Three thoughts about the A.L. MVP voting:
1) Mike Trout may have had the best season, but that didn't -- in my mind -- mean he was the MVP.
As I wrote earlier Thursday, this is not an award for the "best'' player; it's for the most valuable.
I meant no disrespect to Trout when I placed him fifth on my ballot. Were I the GM of a team and had my pick of players in baseball, I might well select Trout above all others.
But that's not the issue here. It's value -- to his team.
Trout's Los Angeles Angels finished fourth, 21 games out of first in the A.L. West. They were never contenders for the wild card.
If Trout was so valuable, why didn't that get reflected in the team's performance?
2) Voting for Mookie Betts was not an act of favoritism.
A certain amount of unavoidable bias may creep into the voting process, but that's unavoidable. When you cover a team over the course of a season, you see, firsthand, the impact a particular player has on his club.
You watch how he influences games on a daily basis, and you hear his teammates, manager and coaching staff cite his impact.
Obviously, I watched Betts far more than I did Trout, Jose Altuve, Josh Donaldson and others, and thus, had more of a feel for exactly how valuable he was.
There was nothing "strategic'' about voting Betts first and Trout fifth. I wasn't attempting to make it easier for Betts to win, or conversely, for Trout to lose.
I voted as instructed, to attempt to determine who was the Most Valuable Player -- nothing more, nothing less.
3) It should surprise no one if Betts is in contention for the award several more times before his career is over.
Betts just turned 24 last month. Conservatively speaking, he should play for another dozen or so years, and likely more.
It's incredible to think that, just over two years ago, Betts had never played the outfield as a professional. Or, for that matter, that he never played right field, at all, for an extended period until this season.
And this season, Betts wasn't just the best right fielder in the game. No, by some defensive metrics, he was the best defender, at any position, in the entire game.
He led all of baseball with 32 runs saved. He was also judged by some as the best baserunner -- beyond stolen bases, this takes into account the ability to take an extra base, how well a runner gets reads on balls, etc.
Considering that Betts does not yet have three full seasons in the big leagues, it's quite possible he'll improve across the board. He may supply more power, become more patient, and become a better overall hitter.
The only thing higher than his ceiling, in fact, may be his future earning potential.