Winslow Townson/David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Behind the Seams: Betts vs. Martinez for Red Sox MVP - Who You Got?

By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub

A day or two ago, longtime baseball writer Jayson Stark of The Athletic handed out his midseason baseball awards, granting the American League Most Valuable Player Award to Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Red Sox fans presumably disagree with this, feeling one of their own players is more worthy.

The real question is which one.

In case you missed it, Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts hit a game-breaking grand slam Thursday night, propelling the Red Sox to their 10th straight win, a 6-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Betts’ homer came at the conclusion of an epic 13-pitch at-bat, and it’s worth watching the entire sequence again here:

Know what the best part of that whole sequence was? The reaction. Betts doesn’t often display that kind of raw intensity, good or bad. What you saw there was unfiltered. The dynamic right fielder of the Red Sox leads the majors in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS, while ranking second to only Trout in on-base percentage. He has been the best and most dynamic player in baseball this season and, without question, the MVP of the American League.

Right?

Well, maybe not.

I mean, let’s not forget this guy:

Look, here’s the simple question: who’s the MVP of the Red Sox right now? Betts? Martinez? Heck, you could probably even argue Chris Sale. But for the sake of this discussion, let’s keep it to the everyday players – Betts and Martinez – who have been the kind of prolific 1-2 punch that can drive a team to a championship. (That said, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)

Obviously, this is purely a subjective argument and depends on what you value. But if you want numbers – and what baseball fan doesn’t? – here is a breakdown of some of the major categories that would argue on behalf of each player.

(Photos courtesy of USA Today. Defensive statistics courtesy of fangraphs.com.)

Given the numbers, the debate here is obvious: Betts is the more complete player and Martinez is the more potent hitter, though it is interesting to note – courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com – that Martinez has been a more productive player when in the outfield than when serving as the designated hitter.

Me? I’d go with Martinez and here’s why: Mookie’s defense doesn’t make up for the run production that Martinez has added with his bat. The difference between this year’s Red Sox and last – at least as far as the offense goes – is the presence of Martinez in the lineup. Plain and simple. He has been a game-changer. And while Betts might very well be the most complete, dynamic and best player in baseball this year, the ripple effect of Martinez has produced tidal waves at Fenway Park.

Oh, and here’s the other big thing – Martinez hasn’t missed any time. Betts was out for roughly three weeks.

But that’s just one person’s opinion.

So who you got?

You can hear Tony Massarotti weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.