The historic season experienced by the Los Angeles Angels two-way player, Shohei ohtani, has him as the favorite to win the Most Valuable Player award of the American league in 2021. Seeing him be one of the best hitters on the young circuit and pitching effectively after 22 starts makes him that “special player”; that player who didn’t exist in MLB since Babe Ruth.
However, and although in principle this fact also overwhelmed me, what he is doing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with the Toronto Blue Jays he is much more commendable. How not to give the MVP to the player who dominates the most offensive departments in the league?
The Canadians’ first baseman entered Monday’s game as the leader in OPS (1,029), slugging (.617), OBP (.411), average (.321), home runs (46), hits (178) and runs scored (119), being fourth in RBIs with 105, which makes him dream of achieving the triple crown of batting, something that has not been seen in the Major Leagues since Miguel Cabrera did it in 2012 with the Detroit Tigers, year in the one who, by the way, won the MVP.
As if that were not enough, Guerrero Jr. He is the WAR leader of all majors with 6.8, being the player who has given the most victories to his team, proclaiming himself irreplaceable in the Blue Jays lineup.
It is impossible, if I voted for the award, that I would not endorse the Dominican. And it’s not about comparing him with Ohtani – who has the ability to throw – but about rewarding the best.
The theory that benefits the player whose team qualifies for the postseason does not have much value when comparing the performances of both stars, because what fault is it in Japanese that the Angels do not have a really competitive team? This goes much further.
What of Ohtani it is impressive and we must enjoy it while it lasts. It is untenable – it was also for Ruth at the time – that the Angels figure can do this for long. It is physically unlikely. But, if Ohtani has 10 more seasons at this level, should he always win the MVP? Should he have the prize hijacked just because he hits and pitches?
If we go to Ohtani’s contribution of victories over a replacement player (WAR) we note that he is in 10th place in the American League with 4.6 (according to FanGraphs), well below what Vladdy Jr. adds, who is by by far the most important player in the league.
“For me ‘Vladdy’ affects the game more day to day. That makes him more valuable than Ohtani,” Josh Donaldson told the Toronto Sun this weekend. “The Blue Jays have a good lineup, but without Vladimir they wouldn’t be the same team. He makes a big difference.”
And Donaldson is right; the impact of Guerrero Jr. it is much higher than Ohtani’s in the Angels, despite the fact that the Japanese has contributed 44 homers, 94 RBIs, 23 stolen bases and .952 OPS with the wood; and a 3.28 ERA and 146 strikeouts from the mound.
This will undoubtedly be one of the closest and most controversial votes in recent years in the American League, but if I voted, I would vote for Vladimir Guerrero Jr.