September 17, 2021

Rosenthal: Mike Trout over Alex Bregman, and other tough decisions on my AL MVP ballot (The Athletic)

Rarely do I waver before voting for a major award. I do the research, make my decision, type my choices into the electronic ballot, then hit send. Nothing too complicated.

This year was different.

As a voter for American League MVP, I thought I knew what I wanted to do. Less than two weeks before the end of the season, I wrote that Angels center fielder Mike Trout “should be almost a lock.” But in his absence after Sept. 7 due to season-ending surgery on his right foot, my heart for the Astros third baseman Alex Bregman grew fonder.

Bregman was second in the majors in OPS after the All-Star break, and he just kept coming, producing his two highest monthly OPSes in August and September. He showed his defensive versatility by sliding from third base to shortstop when Carlos Correa was injured. And he finished with 41 homers yet only 83 strikeouts, which in the era of swing and miss — and miss and miss — should qualify him for some sort of baseball…

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