To the surprise of no one, Mookie Betts won the American League MVP on Thursday night.
With no disrespect to Mike Trout, who many still label the best player in baseball, this was more or less a runaway for Betts, which was reflected in the voting as the Boston Red Sox outfielder received 28 of 30 first-place votes.
There’s no shortage of reasons for why Betts won the first MVP of his tremendous career. In fact, we came up with 50 feats of Mookie (hat tip to Alex Speier for that one) to show why Betts was the obvious choice for MVP.
Here they are (with no shortage of thanks to the Red Sox media relations game notes, Elias Sports Bureau, the @SoxNotes Twitter account, Baseball Reference and FanGraphs).
1. He won a Gold Glove for his tremendous defense in right field.
2. He won a Silver Slugger for his performance at the plate.
3. Betts is the 11th Red Sox player to win the MVP and the first since Dustin Pedroia won it in 2008.
4. He became the first player in American League history to win MVP, a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger and the World Series in the same season. The only other player in baseball history to do is Mike Schmidt.
5. He finished with 10.6 wins above replacement, per Baseball-Reference — the 30th-best mark in the last 100 years.
6. The last player with a bWAR that high was Barry Bonds in 2002.
7. His bWAR ranks 3rd among all Red Sox position players behind the two greatest seasons in franchise history: Ted Williams in 1946 and Carl Yasztremski in 1967.
8. His Fangraphs WAR of 10.4 was more than a half-win higher than any other player in the major leagues.
9. He helped the Red Sox win 108 games and a World Series.
10. This 13-pitch at-bat that resulted in a grand slam.
11. He was an All-Star Game starter, getting more votes than any other player in baseball.
12. He hit for the cycle in Toronto.
13. He won the Heart & Hustle Award for all of baseball.
14. He led the majors in batting average, slugging percentage and runs scored.
15. He finished second in the majors in on-base percentage, OPS and extra-base hits.
16. Oh, and third in doubles with a career-high 47 — for good measure.
17. He became the first Red Sox player to lead the major leagues in batting average since Wade Boggs in 1988.
18. He became the second Red Sox player in franchise history and just the 40th player ever to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases.
19. He’s the first batting champion in baseball history to post a 30-30 in the same season.
20. He joined Williams and Jimmie Foxx as the only players in Red Sox history to hit .340 with 80-plus extra-base hits.
21. Against the New York Yankees, he hit .415 with three home runs and 15 RBIs.
22. That includes this grand slam.
23. No one had more games of four hits or more (seven).
24. His seven games with three or more extra-base hits led the sport and were the most in a single season since 1908.
25. He now has 17 such games in his career, the most ever by a player under 26 years old.
27. Only three players in baseball swung at fewer pitches outside the strike zone.
28. He swung and missed just once every 20 pitches he saw.
29. When Betts scored a run, the Red Sox went 68-18.
30. The Red Sox had a .702 winning percentage in games he started.
31. The Red Sox had just a .516 winning percentage in games he didn’t start.
32. He led all outfielders in UZR, which is a fancy defensive metric. So it’s impressive; trust us.
33. He made just one error all season.
34. He was second among all outfielders in defensive runs saved.
35. One scout told the New York Post “if you can keep Betts as a non-factor, it just changes everything with that lineup because he sets it up for (Andrew Benintendi), (J.D.) Martinez and (Xander) Bogaerts. They go as he goes.” All three of those players had career years.
36. Another scout told the post “If you walk Mookie with the same approach (pitching around him), you are putting perhaps the best baserunner in the majors on base.”
37. Betts finished eighth in Fangraphs’ baserunning metric.
38. He’s a nice guy who fed the homeless.
39. This walk-off home run vs. the Twins was good.
40. He scored 128 runs, which were the most scored by a Red Sox player since Boggs in ’88.
41. He made this catch.
42. Then, in the playoffs, he almost made this catch, which ended up being just as important as any catch he’s actually made in his entire life.
43. And before Andrew Benintendi could save the season with a sliding catch in the ALCS, Betts’ made this ridiculous play to slow down the Astros.
44. He and J.D. Martinez were one of the most lethal 1-2 combos in baseball history: Betts and Martinez finished first and second in batting average and slugging, respectively, becoming the first teammates to do so in the same season since 1903.
45. His 32 home runs were the most by a leadoff hitter in Red Sox history.
46. He gave Shohei Ohtani a rude welcome to the big leagues as part of a three-dinger night in Anaheim.
47. Betts became one of eight players in baseball history 25 years or younger to finish the season with a .345 average, 1.075 OPS, 30 home runs and 80 extra-base hits. The others? Albert Pujols, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmy Foxx (twice), Chuck Klein, Lou Gehrig and a guy named Babe Ruth.
48. Not baseball-related, but he had a kid, so that’s cool.
49. With at least 40 doubles, 30 home runs and five triples, Betts became the second player in Red Sox history to hit all three of those figures in one season twice. The other? Ted Williams.
50. He is the only player in major league history hit 40-plus doubles and steal 20-plus bases in four straight seasons.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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