Bregman's great year not enough to overtake the best in the sport

Mike Trout wins 2019 AL MVP over Alex Bregman

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After a close race, the MLB announced on Thursday that the winner of the American League Most Valuable Player Award is Los Angeles' Mike Trout. He edges out Alex Bregman, who many thought might be able to capitalize on missed time by Trout in 2019 to steal the award. Trout takes the award for the third time in his career, joining a list of only ten other players in history to win it three or more times.

Missed time not enough for Bregman to steal it

What some may have thought would put Bregman over Trout in the mind of voters is the sustained success he had in a complete season. Trout missed 28 games this season mostly due to injury, while Bregman played in 156 of the teams 162 games, sitting out just a handful of games with minor injuries or scheduled rest.

Still, Trout managed to put up incredible numbers that Bregman couldn't quite match. Trout led the entire league in WAR at 8.6 with Bregman right behind in 8.5. He also led the MLB in walk percentage (18.3%), on-base percentage (.438), and was second in OPS (1.083), which was best in the AL. Trout was second in the AL in home runs (45), sixth in runs (110), and ninth in RBIs (104) despite his missed time.

Still a terrific season for Bregman

Bregman finished with 41 home runs (3rd in the AL), 122 runs (4th), 112 RBIs (5th) while leading the entire league in walks (119) to put him third in walk percentage (17.2%). The walks helped boost his on-base percentage and OPS, finishing second to Trout in both categories in the AL at .423 and 1.015, respectively. Bregman did finish with a better batting average, posting a .296 to Trout's .291.

One of his most impressive stretches, though, came in his hot August, which earned him a player of the month honor. That month, he drove in 31 runs while hitting six home runs and fourteen doubles, working his way up to a 1.235 OPS over the 26 games he played.

2019 was by far Bregman's best performance in his early career and shows that the future is bright for the young third baseman who the Astros currently have tied up for the next five seasons. Though Mike Trout will likely still be the favorite for MVP for many years to come, Bregman showed this year that he could give him an honest fight for the award.

Photo Courtesy of Say.

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Former Astros pitcher, Mike Fiers, might not have been the right person — but he did the right thing.

Voices on radio and social media are complaining that the Astros were unfairly singled out by Major League Baseball's lowering the boom and suspending manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow in the sign-stealing scandal, followed by team owner Jim Crane firing both of them, preceded by the owner firing the assistant general manager and demoting the team president.

Assistant general manager Brandon Taubman was dismissed after he made vulgar comments to female reporters. Astros president Reid Ryan was demoted because, well, that's an owner's prerogative.

I don't understand why anybody in the media or Astros' fan base is furious at Fiers for squealing on the Astros, or Major League Baseball for punishing the Astros so severely. They're screaming, "the Astros got screwed!"

No they didn't.

Don't be angry at Fiers — be angry at the Astros. They cheated. The Astros broke the rules on their way to winning the 2017 World Series. This was after they, and every other team, were warned not to use technology to steal signs.

The Astros aren't denying it. Hinch has apologized for it. Former pitcher Dallas Keuchel said "apologies are in order … for everyone on the team." What's hard to understand what happened? Fiers doesn't have clean hands in this saga. He played for the Astros in 2017, didn't go public about the cheating back then, and took the bonus money and glittery ring for the Astros championship.

None of that changes the facts about the Astros wayward ways. The argument — "everybody does it" — is a weak excuse. Didn't your mother ask, "If Billy jumped off the Empire State Building, would you?" Agent Scott Boras' claim – "the players just did what they were told" – is historically inexcusable. I cheer for the Astros, but I am disappointed that they cheated.

The sad part is, they probably didn't have to. The lineup was loaded with amazing players. I'm also surprised that ESPN announcer Jessica Mendoza and Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez believe this entire cheating scandal should have been dealt with in-house by MLB. That's not how things get accomplished. In-house is how problems get buried. In-house is how problems get fixed with settlements and non-disclosure agreements.

Continue on CultureMap to read why Ken Hoffman believes whistleblowers should be honored.

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