His 2016 season was as good as any of the previous four. He matched a career high for OPS, set new ones for walks and on-base percentage, remembered after two quiet baserunning seasons that he’s a top-tier base stealer, and by some advanced metrics had the best defensive season he has had since he was a rookie. His 10.6 WAR on Baseball-Reference is nearly equal to his best ever, and is a mark that only seven other human beings have accomplished since integration.
What the award was never Jerick McKinnon Authentic Womens Jersey meant to be was a leaderboard sort. Indeed, it was the very opposite of a leaderboard sort: The first MVP award was designed to replace the batting crown, which had been turned into a farce on the final day of the 1910 season when Nap Lajoie was allowed to bunt his way past Ty Cobb thanks to, shall we say, an anti-Cobb bias among players. As The Bill James Historical Abstract puts it, “After this it was realized that it was not advisable to make such an award contingent directly on player statistics, a principle still recognized today. Instead, the Chalmers company decided to base its award — the automobile– upon a poll of Joe Berger Authentic Womens Jersey sportswriters.”
Bryant led the National League with a 7.67 WAR and was the only NL player in the top 10 in that category. He also ranked third in the NL in home runs (39), fourth in OPS (.939) and sixth in RBIs (102).
The only players to post a higher WAR at age 23 than Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts? Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins and Cal Ripken Jr.
And it was more than that. While everyone around the Red Sox rightly focused on the greatness of 40-year-old David Ortiz in his farewell season, Betts had one of the best age-23 seasons in baseball history.
Check it out: Betts became only the second 23-year-old ever to record at least 200 hits (he had 214), 40 doubles (41), 25 home runs (31) and 25 stolen bases (26), joining current Red Sox teammate Hanley Ramirez in 2007 with the Florida Marlins. And unlike Ramirez, he ranked as the best defender at his position, leading all players with 32 defensive runs saved.
As a result, Betts was worth 9.6 wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com. The only 23-year-olds deemed more valuable by that same WAR calculation were Hall of Famers Willie Mays (10.6 in 1954), Ted Williams (10.6 in 1942), Ty Cobb (10.5 in 1910), Eddie Collins (10.5 in 1910) and Cal Ripken Jr. (10.0 in 1984).
Nice company, eh?