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Jose Abreu vs. Mike Trout: Is the MVP race already settled?

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Sep 3, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago White Sox designated hitter

Jose Abreu

(79) hits a single in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Twins won 11-4. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

In my mind, the two best players in the American League this season are Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox.

Sep 3, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder

Mike Trout

(27) reaches first on an error during the third inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I may be wrong in making comparisons to their two seasons (I love watching both of these players play the game at the highest level possible), as it seems nationally that Trout is the favorite by far to win the award. A lot of folks, OK, most folks say it is an easy decision, and maybe it is, but I just want to compare on the field numbers and we can go from there.

I do know this … if Abreu wasn’t on the White Sox, there is no way they would have as many wins as they currently have, which isn’t many. Most of the White Sox losses are due to a poor bullpen and starting rotation (except for Chris Sale, he’s one of the best in baseball, and Jose Quintana), but Abreu isn’t a pitcher and even he can’t stop their poor outings.

But if we are looking at just the on-the field stats (before the games on Friday, Sept. 5), here is what we come up with.

We’ll put each player’s stats side by side, with their AL rank and go from there:

• Batting Average: Abreu (.322, 4th in AL), Trout (.285, 15th in AL)

• Home Runs: Abreu (33, 3rd in AL), Trout (31, 5th in AL)

• RBI: Abreu (99, 1st in AL), Trout (98, 2nd in AL)

• Runs: Abreu (71, 21st in AL), Trout (93, 2nd in AL)

• On-Base Percentage: Abreu (.383, 4th in AL), Trout (.370, 10th in AL)

• Slugging Percentage: Abreu (.602, 1st in AL), Trout (.550, 4th in AL)

• Total Bases: Abreu (286, 3rd in MLB), Trout (291, 1st in MLB)

• Extra Base Hits: Abreu (66, 2nd in MLB), Trout (72, 1st in MLB)

• On-base percentage + slugging (OPS): Abreu (.985, 1st in AL), Trout (.920, 3rd in AL)

• Games Played: Abreu (123), Trout (135)

• Team Record: Abreu/White Sox (63-76), Trout/Angels (84-55)

Jul 14, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; American League outfielder Mike Trout (right) of the Los Angeles Angels stands with infielder

Jose Altuve

(27) of the Houston Astros and designated hitter Jose Abreu (79) of the Chicago White Sox in the second round during the 2014 Home Run Derby the day before the MLB All Star Game at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Those all seem the most important categories when looking at the MVP race, and what I feel may hurt Abreu the most are the overall records of their teams and where they will be in October.

But for fans of the sabermetric stats, here are some of those as well, as provided by ESPN.com:

• Run Created: Abreu (101.8, 4th in MLB), Trout (109.4, 2nd in MLB)

• Runs Created Per 27 outs: Abreu (8.10, 2nd in MLB), Trout (7.48, 6th in MLB)

• Isolated Power: Abreu (.280, 3rd in MLB), Trout (.265, 5th in MLB)

• Secondary Average: Abreu (.370, 12 in MLB), Trout (.418, 5th in MLB)

Trout, who also has nine sacrifice flies (3rd in MLB), will be playing for a chance to win a World Series title, plus he has a past body of MLB work behind him as this is his third year in the majors. Abreu is a rookie on the White Sox, who are headed toward yet another losing season.

One category I feel Abreu has in his favor is the batting average, with his being 37 points higher than Trout’s in the final month of the season.

Trout has scored 22 more runs than Abreu, but an advantage for Abreu is his OBP, which is 13 points higher than Trout’s.

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Besides what we just looked at, the rest of the categories on the comparison list are really too close to call.

If I were to guess who would be voted the AL MVP right now, based on these stats, I would say Trout would be selected.

Would I vote for Trout … yes, but I’m torn here, but yet again Trout is definitely deserving of being an MVP, so if he does win the MVP, I understand why. I believe Trout is the best player in baseball, but this is who is the most valuable, and there is a difference.

But for Abreu … as a rookie batting No. 3 in the lineup, he’s batting over .300, and he’s never faced any of the pitchers he’s seeing at the majors before … and he’s having success.

With Abreu being a power hitter, so to speak, batting over the .300 mark is a feat in itself.

Plus in my argument for Abreu … he was the AL Player of the Month twice this season and has won the AL Rookie of the Month multiple times as well.

There is no doubt in my mind Abreu will be the AL Rookie of the Year, but I also believe Abreu should be in the argument for the MVP of the AL as well. He most likely won’t win it, but he needs to be in the argument.

Am I wrong on that assessment?

Whomever eventually receives the award will be well-deserving, but I just don’t believe Abreu is being mentioned in the conversation as much as he should be.

Thoughts?

Who is your MVP of the American League and why?

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