MVP races in the majors ordinarily play out like half year long distance races, yet on Thursday night the AL fight will momentarily turn out to be more similar to a bout with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. furthermore, Shohei Ohtani venturing into the ring.
Since position players as a rule get back the equipment — just 23 of the 181 MVPs in MLB history have been pitchers — we’re reliably prevented the delight from getting seeing the top competitors fight each other no holds barred.
Since 1992, just two pitchers have been named MVP (Justin Verlander in 2011 and Clayton Kershaw in 2014), and Kershaw didn’t confront the one who came next in the MVP race that year (Giancarlo Stanton). Verlander went facing his next in line (Jacoby Ellsbury) multiple times, yet Ellsbury went an enemy of climactic 1-for-7 with a solitary, a walk and one strikeout. To make things even less invigorating, both of Verlander and Ellsbury’s gatherings came in May, when the last was hitting a solid — yet not grant commendable — .297/.356/.448, so it couldn’t have been charged as a duel between top MVP up-and-comers.
That implies when Guerrero Jr. ventures into the case against Ohtani on Thursday, it’ll be the first obvious skirmish of its sort in quite a while. All things considered, the two aren’t in a dead heat in the MVP race. Guerrero Jr. has chilled of late, and Ohtani’s two-way achievements are so particular and amazing that he’d need to tumble off fundamentally down the stretch for the honor to fall through his fingertips.
Regardless of whether Vladdy isn’t pretty much as close a second as he used to be, this uncommon one-two fight ought to be commended, and will be interesting to watch — yet who has the edge?
To separate the Guerrero Jr.- Ohtani matchup, the initial step is to cross-reference Vladdy’s viability against the pitch types Ohtani tosses utilizing Statcast Run Value, with his position among MLB hitters for setting:
Guerrero Jr. doesn’t have a significant pitch-type shortcoming, however Ohtani is probably not going to blow him away with his 95.5-mph fastball. The 22-year-old’s 10 extra-fair hits against 95+ mph fastballs positions 6th in the majors, and he’s slugged .760 against four-seamers by and large — with a far superior xSLG of .783. Ohtani can’t absolutely leave his fastball against Vladdy considering he utilizes the pitch the greater part the time, yet that is likely not where he will acquire a benefit.