A beat writer in the Arizona area yesterday asked his followers whom they considered to be the AL and NL MVPs. The MVP award is based only on regular season performance, and ballots must be submitted before the first pitch of the playoffs begin, and every year there is always some faction of fans that claim a player won the MVP because of their post-season performance. Those in the know would call those people “idiots.”
I consider the MVP to be an award for the baseball player that plays nearly every game, so when a pitcher wins it I feel like anyone that played everyday got cheated out of an award. By this logic, I do not consider relievers to be relevant to the MVP discussion due to them being in roughly 70 of the approximately 1400 innings played over the course of the season, although I understand that people that vouch for relievers will claim that they have “saved” games for their team, thus making them very valuable. I see the argument, but for the MVP, I don’t buy it. I’d be more willing to listen for the Cy Young, but even then, I still give more kudos to the starters.
Anyway, if you’re wondering who’s in the mix this year for AL and NL MVP, I’m going to write some names down, and you can selectively observe them down the stretch to make these last couple weeks of regular season baseball more fun for you.
My Clearly-Biased-I-Hate-Your-Team-AL MVP Candidates
Mike Trout, Angels (27 HR, 45 SB, .421 wOBA, 48.9 wRAA, 174 wRC+, 9.3 fWAR), who will win the AL ROY
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (38 HR, .598 SLG%, .415 wOBA, 50.5 wRAA, 165 wRC+, 6.2 fWAR)
My I’m-Such-A-Homer-I-Need-A-Brain-NL MVP Candidates
Ryan Braun, Brewers (40 HR, 24 SB, .415 wOBA, 49.5 wRAA, 163 wRC+, 7.4 fWAR)
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (28 HR, 18 SB, .410 wOBA, .391 BABIP, 46.5 wRAA, 163 wRC+, 7.4 fWAR)
Buster Posey, Giants (22 HR, .403 wOBA, 39.6 wRAA, 160 wRC+, 6.9 fWAR)
It’s hard for me to say who will win because I don’t know what each writer has up their sleeves, and they could look at any of the numbers I put up, or they could look at some of the simpler numbers. They could also be rationalizing the value of a player’s respective defensive position, as well as how many highlight-reel plays they saw a player make. And unfortunately, they could also consider if a player helped his team get to the playoffs.
When it’s all said and done, I would not be surprised to see a combination of Trout/Braun or Trout/Posey win the awards. I don’t think the Pirates will make the postseason, and therefore will scare away voters because some garbage about that making McCutchen “less valuable” or something. The nation also loves Trout, and Miggy Cabrera would have to do something like 50 HR to really give Trout a run for his money to convince the voters, in my opinion.