The Great Debate Part 1: Mookie Betts vs Mike Trout

Bryan Mauro- Contributing Writer (@threecolorbeard)

Photo Credit: New York Times
Over the last week of the season, much has been made of which player is better? Is it Mookie Betts or Mike Trout? When the two clashed last week in Anaheim, Mookie Betts got the upper hand in the series. In fact, the Red Sox pitching was able to keep Trout in check the entire series and he was not able to be the normal catalyst to the Angels offense that he always is. This sparked the great debate of who is the better player is it Trout or Betts?

When comparing the two of these players, it would be beneficial to look at ways they are similar players. Betts and Trout are both multiple all stars and silver slugger award winners. The silver slugger is the award given to the player with the highest batting average at his position. Trout like Mookie Betts is the catalyst for the offense and can do many different things while in the batters box. Betts has power like Trout and both players are still a threat to steal at any time.

For this debate, Mookie Betts is a multiple gold glove winner. While Trout has never won a gold glove, in fact Trout is not considered by many to be one of the top 3 center fielders in the American League. That belongs to Kevin Kiermaier, Kevin Pillar and Jackie Bradley Jr. Even though Trout has never won a gold glove his defensive metrics suggest that he should have. Trout will win a gold glove soon and probably multiple.

One of the biggest topics in this debate is who is the overall offensive player? Mookie Betts is a great player and a fantastic hitter, but when comparing Apples to Apples. Mike Trout is the best player in baseball and it really isn’t close, however this debate is not about a whole career. It is ongoing about who is the better player in most recent memory, more specifically the current season.

The current season is only 23 games young and there is still a lot of baseball to be played. If the previous years are any indication this summer is going to be a heated battle for the MVP of the American League between two players. Trout and Betts, right now Mookie Betts would have the upper hand.

So far Betts has been tearing the cover off of the ball as he has more hits, and better isolated power numbers than Trout. Mookie could be on pace for a season much like his 2016 season was when he arguably should have won the MVP over Mike Trout. Betts is one of the hardest players in the league to strike out as his strikeouts will be significantly lower than Trout’s overall number. Betts plays on a better team with a better offense so his runs scored and RBI numbers should be higher than Trout.
Photo Credit: USA Today

Trout is always going to be a player who will take his walks, and is going to run when he gets on the bases. Betts will run, but not to the affect of the 40 plus steals that Trout will have. Trout appears well on his way to a 35 plus home run season. It remains to be seen if Betts has that much power, the most he hit was in 2016 and that was 31. If the Red Sox offense continues to hit at the torrid pace they have been on. Betts will score well over 100 runs, and should have close to 100 RBI.

One other factor that needs to be considered is because Mookie does not strike out nearly as much as Trout does, he puts the ball into play more often. His batting average should be over .300 and Trout should hit near .300. Batting average is not that telling of a stat in relation to baseball anymore, but it is still considered when reviewing the MVP. If Mookie continues to do what he is doing, and the Red Sox continue to play like they have been. Betts will win his first MVP award.

One of the things all baseball fans can hope for is for Mike Trout to return to the playoffs and hopefully get paired against the Red Sox. The Great Debate could roll on as to who the better overall player is, in a playoff atmosphere. The Playoffs bring out the best and the worst in each player, but the thought of Trout vs Betts in a playoff series is something every baseball fan can look forward to. This debate is going to roll on for years to come, and it is going to be exciting to watch.