Scioscia: Team record hurts Trout's MVP chances
TORONTO -- One would be hard-pressed to find someone more complimentary of Mike Trout's success and skill than his own manager, who sees Trout every day yet still marvels at the things he does at age 22.
But even Mike Scioscia will tell you the Angels' standing should affect Trout's Most Valuable Player Award chances.
"I still feel that unless a player's stats are just so far out ahead of the rest of the pack -- I mean just unbelievable numbers where you're going, 'This is the most incredible season out there by far' -- it should be weighted to where your teams are," Scioscia said.
"If you have four guys with very similar statistics -- some guys might be heavily weighted in home runs and some guys in runs scored -- I do think that the deciding factor will be the impact he had for his team. And a team that he has a year like that for and leads into the playoffs should be part of the equation. I believe that."
Trout's support for MVP is nowhere near as fierce as it became in 2012. Not with the Angels 9 1/2 games out of the second Wild Card spot in the American League -- despite winning 14 of 19 heading into Thursday's series finale at Rogers Centre -- and not with Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Chris Davis of the Orioles having fantastic offensive seasons for teams that have been in contention all year.
But some would argue that Trout's 2013 season is even better than the one he had in 2012 -- one that was considered one of the best in baseball history -- and should warrant the MVP no matter the Angels' record.
Entering Wednesday's games, Trout ranked second in the AL in batting average (.336) and third in OPS (1.004), raised his on-base percentage by nearly 40 points (.399 to .437) and could become the first player in his age-21 season or younger to combine 25 homers (currently at 23) with 30 steals (32), 100 runs (101) and 200 hits (180).
Trout also once again easily leads the Majors in wins above replacement. His current score, using FanGraphs.com's system, is 9.9. Second is the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen (7.5), third is Cabrera (7.2) and fourth is Davis (6.9).
That means without Trout, the Angels would be 17 games below .500, rather than just seven.
"Does that impact your season as much?" Scioscia said. "You're out of the playoffs still."
And that logic is the main reason why Trout -- like it or not -- is not expected to finish any better than third in AL MVP voting, with Cabrera (.349 average, 43 homers, 133 RBIs, 1.099 OPS) and Davis (.295 average, 49 homers, 128 RBIs, 1.032 OPS) basically going head to head.
For an example of an exception, Scioscia pointed to Steve Carlton's 1972 season, when he won 27 of the Phillies' 59 games and took home the National League Cy Young Award.
"But it was because his numbers were so far off the charts compared to everyone else that there was no doubt," Scioscia said. "I think when you're talking about Cy Young, MVP, I do think the team's performance does come into the occasion to validate the impact you've had on an organization. … Not everybody looks at it that way, and that's fine."