It’s unusual for a baseball athlete to win his league’s Most Valuable Player award when he’s on a fourth place team which finished 14 games under .500. But for Mike Trout, setting new precedents is just business as usual.
The 25-year-old Angel centerfielder on Thursday was named the MVP of the American League for the second time in three years by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
“I was speechless,” Trout said on a conference call after hearing his name. “It was one of the best feelings I ever felt. It’s special. It’s just surreal. You pinch yourself sometimes.”
Trout not only made history that way, he also became the first to finish in the top two in MVP voting in each of his first five full seasons in the major leagues. He also has tied with Barry Bonds as the only two players ever to finish in the top two voting for MVP for five consecutive seasons.
He got 19 first place votes and 356 points, outpacing Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox, who had nine first place votes and 311 points.
In 2016, Trout batted .315, slugged 29 home runs and 100 RBIs. He also stole 30 bases, and led the major leagues in runs, walks and on-base percentage. Trout played in 159 of the Angels’ 162 games.
He is the first player to win the MVP award for a team that didn’t make the playoffs since Alex Rodriguez won the honor while playing for the last-place Texas Rangers in 2003.