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Naming An MVP For All 30 MLB Teams: Part One
We’re halfway through September, which means I have good news and bad news. The good news is, football is back! The bad news, though, is that regular season baseball is coming to an end. I’m a lifelong Yankees fan, so I’ll at least have some postseason baseball to watch–but to all my Pirates and Diamondbacks fans out there, I send my deepest condolences.
But I’m not writing this story to just defecate on the less fortunate baseball teams out there, no that’s for a different story. Here I’m going to be naming an MVP for each team in the league, so it’ll be something for everyone. If you want to bet on who the real MVP of the league will be, you can check out BetMGM Sportsbook, who currently have Aaron Judge as the overwhelming favorite for the AL, and Paul Goldschmidt as the overwhelming favorite for the NL.
Now before I get started, I just want to remind everyone what MVP means. It’s the most VALUABLE player, and I take that to heart when handing out my imaginary awards. While oftentimes valuable does mean BEST, that’s not always the case. “Value” isn’t a metric that can be purely measured through statistics, and I think it’s important to remember that when considering these types of stories.
Anyway, let's start with the American League:
Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman, Catcher
I know, how can I give the MVP to a guy that’s hardly played half the season. However, when you look at what Rutschman’s been able to accomplish in that time, you’ll understand. Rutschman was brought up as the #1 prospect in all of baseball–so those are some Shaq-sized shoes to have to fill in–but boy, did he do it. So far, in just 92 games, he’s hit 10 home runs, has 32 RBIs, and has scored 59 runs–all the while hitting .251 as a CATCHER. He also leads the Orioles in WAR (+4.4) and has the second most doubles on the team (29).
Boston Red Sox: Michael Wacha, Starting Pitcher
It’s been a year to forget for the Red Sox, and no I’m not just saying that because I’m a Yankees fan. The Sox have struggled all year, and those struggles would be even more apparent if it wasn’t for veteran pitcher Michael Wacha. Wacha is third on the Sox in WAR (+3.6) which is actually fairly impressive considering he only plays once every five days. His 2.69 ERA is the best amongst starters on the team by far, and his 11-1 record is one of the best in the MLB.
Chicago White Sox: Dylan Cease, Starting Pitcher
This has nothing to do with what I’m talking about, did you know that no hitter on the White Sox currently (as of 9/12) has more than 15 home runs? Wild…so that’s why I went the pitching route. Cease has been lights out this year, and is inching up on 250 strikeouts on the season. His 2.06 ERA is what managers dream of when they name their ace, and he’s quickly become one of the pitchers that you really don’t have to worry about messing up when they’re out on the mound.
Cleveland Guardians: Jose Ramirez, Third Base
I really wanted to give this one to Andrew Gimenez after the year he’s been having, but it’s so hard to go against Ramirez. He leads the team in ever offensive category except for batting average, where he is in third. Ramirez’s 40 doubles are almost double the amount of anyone else on the team, and he has been a constant source of offensive output for the team all year.
Detroit Tigers: Javier Baez, Shortstop
Okay, this one is actually tough because everyone on the Tigers is SO BAD that no one really has value. But I guess Baez has to be the most valuable player, because without him the lineup, at least on paper, would look so much worse. At least he’s a name people have heard of before, ya know?
Houston Astros: Justin Verlander, Starting Pitcher
If you couldn’t tell by now, I have a thing for ace pitching. Verlander has been lights out this year, holding a 16-3 record with a 1.84 ERA. His strikeout rate has dropped from years past, but what do you expect from a 39 year old man? He has a Sub-1.000 WHIP, so that alone should prove to you that he deserves this made-up award.
Kansas City Royals: Bobby Witt Jr, Shortstop
I mean, this was another case of the team being so bad that it was actually tough to name an MVP, but all things considered–Witt kind of deserves it. While the average is a bit low (.249) he’s managed to hit 20 home runs with 70 RBIs so far on the year, all the while stealing 27 bases. A 30/30 season is out of the realm of possibility for this season, but he’s definitely proving that he has that tool in his bag of tricks.
Los Angeles Angels: Shohei Ohtani, Starting Pitcher/Designated Hitter
I mean do you really want me to write a quick little blurb about Ohtani? He leads the team in all hitting AND pitching statistical categories. He’s not the most valuable player on the team, him (and Mike Trout) ARE the team.
Minnesota Twins: Luis Arraez, First Base
This will end up being Arraez’s third season with a batting average above 300. Pretty good, right? Arraez is one of the best hitters in the league, and should be on everyone’s radar as he continues his career.
New York Yankees: Aaron Judge, Outfield
I can pretty much copy and paste my Ohtani segment and put it here. When Judge is good, the Yankees are good. When Judge is bad, the Yankees are bad. If that’s not the definition of “valuable,” than I don’t know how to read.
Oakland Athletics: Sean Murphy, Catcher
Remember when that video went viral of Sean Murphy getting hit in the butt during a game? He’s come a long way since then–so long of a way that I actually feel bad that he plays for such an awful team. Murphy’s 18 home runs and 64 RBIs make him one of the best hitting catchers in the league, and he currently leads the A’s in all offensive categories other than Home Runs.
Seattle Mariners: George Kirby, Starting Pitcher
You know I had to throw a curveball in here somewhere–but before you jump down my throat for not saying Julio Rodriguez, at least hear me out. The Mariners actually have a surprisingly strong offensive team thanks to Eugenio Suarez, Ty France, Cal Ralegih, and of course, Julio Rodriguez. However, where this team lacks is starting pitching–that is, of course, except for George Kirby. Kirby came up there year and had a bit of a rough start, but was able to calm things down fairly quickly. He now approaches the end of the season with a 7-3 record, a 2.98 ERA, and 115 strikeouts in only 21 starts.
Tampa Bay Rays: Yandy Diaz, Third Base
If there was a Yandy Diaz fan club, I’d be the leader of it (even though he’s a Yankee killer). Diaz does the most important thing a baseball player can do–get on base. Throughout the season, he’s only struck out 52 times. Add on the fact that he’s walked 75 times and already has a .292 average, and Diaz is pretty clearly your most valuable player.
Texas Rangers: Nathaniel Lowe, First Base
Well it’s obviously not going to be a pitcher, and Lowe is the only one on the Rangers with a good batting average so, this is a pretty easy pick.
Toronto Blue Jays: Alek Manoah, Starting Pitcher
The Blue Jays have strong bats everywhere you look–where they obviously lack is pitching, and that hole would be a lot deeper without Manoah. Another certified Yankees killer, Manoah is 14-7 with a 2.42 ERA.