In case anyone was wondering... Ohtani missed the last month of the season and still easily led the AL in HR's, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+, and what I think is really wild, led the AL in Total Bases. He also finished 4th in Batting Average.
Ohtani also led the MLB with 10.1 WAR.
Mookie Betts led the NL with 8.4 WAR, while the much hyped Ronald Acuna Jr came in with 8.1 WAR. Ohtani should easily win his 2nd AL MVP, and I would expect Acuna to win the NL MVP, though I would personally vote for Betts.
Gerrit Cole is the clear Cy Young favorite in the AL, finishing with 7.5WAR, with Blake Snell (AKA the 21st Century Bret Saberhagen) looking to pick up his 2nd Cy Young for the Padres. He finished with by far the lowest ERA in the big leagues, and led the NL in pitching WAR.
I suppose you can say the Mariners would not have been even close to the playoffs without Julio having an incredible August. But the reality is that 2 more clutch hits from him in September and we are division winners. We just needed to flip a couple games and he had so many chances. He was horrible with runners in scoring position in September. I hated to see him coming up in those situations because a strike out or pop up was pretty much guaranteed. JP is the opposite. He is better when the pressure is on.
So you are going to blame the best player on the team? He was incredible in July and August, slow start to the year, but the six weeks after the all-star break showed he is a true talent. It is disappointing he couldn't keep up the pace through September, but he delivered 5.3 WAR this season, 32 HR's 37 SB, and salvaged a .275 BA after a horrible start to the year. Oh yeah, and he drove in over 100 runs. Solid production from a guy in his age 22 season. I would like to see him strike out a bit less and walk a bit more, his OBP is pretty lame, but overall he's a great young and exciting player. If you own the Mariners you have to believe Julio will only continue to improve, it is not a stretch to believe he could be an MVP candidate in a couple of years.
I was thinking tonight that they were just 2 games away from winning the division and a first round bye... and that would be the 3rd best record in the AL.
I can think of way more than 2 games in September when Julio was up with the bases loaded and did absolutely nothing. He stranded 8 runners and struck out 4 times in one game against the Astros this week. So if Julio comes through just twice in September we might be having a very different conversation.
If I owned the Mariners... I would be hesitant to spend another $100 million to gain two clutch hits and winning the division. How about Julio being a little more consistent and not completely disappearing in September when it mattered most?