Earlier this week, Jon Heyman of SI ranked his picks for MVP in the AL and NL. Honestly, neither list made any sense whatsoever. But, since we’re of the NL focus here, and the DH rule is an atrocity, I’m discussing the NL MVP race. As a member of the BBWAA, Heyman has a vote. Not to mention, he’s one of the biggest baseball writers in the game. So, when he publishes something like this, we should all pay attention to it. Unfortunately, Heyman totally ignored Tulo, which is something we should probably expect from most of the voters. That’s a shame because he’s a very deserving candidate.
The problem with the MVP award is that its true meaning is not clearly defined. That leaves it up to the voters to use their own parameters when making a selection. Some think pitchers should be included, while others think they shouldn’t because they already have the Cy Young. And there is the perpetual debate of whether or not the MVP should play on a contender. In the end, it’s a free for all and the award is often given to an undeserving player.
Personally, I tend to interpret MVP in its most literal sense. The award should go to the most valuable player, and if that player is on a bad team, he shouldn’t be penalized. I also think it should be given to position players exclusively. The Cy Young is a prestigious distinction that isn’t available to position players. Both should be awarded equally.
The easiest way to determine value is to evaluate players based on WAR. After all, the player that contributes the most wins to their team is, by definition, the most valuable. Maybe some outside intangibles should be considered. For example, if a guy is constantly beating up his own teammates, he probably shouldn’t be the MVP even if he hits sixty homeruns. But, the selection of the MVP should be a relatively easy process. That’s why rankings like Heyman’s are disconcerting. He listed some pretty great ballplayers on there, but many are completely undeserving. However, worse than that, he totally snubbed Tulo and Joey Votto.
Despite the Rockies’ poor season, there is an argument that Troy Tulowitzki should be the National League MVP – a very good one, actually. Currently, Joey Votto leads the NL in WAR, but Matt Kemp, Tulo and Justin Upton just barely trail him. Any of those three, as well as Ryan Braun and Shane Victorino, could be the league leader by the end of the season. If I were to give the award today, I’d probably give it to Votto or Kemp, but Troy isn’t far behind.
The big knock on Troy is that he has struggled in high leverage situations this year. Certainly, that is the one part of his game that Troy can improve upon. However, his struggles late in games don’t knock his value all that much. In the end, he’s still contributing as much Upton or Kemp, guys that are considered clutch. Granted, many will staunchly disagree with that point – and I can see the other side – but I’d still take an un-clutch Tulo over Matt Kemp and Joey Votto. We are talking about a historic talent at shortstop and he’s having one of the greatest seasons the National League has ever seen at the position.
Again, I’m not saying that Troy should win, but he should definitely be considered. And, the fact that he’s being left off ballots in favor of closers and stationary outfielders is a slap in the face to one of the game’s most iconic players. He’s been awesome this year. He deserves more credit.
What do you think? Should Troy be considered for the MVP? Where would you rank him?