The Boston Red Sox are an MLB-best — and completely absurd — 81-35 this season, even after Thursday night’s 8-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
While the Red Sox have gotten tremendous contributions up and down the roster, their MVP has been Mookie Betts. And Betts has an excellent case for the AL MVP, with those chances getting a sizable boost on Thursday night.
Betts went 4-for-5 with a single, double, triple, and home run. Yep, that’s a cycle. He also added a walk and reached base all five times.
The cycle was completed on a dinger in the ninth inning:
— MLB (@MLB) August 10, 2018
It’s the first cycle in MLB this season, and the first cycle to include a walk since Pablo Sandoval got it done in 2011:
Mookie Betts: first cycle *with a walk* since Pablo Sandoval 9/15/2011
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 10, 2018
Betts, 25, leads MLB in batting average (.347), SLG (.668), wOBA (.456), and wRC+ (192) at the plate, while also being an elite defensive outfielder (10 defensive runs saved). He’s been worth 7.5 wins above replacement according to FanGraphs, which has him tied with Jose Ramirez and just 0.1 behind Mike Trout. This is with only playing 96 games so far this season, while Trout has played 109 games and Ramirez has played 113 games.
So, it sure seems that Betts has been the best player in baseball this season, and now he has his “Heisman Moment” with the cycle to really get the attention of MVP voters. You’d also have to figure that the Red Sox being the best team in baseball would work in his favor (team record shouldn’t be a big factor, but we know it is).
Add this all up, and Betts should currently be viewed as the AL MVP favorite.