Thus far this 2016 MLB season, we’ve seen a fair share of surprise breakout performances from young and upcoming players such as Colorado’s Trevor Story, Jose Quintana of the Chicago White Sox, and Pittsburgh’s Gregory Polanco. Along with all of the young talent being put on display across Major League Baseball, fans of the Seattle Mariners and the Boston Red Sox have witnessed some extremely special hitting from their team’s stars: Robinson Cano, and David Ortiz.
After struggling throughout his entire first year in a Mariners’ uniform in 2015, Robinson Cano desperately needed to get off to a strong start in 2016 to prove that he is worth the 10-year, $240 million contract Seattle signed him to during 2014 free agency. Thus far this season, Cano has done just that, as he is currently tied with Yoenis Cespedes, Mark Trumbo, and Todd Frazier for the league lead in home runs (15), while his 44 RBI rank second in all of baseball behind only Boston’s David Ortiz (46). Because of Cano’s hot bat, the Mariners have been able to stay atop the American League West for the majority of the season (currently trail the Texas Rangers by half a game).
— Ken Lambert (@SeaTimesFotoKen) May 23, 2016
The Red Sox, meanwhile, have seen a massive turnaround from their 2015 season which saw a last-place finish in the American League East. Much of the Red Sox success thus far in 2016 can be credited to the incredible offensive production from Jackie Bradley Jr and Xander Bogaerts, and the number of quality starts put together by Rick Porcello, Steven Wright, and Joe Kelly. However, the biggest reason for the Red Sox success has to be the career-season from none other than David Ortiz, also known as “Big Papi.” Ortiz currently ranks fifth in the American League in home runs (13), third in the AL in batting average (.339), while leading all of baseball in RBI (46). Whenever any player puts up such a stat line to begin a season, it is pretty remarkable. But, at 40 years old and in the final season of his storied career, what David Ortiz is doing right now is absolutely incredible.
Both Robinson Cano and David Ortiz have meant everything to their clubs to begin the 2016 season, and it is only fitting that these two are the lead American League MVP candidates as of right now. It’s difficult to say as to whether it’s Cano or Ortiz that mean more to their team, but with what David Ortiz is doing at the age he is at, it’s hard to argue against Ortiz’s production being more impressive than Cano’s. Not to take anything away from Robby Cano, but for $240 million and being 33 years old Cano is playing the way that he should be for the Mariners. Ortiz is still making a ton of money in 2016 ($16 million), so he is absolutely performing up to his pay grade. But, Ortiz’s window for success is closing rapidly due to his age, which is why Big Papi’s 2016 season has been just a tad bit more impressive than that of Robinson Cano. If David Ortiz keeps producing at this rate at the age that he is at, he will almost certainly end up being the American League MVP at the season’s end.