Last night, Chone Figgins showed why he is a serious MVP candidate. He only got on base once via a walk. The rest of the night, he was 0-4 with a strikeout. But that one time he got on base, he stole second, stole third and scored. He rattled Danks, the pitcher, so much that three homers ensued. Meanwhile, the steal of the year, Bobby Abreu, hit a homer, stole a base and scored two runs. Either player could be a viable MVP candidate.
Let's start with Figgins. Two years ago, Figgins played in 115 games and batted .330 with an On Base Percentage of .393. He stole 42 bases in only those 115 games and scored over 80 runs. Then last year, he became quite ordinary. He still stole a lot of bases, but his batting average fell to .276 with an OBP of .367. His OPS+ (82) was the lowest of his career.
But this year, he's been the catalyst at the top of the order and his line of .303/.395/.404 leads up to an OPS+ of 109. He leads the league in runs scored with 87 (in just 105 games). Unlike other years where he has played all over the field, Figgins has been pretty much anchored at third where he is league average in fielding percentage with above league average range.
It's usually the sluggers who get all the MVP votes, but Figgins has been the disruptive, on-base dynamo that makes this Angel offense go.
Bobby Abreu couldn't find a job this spring, remember? The Yankees didn't want him. Nobody wanted him. Then the Angels picked him up for a song (and a few million). He has responded by having one of his best seasons ever. His current line stands at: .322/.416/.458. He has an OPS+ of 128 and it seems like every game, he is on base, scoring a run, or driving in a run. He has 77 RBI, right up there with the leaders. He has scored 80 runs, right behind Figgins. And he has 23 steals in only 28 attempts.
It is hard to see the Angels being nearly as good as they are without either player. But if the Fan had a vote, Bobby Abreu would be the MVP this year.