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Why Shohei Ohtani Should Win MVP Over Vladdy Jr.

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Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani has torched both sides of the ball to the tune of 45 home runs and a 3.28 ERA on 146 strikeouts. And this is where the conversation gets tricky. Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sits in the thick of a triple crown bid, which is essentially a stamp as “best hitter in that league.”

I’m here to argue that no matter what Vladdy Jr. does the rest of the way, Shohei should win the american league MVP.

Before I go any further, I should mention that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a better offensive player in the AL. Sure, Ohtani matched the Blue Jays star in homers, however there’s much more to the equation when determining a player’s “value” at the plate.

Vladdy Jr. is currently batting .323 with 46 homers and 105 RBI, that only trails White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (113). These numbers prove Vladdy Jr. to be a much more well-rounded offensive player than Ohtani. To Ohtani’s credit, he’s stolen 23 bases that Vladdy Jr. simply can’t do, but there’s no question the last american league player pitchers want to face is Vladdy.

But all that considered, I still find that Shohei Ohtani is the MVP, so how?

Rarity

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is likely to fall short of winning the triple crown, however even if he did accomplish that feat, it’s happened before. Not often, but we’ve seen it as recently as Miguel Cabrera’s MVP season in 2012.

When was the last time you saw an ace of a big league team slug over 45 homers and steal over 20 bases? You’re probably thinking outside of stealing bags, Babe Ruth managed, right? That would be an incorrect assumption since The Great Bambino began his career as a full-time pitcher, and then he swapped into an all-time slugger. Not simultaneously where he was hitting four days straight while starting on the mound every fifth day. Somehow, Ohtani is managing to do exactly that and he deserves credit for doing so.

It’s rather pathetic to simplify this conversation to “how many innings has Vladdy Jr. thrown?” So I refuse to do it. I’d much rather make this about the responsibilities of pitching every turn through the rotation. It’s not like Shohei slotted sixth in this lineup while hopping out the bullpen to close a game like some of us did in Little League — no, he’s batting in the heart of that Angels lineup every day without injury and threw over 120 innings as the team’s ace.

THAT is value. Not saying Vladdy Jr. isn’t valuable, but how can anyone argue one singular hitter can be more valuable or rare to a team than someone that can do both? According to MLB.com, Shohei leads the league in WAR with a 4.5 offensive rating and 3.7 from the mound to combine for 8.2. I feel like I must also acknowledge the value in Ohtani allowing the Angels to have an extra player on their roster since they no longer need an ace or DH.

Vladdy Jr. deserves an MVP someday soon — it just can’t be this year.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for OutKick.com, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr

6 Comments

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  1. I’m stuck in my ways. I just can’t support an MVP on a below .500 team. I also don’t think pitchers should win MVPs. I’m also impressed by Vlad and the Jays playing home games in Dunedin, Buffalo and Toronto. I’m calling Vlad most valuable and Otani most outstanding player.

    I’ll go Harper in the NL. It was Tatis’ to lose and I think he lost it.

  2. I’ve been a huge Jay’s fan since the George Bell, Fred McGriff and Dave Stieb days and I love to watch Vladdy Jr play.

    … but Shohei is clearly the MVP. We may never see such a dominant season again. The mental fortitude and constitution it takes to be a dominant major league pitcher, in a tough division and put up such great numbers at the plate… amazing

    Vlad Jr is only getting started. Thankfully he dropped some weight and they took him off 3rd base, which was ridiculous, but he’s only going to get better.

  3. I agree Gary.

    I think Vlad is also behind Salvador Perez in RBi. By the way, THAT guy deserves MVP consideration too. To be a catcher and put up the stats he has is truly unbelievable. It’s not like KC is a bandbox for homers either. He’s had one of the best seasons of any catcher ever. The Royals stink, but without Perez they may have won 30 games this year.

    • One more plug for Sal Perez. The guy is throwing out 45% of runners this year and only has 2 errors, so he’s probably the gold glove at his position on top of setting the all time HR record for a catcher. He has a realistic shot at 50 jacks as a catcher! Anyway I know he won’t win, but no one is recognizing the amazing season he’s had just because he’s in KC.

  4. What Ohtani is doing is too unique to not award MVP. If either the offense or the pitching dropped off the other you could give it to Vlad, but he’s excellent at each at the same time. It’s unprecedented.

    Vlad also has the most runs scored, so his candidacy is legit and needs to be wrestled with. If he played golden glove SS, for example, then you give it to him.

    Each make a great case, but Ohtani wins in the end.

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