by Julian Spivey
It’s been a pretty fantastic season of baseball and as the Major League Baseball (MLB) season winds down this weekend I look forward to what could be the most entertaining postseason in many years.
But, before we get down to playoff talk, we’ve got to decide which season was most worthy of being named Most Valuable Player. Here’s what my ballot’s top five would look like if I had a vote for the National League MVP …
1. Bryce Harper
The Washington Nationals have been a custerfluck this season as they’re missing the playoffs for yet another year when they were supposed to be the best team in the National League. None of that is Bryce Harper’s fault though, as he’s been the best offensive player by far in the N.L. with a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 10.21, almost two full points better than Sabermetric darling Mike Trout in the American League. Harper’s traditional numbers are .343 average (leads baseball), 41 homers (second in the NL) and 94 RBI (fourth in the NL). I don’t typically like to see the MVP go to a player on a non-playoff team, but I can’t see it going to anybody other than Harper after the season he’s had.
2. Jake Arrieta
A lot of people hate to see pitchers winning MVP awards or even being eligible for MVP awards. I’ve never understood this. The idea behind it seems to be that hitters can’t win the Cy Young, but that’s because the Cy Young is solely a pitching award … MVP is not. I think the award should either go to the best all-around player or the player who’s helped his team the most. Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta has had one of the most dominant seasons for a pitcher in a long time and he deserves MVP consideration. Arrieta leads the majors with 22 wins and sub-2.00 ERA to go along with it. The only other pitchers to accomplish that in the last 55 seasons were Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton and Dwight Gooden. Are you telling me you don’t think that deserves MVP consideration?
3. Zack Grienke
OK, now you’re really going to hate me if you think pitchers shouldn’t be eligible to win MVP awards. As great of a season as Jake Arrieta is having he may not even win the NL Cy Young. That’s because two Dodgers aces Zack Grienke and Clayton Kershaw are having seasons just as good as he is having. My guess is the two Dodgers pitchers steal enough votes away from each other that Arrieta will take the Cy Young award. Grienke is the guy leading all of baseball in the most important pitching statistic, though, Earned Run Average with a 1.68 ERA and has the best winning percentage in baseball with a record of 18-3. Now, I’m starting to second guess putting Arrieta slightly ahead of Grienke …
4. Nolan Arenado
Colorado Rockies breakout third baseman Nolan Arenado has had himself one helluva season with a National League leading 42 home runs and majors leading 130 RBI. Arenado plays on the poor Rockies team and is no doubt aided offensively by baseball’s kindest field to hitters Coors Field, but it would be wrong to leave him off of this MVP ballot with those massive production numbers. Some could argue that he only has the 33rd best WAR in baseball as a reason for leaving him off, though.
5. Paul Goldschmidt
Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been the best player on a bad team for a while now in Major League Baseball. He’s always solid at the plate and if his team was better would certainly be among the top two or three every year in the N.L. MVP debate. Goldschmidt is hitting .317 (fourth in the NL) with 31 homers (fifth in the NL) and 107 RBI (second in the league) this season. You could just as easily replace Goldschmidt with first baseman Anthony Rizzo of the playoff bound Chicago Cubs, who has similar numbers.
Let us know who you think should be MVP & why in the comments ...