Been gone a while. Our eldest grandson just joined the US Army and we went to see him off. Always a bittersweet moment. The kid is no longer a kid, he’s leaving on the first of his adult adventures, but he’s now a man. Also got to see our son, daughter-in-law, and other grandkids. That was grand, but it means I left all of you hanging waiting desperately for my take on this year’s MVP races. Well, not being one do disappoint fandom, here we go. In both cases I’m fairly sure who I think the writers will pick, but I’m not convinced of either choice.
AL: I think the writers will again go with Miguel Cabrera. He led the league in average, slugging, OBP, OPS, OPS+; was second in runs scored, hits, total bases, home runs, RBIs: and was third in walks. I think that line of stats will put him over the top with the writers, especially considering he was hurt the last month and a half of the season. And it’s that month and a half that worries me. We saw Cabrera as a shadow of himself for a while. He was still decent, but he wasn’t Cabrera. That may cost him some votes. The choice to replace him is, however, all over the place. Trout has a higher WAR, but only leads the AL in walks and runs. Donaldson? The only thing he led the AL in was errors by a third baseman. Davis led the AL in homers, RBIs, and total bases, but like Trout, his team didn’t win anything. I think ultimately all that will lead the writers back to Cabrera. Reluctantly, I would also cast my vote for him also.
NL: This is almost a “why not” vote. No one had a great year, especially compared to what was going on in the AL. Take a look at all five playoff teams for just a moment. Who on the Reds is worthy of an MVP? Votto, Choo? Maybe, but how good were they actually (Votto led the NL OBP)? How about the Dodgers? Kershaw maybe, but it isn’t a Verlander type year. The Braves? Freeman maybe, he is, after all, second in RBIs and third in average. The Cards? Well, there are too many players there that are too much alike. Carpenter led the NL in both hits and runs plus doubles, Molina had a terrific year but was hurt and while he was out the Cards still rolled. How about Pittsburgh? McCutchen led in offensive WAR and Alvarez won part of the home run title but do you really think the writers will vote for someone who hit .233 with 186 strikeouts? Of the non-playoff teams, Goldschmidt leads in runs, RBIs, home runs (tied with Alvarez), slugging, total bases, OPS, and OPS+. But of course his team didn’t win (they finished second at 81-81). So who do you like? Well, none of them are bad players or anything, but no one just dominated the NL. My guess is that the Pirates revival will get McKutchen the MVP vote as the best player on a playoff, feel good story, team. Normally, I like to go with a player from a playoff team, but I think I’d cast my vote for Paul Goldschmidt.
Now in a couple of weeks (11 November starts the awards period) we’ll find out how I did.