America’s Best Pastime: Position Players 2019

To start, baseball still is “America’s Best Pastime.” Football is “America’s Biggest Obsession.” Now that I have you sports fanatics all in a lather, especially those of you who prefer to crush heads over crushing baseballs, I’m going to drag you deep into the depths of my MVP opinions, ones that I hold as close to my person as a pitcher does his glove when he’s talking to his catcher.

I could’ve just written “MLB League MVPs” and be done with it, but the word ‘position’ will become key. I’m also going to run through this starting with the senior circuit, the National League.

National League MVP

You have quite a battle here. For the vast majority of the season, it’s been the Brewer’s Christian Yelich and the Dodger’s Cody Bellinger. So much so smarmy baseball writers have done their best to coin a combo name to talk about the two players.

Yellinger, aka a person with anger issues.

Bellich, aka a person with a torso rash.

Lingeritch, aka a person with a torso rash any cream cannot help.

And that’s how it’s been every day since Major League Baseball decided – apparently without anyone’s knowledge since no fan I know even knew the season had started – to start the season in Japan with the Mariners versus the Athletics. Japan. Home of Ichiro Suzuki, Sadaharu Oh, and California Rolls. Dumb move.

But wait, sports fans, the National League MVP is no longer a two-man race. Coming from the back of the pack, riding a horse named Desire (or Dez-er-ray depending upon how many hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold movies you’ve watched and I’ve watched a lot) comes the Senator’s Anthony Rendon.

Combining all three names tends to be quite a feat. I’d leave it up to the ‘professionals’ but the hell with them.

Bellidonger aka a Pavlovian porn name.

So here’s the deal. One, Rendon is more of a scrapper. Two, he doesn’t look like a choirboy who might have been abused by a man wearing vestments. Hell, Rendon would’ve been the one who would’ve pretzeled the priest, stuffed him in a trunk and sent him to the pope.

Three? Numbers. Granted they are all close. All three of them have an OPS over 1, which is super good. OPS, BTW, is simple math – OPB + SLG.

OPB = The number of times each batter reaches base by hit, walk or hit by pitch, divided by plate appearances including at-bats, walks, hit by pitch and sacrifice flies (H+BB+HBP)/(AB+BB+HBP+SF).

SLG = Slugging Percentage, the measure of the power of a hitter, total bases divided by at bats (TB/AB).

A player’s ‘slash line’ is a quick way to find out if a player is really worth a damn at the dish. Back in the old days when Pete Rose was betting on his own team, slash line used to be batting average/home runs/rbi (and BTW – it’s not RBIs, it’s RBI – Runs Batted In. Runs Batted Ins makes you sound like a Ugandan cab driver.) These days, due to a bunch of stat geeks who have nothing better to do with their lives than crunch numbers and are incapable of getting a date, aka Excel Incels, created better numbers to establish performance.

Slash line = batting average/OBP/SLG.

Yelich: .329/.426/.675

Bellinger: .308/.411/.646

Rendon: .335/.415/.627

Yelich. On the surface, he’s the winner. He’s a midwestern guy via California. He’s a Brewer. He knows more about yeast and hops than the other two, I like beer, so he should be the winner. Wrong. He isn’t good enough to carry his team through hard times during a season. Hell, the Brewers have allowed more runs than scored. Yeah, I know – ‘he’s not on the mound, dummy.’ I get that. He has a solid line-up around him, meaning opposing pitchers really have a hard time pitching around him. He was the MVP last year, and I know I shouldn’t hold that against him either, but I do and I’m writing this. Write your own article.

Bellinger. While I bow to him for having a hell of a year, his team is loaded, and they have great pitching which puts every opposing pitcher on high alert to perform their best. Four out of five starters on most teams simply choke when the spotlight is put on them, and the Dodgers get to play the Rockies. The Rockies would be better off on a lot of game days to just allow the person throwing out the ceremonial pitch to stay on the mound. Plus? If you take him off that team, they are not going to suffer that much. Finally, he’s a Dodger and I’m a Giants fan, so the hell with him too.

Rendon. When he gets hot, the team gets hot. Two months ago, right after the all-star break (which BTW, is not the midpoint of the season. Any Excel Incel can tell you that) the Washington Senators looked like they stood no chance of getting into the playoffs. They were as lost as our president gets trying to find their stadium. He thinks it’s in Washington state. You know, one of the many states that borders the nomadic Alabama. No, the Senators will not win their division, that’s the Braves, but they will make it to the wild card game and probably host it. All thanks to? That’s right, Anthony Rendon, your National League MVP.

On to the Junior Circuit, aka the American League.

American League MVP

Mike Trout aka The Cutthroat. OK, I just made that up, but it’s appropriate and way better than the milquetoast nickname he currently has – the Millville Meteor. Millville is a town in New Jersey where Trout grew up and meteor… well whatever, it’s an awful nickname.

Do not come at me with Nelson Cruz. He’s a designated hitter. A DH is basically a mob hitman who can’t really do a damn thing except beat the daylights out of something. In this case, that something would be a baseball. DHs do not play the field. They don’t have to go out in the hot sun and stress themselves out on a pitch-by-pitch basis where to be on any certain count and what to do if the ball gets hit to them. They’re in the dugout, bat in hand, trying to figure out if the blonde sitting in the front row above the opposing team’s dugout is married, not married, or a player’s wife – as if that matters. Ask the Senator’s manager Dave Martinez (or not, he will probably punch you).

Also, do not come at me with any member of the Boston Red Sox. As a team, they are an offensive wonder, as an organization, I wonder how in the hell they are going to miss the the playoffs (spoiler alert – after winning the World Series last year they are not going to make the playoffs this year). Plus, last years’ MVP was Mookie Betts, a Red Sock.

Mike Trout could be a member of the Red Sox as his team, the Angels, isn’t going anywhere either. However, without him, they’d be fighting with the Marlins for the worst team in baseball. Trout’s slash line?

.291/.438/.645.

The only American League player close to him is the Astro’s Alex Bregman. His slash line of .297/.416/.578 is impressive but seriously, he’s an Astro. Major League Baseball is already polishing up the Word Series trophy for the Astros. Without Bregman, it would take the Astros a full seven games to win the World Series. Big deal.

Mike Trout is your American League MVP.

Now, to put a tourniquet on another dumb argument for any league’s MVP, it cannot be a pitcher. Do not even consider it. One, starters take the mound about 30 times during the six month season, the same amount of games a position player plays in about five weeks. Second, they have their own award, the Cy Young. We will dig into that in a week or so.

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