Trout claims 'surreal' second AL MVP Award
ANAHEIM -- Angels outfielder Mike Trout could barely hold back his emotions as he and his family soaked in the news Thursday that Trout was named the 2016 American League MVP. The 25-year-old superstar claimed his second MVP honor in three years with 19 first-place votes from 30 members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts was the runner-up, while Astros second baseman José Altuve finished third in voting.
• All-time American League MVP Award winners
"I was speechless," Trout said on a conference call a little over an hour after hearing his name called as AL MVP. "It was one of the best feelings I ever felt. It's special. It's just surreal. You pinch yourself sometimes."
:: AL MVP voting totals ::
Trout made history on his way to his second AL MVP Award since 2014. He's the first player to finish in the top two in MVP voting in each of his first five full seasons in the Major Leagues. Trout also joined Barry Bonds as the only players in baseball history to finish in the top two in MVP voting in five straight years.
"To win it one time, it's hard to do," said Trout, the 15th player to earn multiple AL MVP Awards. "Twice? You saw my emotions tonight. It was something special. All the hard work, you just put your mind to it and you want to be the best and hopefully at the end of the season you're in the conversation."
The Cubs' Kris Bryant won the National League MVP, marking the third time both MVPs were 25 or younger. The other two cases were Steve Garvey (25) and Jeff Burroughs (23) in 1974, and Hank Aaron (23) and Mickey Mantle (25) in 1957.
Trout, a five-time All-Star who also won the AL Rookie of the Year prize in 2012, is now the sixth player to win two MVPs before his age-25 season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, along with Johnny Bench, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial and Hal Newhouser.
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Trout previously was the runner-up to Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera in 2012 and '13, a unanimous choice for the AL MVP Award in '14 and the runner-up to Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson in '15. Trout previously received six first-place votes in 2012, five in '13, all 30 in '14 and seven in '15.
"This one has obviously got to be the biggest one," Trout said of his five-year run. "Going into the season, I wanted to put everything together."
The MLB Awards -- following league-specific recognition by BBWAA voters, whose ballots are based on regular-season play -- include candidates from both leagues (with postseason performance taken into consideration). MLB Awards are based on votes by retired players, broadcasters/reporters, team executives, Society of American Baseball Research members and fans, with each group accounting for 20 percent of the process. Esurance MLB Awards week concludes Friday on MLB Network and MLB.com at 5 p.m. PT. MLB Awards categories include Best Major Leaguer, Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie, Executive and Manager.
Offensively, Trout had a season unlike any other baseball has seen for a century. In addition, he played his usual stellar defense in center field.
Trout hit .315 with 32 doubles, five triples, 29 home runs, 100 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. He led the Majors in runs (123), walks (116) and on-base percentage (.441), while his .991 OPS ranked second in the AL. Trout was fourth in the AL with a .550 slugging percentage, and he tied for second in steals (Altuve and the Royals' Jarrod Dyson also had 30).
Add it all up and Trout is only the second player ever to hit .315, walk 115 times, score 120 runs and steal 30 bases in a single season, joining Ty Cobb in 1915.
Trout's Wins Above Replacement led the Majors by the Baseball-Reference formula (10.6) and by FanGraphs' calculations (9.4). Trout led MLB in OPS+ (173) and Win Probability Added -- the positive impact on his team's chances of winning a game. Trout's WPA was 6.5 (according to Baseball-Reference), more than double that of Betts (3.1) and Altuve, who was not in the Top 10 in the AL.
Trout was also durable, starting 148 games in center field and 11 at designated hitter.
While there was debate leading up to Thursday's announcement regarding Trout's case for MVP as an outstanding player on a losing team, he's the first player to win the AL MVP in a season in which his team missed the postseason since Alex Rodriguez did so as a member of the last-place Rangers in 2003.
"I've been fortunate enough to be here for the fifth time and I know how it works," Trout said. "But it's an unbelievable feeling. I was pretty surprised and just happy. It was just a surreal moment, one of the moments you can't really explain."
This year, Trout became only the second player in baseball history to record at least 10.6 WAR while playing for a team with a losing record, joining Cal Ripken Jr.'s 11.5 WAR season for the 1991 Orioles.
"I can only go out there and do what I can do," Trout said. "I can't control what people think. I go out there with one mindset and it's to be the best. I just go out there and be the best player I can be and just try to be the best player in the league."
Trout said he had mixed feelings heading into the announcement, unsure if he would win.
"It was a feeling I can't really explain once I heard my name called and seeing my family and everybody cheer," Trout said. "It was pretty cool."
Trout's second AL MVP award is the fourth in Angels franchise history, along with Don Baylor (1979) and Vladimir Guerrero (2004).
"I am so happy for Mike, his family, the fans and our organization," Angels owner Arte Moreno said. "To watch what Mike does on an everyday basis just continues to both impress and amaze. He is a young man who works diligently at his craft, while also having a tremendous amount of fun doing so."
Trout is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest players ever. His resume now includes two AL MVP Awards, an AL Rookie of the Year Award (2012), five All-Star Game selections ('12-16), two All-Star Game MVP honors ('14-15), five Silver Slugger Awards ('12-16) and an AL Hank Aaron Award ('14).
"It just humbles you," Trout said. "It's an unbelievable honor. Obviously, MVP, just to be in the conversation, it's pretty surreal. Just a little bit ago, I was just a little kid in high school. Now I had a chance to win my second MVP. It means a lot to me and my family."