost, Jones has Konerko beat in WAR, according to FanGraphs, and that's as good an indication as any that he's been more "valuable" than Konerko.
I've also decided to flip-flop the two because it's hard to imagine the O's being any good without Jones. Without Konerko, the White Sox would still be a decent team.
1. Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas Rangers
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Last Week: No. 1
Josh Hamilton has come back down to earth in a major way over the last couple weeks. In his last 25 games, he's hit just .253/.327/.474 with four home runs and 17 RBI. He hasn't resembled the guy who was the best player on earth for a span of six weeks.
Nonetheless, I can't bring myself to move Hamilton down in the MVP rankings. Taken as a whole, his 2012 season is just too good.
Despite his recent struggles, Hamilton is still hitting .338/.399/.698 with 22 home runs and 61 RBI. He leads the AL in home runs, RBI, slugging and OPS, and he ranks second in batting average.
According to FanGraphs, Hamilton still leads the AL in WAR too, though his lead in that category has shrunk.
Hamilton is trending in the wrong direction, but it's not time to remove him from the top spot just yet.
Last Week's Rankings
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5. David Ortiz, DH, Boston Red Sox
Big Papi has been fine, but the Red Sox have struggled recently. Hard to argue that he's an MVP candidate with his team two games under .500.
4. Mark Trumbo, INF/OF, Los Angeles Angels
He's not moving out of the top five anytime soon.
3. Adam Jones, CF, Baltimore Orioles
2. Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago White Sox
Down one, but there's still a pretty big gap between him and the rest of the competition.
1. Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas Rangers
Holding steady...for now...
Note: Feel free to check out last week's rankings.
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