As we transfer into the 2020 year, it’s important to look back and reflect upon the athletes that impressed the sports world in 2019. The players mentioned reflect upon the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL.
MLB- OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
We start with the player who has finished in the top five of AL MVP voting over the last eight consecutive seasons. Trout, who finished with the AL MVP in 2019, led the league in OBP (.438), SLG (.645), and OPS (1.083).
To most, WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is a beneficial stat to prove the value of Trout over potentially anyone else in MLB history. Typically, a 5.0 WAR is deemed worthy of an All-Star nod. For Trout, he finished last season with a WAR of 8.3.
The gap between the Angels outfielder and just about everyone else in the MLB is fairly visible. Trout gets the nod as the most impressive MLB athlete of 2019, and over the last eight years.
NBA- F Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Even with Anteokounmpo on an improving Bucks roster, not many considered them to contend in the East at the beginning of last season. As a result, we found an MVP in the ‘Greak Freak’.
Last season, Anteokounmpo averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. Although Milwaukee was two wins short against the Toronto Raptors from an NBA Finals appearance, their season was impressive nonetheless.
Carrying into the current season, the Bucks appear to be early favorites in the East. The team sits with a record of 30-5, and Anteokounmpo is once again at the center of the MVP conversation. Although names such as LeBron James or James Harden are driving factors in the NBA, Anteokounmpo has been the most impressive athlete in the league.
NFL- QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
This route seems fairly obvious, as Lamar Jackson has essentially revolutionized the quarterback position. In a year where the Ravens moved on from Joe Flacco, Jackson fell short in the 2019 postseason. However, this current season is where the Ravens quarterback separated himself from the pack.
In a year where Jackson will more than likely win the NFL MVP in a landslide vote, he has been just as impressive with his feet in comparison to his arm. Jackson currently holds the record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season; surpassing Michael Vick.
The teams that Baltimore has defeated in 2019 has been impressive as well. Their running list consists of the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Buffalo Bills.
NHL- C Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
The three-time All-Star has continued to impress the NHL world, as McDavid is leading the league in assists (41) and points (63). It may be difficult to imagine a 22-year old as the most impressive athlete in an entire sport, but McDavid has earned that right.
The Oilers aren’t at the top of the Pacific Division, let alone the entire Western Conference. However, the former #1 pick has continued to impress on a night-to-night basis.
Odd makers continue to place McDavid as the betting favorite for the NHL Hart Trophy award. At this current rate, his case will continue to be validated.
Photo Credit: Todd Olszewski, Getty Images