The season is grinding on and the Red Sox are amid a 21-game stretch against strictly the AL East. As each day comes to an end,the fans have no idea which Red Sox team is going to show up the next day. One thing about the perfectly inconsistent season is the perfectly constant Xander Bogaerts. The star shortstop is living up to the lofty expectations put on him a season ago.
Let’s rewind to the offseason when X signed a huge extension to stay in Boston for the majority, if not all his career. No one truly knew how he would perform. His play this season should have him in the MVP conversation alongside Mike Trout and DJ Lemahieu. In fact, one could argue that Bogaerts should be the one in the conversation for the MVP over Lemahieu.
Mike Trout is a dead giveaway for being in the MVP conversation this year. Much like every season the best overall player in baseball is having another incredible year. The Red Sox shortstop is having a career season as well and it has rivaled Trouts to this point. They are the only two players in the American League who are hitting .300, have 20 or more homers and have 70 or more RBI.
Trout has 30 homers and the highest WAR in the American League at 6.4. Xander is better than Trout in almost every other category. The Red Sox star leads the American League in doubles, he has one less RBI than Trout. The one metric that matters the most is that Bogaerts has the second highest WAR in the American League at 4.6. This is his career high and that number may push him into the lead at some point for the MVP race.
The writers value the analytical stats much more than they do the traditional stats like batting average, RBI and on base percentage. The WAR metric shows the writers and the voters how important you were to your team during the year. It also shows how you performed relative to your peers in the league. The fact that the short stop has the second highest WAR in the American League proves just how consistent he has been this season.
If X continues to hit and play like he has been, the MVP should be a two-person race between him and Trout. The numbers for Lemahieu are not close if you are looking at everything that goes into the voting. The Yankee second baseman has the batting average, but his WAR of 3.3 is tied with Mookie Betts and is good enough for the eighth best in the American League. Rafael Devers has a better WAR and more of a case to the MVP than Lemahieu does.
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Another offensive stat that really matters to the writers is the Offensive Efficiency metric. It looks at how many extra runs the player has been worth on the offensive side. Trout has the most at over 50 followed by Xander with 28.7. Lemahieu is under 20 at 17.4. If the voters look at the WAR and the offensive efficiency Lemahieu should not even be in the final five for the voting.
The final five based on every counting stat and the WAR and offensive rating should be in order Mike Trout, Xander Bogaerts, Matt Chapman, Alex Bregman and Rafael Devers. Everyone knows the committee does not think this way and sometimes it feels like a popularity contest. However, over the last couple of seasons, the writers have put a greater weight on WAR and the offensive metric. If this continues to be the case this season, Lemahieu is going to have a large mountain to climb. Let the Yankee fans have their fun, Red Sox fans know who the better player is.