Sunday, May 1, 2016

Free-For-All: The NL MVP

The AL MVP is likely to be a landslide, but the NL race couldn't be more different.  There's a good case for ANY of the 5 candidates, and we could have one of the closest votes ever.

The case for Harvey Tracy:  Superb batting stats (in a pitchers' park) plus Gold Glove play at 1B (.999, 23 + plays).  True, 1B is not as demanding defensively as the other positions, but a + play is a + play wherever it happens.
The case against:  His raw hitting numbers aren't quite at the level of Allen and Gonzalez (12th in runs created and 15th in rc/27).

The case for Ike Allen: Led the NL in runs created (slight margin over Gonzalez) and was 2nd (to the highly park-aided Trace Clark) in rc/27.  Probably the best offensive season in raw numbers.
The case against:  merely adequate defensively in LF

The case for Yean-Carlos Gonzalez:  If home runs matter more than other hits (and they do), this may be the guy.  55 bombs and 137 RBI tops among the cnadidates.  #2 in runs created and #3 in rc/27.  
The case against:  Got significant ballpark help (see Park Effects below) vis-a-vis the other contenders.  Played mostly RF, and about the best we can say is. "He held it down".

The case for Tito Cooper:  Great defensive contribution (.985, 21 + plays, 528 chances) plus big hitting year.
The case against: last among the contenders in both rc and rc/27.

The case for Jamie Brewington:  Very good defense (.982, 11 + plays in 720 chances) and a big power year.
The case against:  sort of the same as the "against Cooper" argument - not quite as big an offensive year as Allen and Gonzalez.

Flip a coin...I don't think anyone would be disappointed.  A win for Cooper or Brewington would recognize the far greater defensive contributions of 2B's and 3B's.  Tracy might be the best combo of offense and defense this year.  Gonzalez and Allen had offensive years worthy of recognition.  I generally lean towards the 2B's, 3B's SS's and CF's IF they have offensive output in the ballpark with the sluggers.  Should Win:  Brewington   Runnerup : Tracy

Park Effects
Allen, Cooper, Brewington:  (0 0 0 1 1)
Tracy:                                   (1 0 3 -3 -3)
Gonzalez:                             (2 1 1 2 1)

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