Who Deserves the NL MVP Award
This article will look at 6 top candidates. I have singled out Giancarlo Stanston, Jonathan Lucroy, Josh Harrison, Andrew McCutchen, Clayton Kershaw, and Adam Wainwright. I have used a proprietary rating system that I developed for a baseball simulation game called 'True to Life Baseball'. This rating system rates batters in 3 offensive categories. Then it combines the offensive score with a defensive rating and a base running rating. The pitchers are simply rated in 5 separate pitching categories. The highest possible score for both batters and pitchers is 60. This enables batters and pitchers to be compared side by side for value, albeit subjectively. Though all non-concrete stats are subjective. What I mean by a non-concrete stat would be WAR, (wins above replacement) while a concrete stat would be something like batting average or OBP. (on base percentage)
Here are the ratings for each of the players mentioned from highest to lowest:
Clayton Kershaw = 59
Giancarlo Stanton = 52
Adam Wainwright = 52
Josh Harrison = 48
Andrew McCutchen = 48
Jonathan Lucroy = 46
What to make of this? Well if you take the ratings at face value and assume they are reasonable it still doesn't firmly establish who deserves the MVP. There are other considerations besides performance that come into play. These ratings do not take into account the importance of the position a player plays. It is generally agreed that the catcher, shortstop, and center fielder anchor a teams defense. So perhaps McCutchen and Lucroy should get bonus points here. While Lucroy comes in slightly lower in the ratings, mainly from offensive numbers not at the level of Stanton, the kind of numbers Lucroy puts up from the catcher position is astounding. Getting that kind of production from ones catcher is a huge bonus to a team. I mean how many catchers routinely bat in the 2-4 position in the batting order?
As far as a pitcher getting the MVP, in spite of Kershaw's otherworldly performance, I personally feel that the leagues Cy Young award is the equivalent to the MVP. I'm against a pitcher getting both the Cy Young and MVP as it denies another player recognition for his achievements. So while Kershaw and Wainwright are worthy of being in the MVP discussion, I'm crossing them off the list for the reason just stated.
Andrew McCutchen is kind of a victim of his own success. His numbers compare well to the top candidates even though its a slightly off year by his own standards. I have not heard his name mentioned much in the MVP dialog. Writers probably figure that he just won the award so let someone else have a chance, and again his numbers are down slightly from last year.
Josh Harrison is having a breakout year and may get points for coming out of nowhere. No doubt the fact that he has put up these offensive numbers while playing 5 different positions should not be overlooked. JHay has played 3B, LF, RF, 2B, and SS as listed from most played to least played.
I think politics always comes into play with these awards. Meaning that all things being equal, the further a candidates team advances into the playoffs, the more likely that player wins the award. That being said, none of the teams these candidates are on are shoe ins for making the playoffs. The Dodgers and Cardinals appear to be in the best position at the time I write this.
Who would I vote for if given the chance? Josh Harrison. There is no way the Pirates would even be sniffing a playoff spot without the production of JHay from a utility role throughout the year.Subscribe in a reader