I hate to say it, but Jose Bautista has not been the American League’s most valuable player this season. Joey Bat’s has been incredible-the best hitter in baseball in fact- but there is one player who has been even more valuable.
That player is Red Sox’ Jacoby Ellsbury.
G 156/ PA 722
H 210/ 2B 46/ 3B 5/ HR 31/ RBI 103/ R 118
.323/ .378/ .552
wOBA .403/ wRC+ 153
(CF): 16.8 UZR/150 17.2
G 147/ PA 647
H 153/ 2B 24/ 3B 2/ HR 43/ RBI 103/ R 105
wOBA .443/ wRC+ 183
(3B) 3.8 UZR/150 19.2
(RF) -8.2 UZR/150 -10.2
It looked like a done deal just a month ago- prompting influential writers of both the mainstream and sabermetric persuasion to write of Bautista’s MVP deservedness. But a mediocre finish by Bautista, coupled with a late surge by Ellsbury, has sealed the deal for this years MVP award.
The reason why I think Ellsbury should be MVP rather than Bautista is not because he is on a contending team. It is because his combination of exceptional bat and phenomenal glove has created more wins than Bautista’s phenomenal bat and sub-par glove. Ellsbury is an elite defender at an extremely important position, while Bautista is just average or worse at a corner outfield spot. Don’t let the mainstream baseball media fool you (I’m looking at you Tabler and Martinez), Bautista really is just an average fielder. He has a great arm, but defensive metrics systems have consistently knocked his range.
In my opinion, Ellsbury’s defense has been enough to overcome Bautista’s superior hitting in terms of overall value.
It really does pain me to make this case, but it is one I truly believe. If I’m wrong, I will certainly have to eat my words.
What do you think?
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