Boston Red Sox: Mookie Betts in good company as MVP runner-up
By Sean Penney
It’s shocking that a hitter the caliber of David Ortiz never won an MVP in his storied career, but he did come close in 2005 when he slugged 47 homers and drove in a league-leading 148 RBI. He hit .300/.397/.604 that season, which combined with those power numbers would make him an MVP contender in almost any season.
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Except that year he was up against Alex Rodriguez in his prime. A-Rod led the league with 48 home runs, a .610 SLG and 1.031 OPS. At that point in his career he was still a solid defensive player, boosting his value to 9.4 WAR, which easily bested Ortiz’s 5.3 WAR.
A-Rod was a fair selection that year, but Ortiz had the offensive numbers the following season when he blasted a franchise record 54 home runs to lead the league, along with an AL best 137 RBI. Yet that season he finished third on the ballot, while Justin Morneau took home the hardware with numbers that paled in comparison to what Ortiz produced.
The difference-maker was that Ortiz never provided any defensive value.
The bias against the designated hitter held him back on more than one occasion, but it won’t hold him out of Cooperstown.