It's MLB awards week at SB Nation, and we need your help to give them out.
There are really just five hitters we should be talking about. None of them are Phillies (I know, shocker)
Bryce Harper in 2015 is who pitchers have nightmares about. He finished with the third highest batting average in MLB, tied for third most home runs, the highest on-base percentage and highest OPS. The guy is insanely talented, and he's only 23. After a few injury plagued years, he played 153 games, his most since his debut in 2012. 2012! This was just his fourth year in MLB. He's so good it takes my breath away, and he's so young. Theoretically, he hasn't hit his peak yet because he's 23. 23! When I was 23 I was living in a crappy town in Wisconsin just discovering baseball and getting drunk all the time because it was WISCONSIN. What I'm trying to say is that Bryce Harper is seriously good and seriously young. Against the Phillies: Harper played 17 games against the Phillies in 2015, and I'd like to forget most of them because he hit .317/.453/.767. What's insane is that in the NL East, that's his second-worst line. Against the Braves and Marlins (37 total games), he hit a combined .357/.461/.746. Look at those numbers. Those are "X-Files alien who has landed here to take over the planet only to discover, fall in love with, and master baseball" numbers.
You didn't hear as much about Paul Goldschmidt this year. He's on the going-nowhere Diamondbacks, and compared to Trout on the playoff-adjacent Angels and Harper on the ha-ha-no-playoffs-for-you Nationals, Goldschmidt was a comparatively boring story. He wouldn't finish in the top 10 for home runs, triples, doubles, or hits, but his triple slash revealed how much he did for his undeserving team. (They voluntarily employ Tony La Russa in a leadership position, that should say it all about the Diamondbacks.) He hit .321/.435/.570 with 33 home runs and 110 RBI. RBI don't say much, but on a team as challenged as the Diamondbacks, that he brought in over 100 runs is a huge feat. Against the Phillies: Goldschmidt hit .333/.480/.722 in six games. Not quite as demoralizing as Harper's line in 17 games, but no picnic.
Mike Trout lives on this list. He's just 24, which is infuriating since he, like Harper, is going to be around FOREVER. What can you say about Mike Trout that hasn't been said before? What's new in 2015 is that he almost singlehandedly carried his team -- the ANGELS -- into the playoffs. That is what talent like Trout's can do. He hit .299/.402/.590 and made every fan wish that Jerry Dipoto would take leave of his senses and trade Trout. Against the Phillies: The Angels didn't actually play the Phillies this year, so this section is here just to remind you that Mike Trout is originally from South Jersey and is an Eagles fan.
After spending his whole career in Oakland, he came to Toronto and rebounded after a disappointing 2014 to career bests (like 41 home runs, 122 hits, and 123 RBI) and a line of .297/.371/.598. His outstanding play helped the Blue Jays make the playoffs for the first time in eons. Against the Phillies: In four games, Donaldson hit .313/.389/.688 against the Phillies. I keep hoping that one of these guys will have a crappy line against the Phillies, which is a stupid thing to hope for.
A great player on a limp, uninspiring, terrible team. This isn't like Bryce Harper's situation, where his team grandly buckled under expectations. The Reds were never going to be good. Or even decent. Unembarrassing was the goal, but it's hard to even be than when your team is as bland as the Cincinnati Reds. You can only be embarrassing when people pay attention to you. But people pay attention to Joey Votto, a stoic Canadian hitter who has hitting abilities that go far beyond his .314/.459/.541 line for 2015. He is smart and strategic and obviously operating on a higher plane of baseball being than the rest of us. Against the Phillies: .346/.414/.923 in six games. Those are real numbers hit by a real person.
Who is your choice for best hitter in baseball? Vote below, and stay tuned tomorrow for voting on the best pitcher in baseball.