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- Mike Trout was named 2014 American League MVP.
- Clayton Kershaw nabbed the 2014 National League MVP award.
- It was the first MVP award for both players.
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw were proclaimed the American League and National League MVPs, respectively, on Nov. 13.
“It was a Southern California sweep on Thursday night, when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America named the winners of the 2014 Most Valuable Player Awards, live on MLB Network with complementary coverage on MLB.com.
“With Angels center fielder Mike Trout a unanimous selecction in the American League and Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw earning 18 of 30 first-place votes in the National League, players from the same market won the honor in the same year for only the 11th time in history. The last time it had happened was in 2002, when the (San Francisco) Giants’ Barry Bonds and the (Oakland) A’s Miguel Tejada represented the Bay Area with MVP wins.
“The third time was indeed the charm for Trout, who placed second to the (Detroit) Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera in highly-debated votes the past two years. This time, Trout grabbed all 30 first-place votes, and 420 total points, becoming the youngest of the 18 unanimous MVP selections in Major League history. Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez finished second, with 229 points, and (Cleveland) Indians outfielder Michael Brantley was third with 191.
“‘It feels great,’ Trout said, showing some emotion. ‘Everyone’s out back. They’re all cheering. I’ve got family here. It’s something special, for sure.’
“At age 22, Trout hit .287/.377/.561 in 2014, smacking a career-high 36 home runs while leading the AL with 111 RBIs and the majors with 115 runs scored. He also stole 16 bases in 18 tries and led all major league position players in wins above replacement (WAR).
“Trout becomes the game’s fifth-youngest MVP, and the youngest since Cal Ripken, Jr. in 1983. He also joins Vladimir Guerrero (2004) and Don Baylor (1979) as the only MVPs in Angels history.
“‘I’ve got to thank my teammates,’ Trout said. ‘They get on base, give me opportunities to drive in some runs. Without those guys, I wouldn’t be here without them. The fans, obviously. I want to thank the sportswriters for voting for me — can’t thank them enough. It’s very special, and I’m very excited.’
“A first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Trout has already compiled an impressive resume in fewer than 500 career games. The ’12 AL Rookie of the Year is a three-time All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner, having racked up 111 doubles, 98 homers, 307 RBIs, 102 steals and 373 runs scored.
“Kershaw took the MVP one day after collecting his third NL Cy Young Award in four years, becoming only the ninth player in major league history to win both in the same year. The last time was the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson, who also was the most recent NL pitcher named MVP, back in 1968.
“After earning every first-place vote in the Cy Young race, Kershaw faced more competition this time. He still collected 355 points to beat out (Miami) Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (eight first-place votes; 298 points) and (Pittsburgh) Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (four first-place votes; 271 points), the 2013 NL MVP.
“‘Wow, that’s amazing,’ Kershaw said after learning of the results. ‘I can’t even believe it. Just to be associated with that award and those finalists — Andrew, Giancarlo — I’m blown away right now. It’s awesome.’
“Kershaw missed some time early this season due to injury but made the most of his 27 starts, winning his fourth straight ERA title with a 1.77 ERA that was the lowest since Pedro Martinez’s 1.74 mark in 2000. The 26-year-old Kershaw struck out 239 batters and walked 31 over 198 1/3 innings, leading the majors with a 0.86 WHIP, throwing a no-hitter and giving up more than three runs im a start only once, on /4/17. He compiled a 21-3 record, and the Dodgers went 23-4 in games he started.
“Kershaw is the 11th MVP in Dodgers history, the fifth since the franchise moved to Los Angeles and the first since Kirk Gibson in 1988. He joins Don Newcombe (’56) and Sandy Koufax as the only Dodgers pitchers to win the honor.
“‘It’s different,’ Kershaw said, comparing the MVP to the Cy Young Award. ‘It’s unbelieveable. I don’t know what to say, other than you see that ‘most valuable’ in front of something, to have people think you really mean that much to your team, it really is a huge honor for me.'”
ESPN’s David Schoenfiled weighed in on Trout’s and Kershaw’s accomplishment:
“But, really, those other narratives never took off. Stanton had the big power numbers, but it wasn’t enough to separate him from McCutchen or Lucroy as the clear top candidate among position players. Even if Stanton hadn’t been hit in the face and missed the final two weeks of the season, I don’t think he would’ve won, as no player from a losing team has won an MVP award since Alex Rodriguez in 2003. McCutchen had slightly better offensive numbers than 2013; he improved his slugging percentage from .508 to .542 — but the Pirates weren’t the same surprise story as 2013 and McCutchen’s 25 home runs and 83 RBIs don’t jump out.
“Stanton and McCutcher were great; just not great enough. Kershaw collected 18 of the 30 first-place votes, placed second on nine other ballots and easily outdistanced the runner-up, Stanton.
“…Of course, Trout didn’t win because of advanced metrics. The fact that Victor Martinez — who started 116 games at designated hitter — finished second in the voting shows the voters still place an emphasis on offensive numbers while essentially ignoring the value of things like defense, position and baserunning. Martinez had a terrific season, but he wasn’t the second-best player in the AL. On the other hand, it was nice that the voters recognized the great season that Michael Brantley had by putting him third in the voting even though the Indians didn’t reach the playoffs.
“Otherwise, it was scattershot results in the voting, as expected. Martinez did receive 16 second-place votes, but seven different players were placed there on the ballot. Ten different players received third-place votes.
“Anyway, I have the feeling this won’t be Mike Trout’s only MVP award.”