We set out with a simple question that seemed to have endless possibilities of what could be the reply…
Who is the Face of Major League Baseball?
In the wake of the retirement of Derek Jeter, as well as a strong amount of generational turnover among the elite on the field, it was a question that needed to be addressed. Having a strong front man is positive for the sport, good for the fans and best for business.
To sort this out, we leaned on our staff to pull apart the prime time players in the game via a representative from each organization, and then we turned to our readers to cast votes on who should be the top guy. And when the dust settled from that inquiry, the outcome was clearer than we imagined when the request was made.
Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels prodigy turned Most Valuable Player, yet still remaining within the age range to be a prodigy, ran away with the popular vote. Deservingly so of course, because he has gotten off to arguably the greatest start to a career in at least the last half century, and continues to redefine his game on annual basis. In his first three years, he has “only” been the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year, a three-time All-Star, won three Silver Slugger Awards and is the reigning AL Most Valuable Player as well for a year where he lifted the Angels to the best record in baseball.
Yet despite of all these accolades, it did not seem a foregone conclusion that he was such a decisive choice for the heir apparent to Jeter’s vacated spot — until the numbers begun to roll in. The margin in which he claimed the prize of being the face of the game was shockingly wide. All in all, it appears it was a no brainer.
Trout was named on 39% of the total replies, which was over double from the closest runner-up to him, Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, who was the choice of 15% of our voters. Coming in close behind Posey was Trout’s fellow MVP and city mate from a year ago, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers who checked in with 12% of the vote.
However, there was a sharp decline after that point with Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals (7%) and Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates (6%) being the only players to move the needle at all.
Others receiving votes where David Ortiz, Bryce Harper, Alex Rodriguez, Paul Goldschmidt, David Wright, Robinson Cano, Josh Reddick, Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, Matt Kemp, Chris Sale and Evan Longoria.
Of the franchise representatives put forth for the ballot that did not receive a vote are: Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, Yu Darvish, Jose Altuve, Corey Kluber, Alex Gordon, Andrelton Simmons, Jon Lester, Chase Utley, Joey Votto and the game’s highest paid player, Giancarlo Stanton.
There were some interesting outcomes all-around, specifically some of that players that received little or no support. Chiefly among which are one of the game’s top statesmen in Ortiz and its most decorated player over the past few years in the Tigers’ Cabrera. Also, the complete omission of Stanton, who is one of the game’s fastest rising stars was surprising as well.
There are some absences that could have perhaps made a bigger impact if they had been able to make the ballot as well. Due to the fact that only a single player per franchise was eligible, it forced off two of the game’s most popular players in Yasiel Puig and Felix Hernandez. Puig (whose image ironically graces the cover of MLB: The Show 2015, which was given away to one lucky voter) would have perhaps been a very strong candidate to make a push to at least make it interesting behind Trout.
However, in the end it appears that nothing could stop Trout from claiming the crown of the people’s champion. The man of the future is already the choice of today, and considering the fact he is doing nothing but getting better as the calendar turns over, this could be reign that eventually eclipses even Jeter’s popularity one day down the road.
Thanks to all that participated.
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