Joel Embiid Should be Considered an MVP Candidate
It is only January and a lot of people are talking about either James Harden or Giannis Antetokounmpo to win the MVP, but what about Joel Embiid?
Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts continues to rack up the awards. Betts was named the 2018 American League Most Valuable Player on Thursday after batting a major-league best .346 for the 108-win Red Sox. He is the first Red Sox player to win MVP since Dustin Pedroia claimed the crown in 2008.
Not only did Betts register the best batting average of 2018, he also led MLB in slugging, runs, and Wins Above Replacement (WAR). He is the first player in MLB history to win the battle title and produce a 30-30 season in the same year, slugging 32 homers and collecting 30 stolen bases.
In addition to being named AL MVP and helping the Red Sox win the World Series, Betts captured his second career AL Silver Slugger Award and earned an AL Gold Glove for the second time. He also won the Heart and Hustle Award, which is given to the player who “best embodies the values, spirits and traditions of baseball.” An accolade-filled 2018, could the Associated Press (AP) Male Athlete of the Year be the next honor Betts claims?
Houston Astros infielder José Altuve was named the 2017 AP Male Athlete of the Year. What did Altuve do to earn last year's honor? He was an AL Silver Slugger recipient, won the AL's battling title and MVP, and helped lead the Astros to a championship. Betts, of course, accomplished all of the aforementioned personal and team achievements in his incredulous 2018 season.
In the past year, Betts is the only athlete of the four major North American sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL) to win MVP and a team championship. Tom Brady of the New England Patriots won his third NFL MVP last season, but lost in the Super Bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Houston Rockets’ James Harden led his squad to the best record in the NBA in his MVP campaign, but lost in the Western Conference Finals to the eventual NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Taylor Hall seized the NHL MVP crown, but his New Jersey Devils were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs.
Combining individual excellence and team success, Betts posted the most impressive résumé of any athlete in 2018. He seeks to become the first Boston athlete to win the AP honors since Brady held the title in 2007 when he spearheaded the Patriots to a perfect regular-season record. The last Red Sox AP Athlete of the Year was Fred Lynn in 1975.
Taking home the AP Male Athlete of the Year Award would cap off an incredible year for Betts, who became a father on Nov. 6.