The Different Types of Baseball MVPs- And Who Fits Each Mold This Year
Not all MVPs in baseball are created equal- each one fits a different mold, catering to a specific story line driven by team performance or past successes and failures. So what are these kinds of MVPs, and which players from this season fit those archetypes?
The Best Player on the Best Team
Justin Turner — .321/.414/.531, 21 HR’s, 70 RBI’s, 5.5 WAR
Despite their struggles in the last month, the Dodgers are still the best team in the National League and Turner is their most productive offensive player. Turner has been the linchpin of the Dodgers this season, both emotionally and on the field. The offense largely goes as Turner goes, and it is no coincidence that Los Angeles’ massive success this year has come during his best season.
Jose Ramirez — .317/.370/.583, 29 HR’s, 81 RBI’s, 6.5 WAR
No disrespect to Francisco Lindor, who is the more household name, but Ramirez has actually been the best player on a team that rode a record setting 22-game win streak en route to becoming the American League favorite. The casual fan should become more familiar with Ramirez as the postseason goes on.
The Best Player on a Surprise Team
Paul Goldschmidt — .305/.411.576, 36 HR’s, 120 RBI’s, 6.1 WAR
Although they may be a year late, the Arizona Diamondbacks are a legitimate World Series threat. And while Goldschmidt has been one of the best players in baseball for a long time, he has flown under the radar due to a lack of playoff appearances. That will all change this year. It’s hard to deny the credentials of Goldschmidt’s MVP case as the first baseman might finally win the award come season’s end.
Miguel Sano — .267/.356/.514, 28 HR’s, 77 RBI’s, 2.5 WAR
Nobody expected in the Twins to reach the postseason. But here they are, and even though he’s only played in 111 games to this point, Sano will receive MVP votes because he is the best player on a surprisingly successful team. Sano is a guy to lookout for as a true MVP candidate in the coming years.
The Breakout Star
Cody Bellinger — .270/356/.592, 39 HR’s, 95 RBI’s, 4.4 WAR
Bellinger, deservedly so, will run away with the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Had he not spent time on the DL, he likely would have garnered serious MVP consideration as well. He has been integral to LA’s success, especially in lieu of Adrian Gonzalez’s injury early in the year. Bellinger is an athletic left hander that can play multiple positions and hits with unheralded power. He should thrive on the playoff stage.
Aaron Judge — .283/.419/.621, 50 HR’s, 109 RBI’s, 7.7 WAR
Judge needs no introduction. Over the totality of the Major League season, he has likely been its best player. Yes- he’s had his peaks and valleys, but the final numbers that Judge will leave us with are truly awe inspiring. We haven’t seen these kinds of power numbers since Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds were ruling baseball, and Judge has done it without any chemical assistance. He is simply a freak of nature that is now the front runner for AL MVP and will go down in history as one of the greatest power hitters since the turn of the century.
The Underrated Star
Anthony Rendon — .300/.401/.532, 24 HR’s, 96 RBI’s, 5.9 WAR
Because Rendon plays on a team with guys like Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer, people fail to realize how good the guy actually is. Rendon is not a throw-in MVP candidate, he is truly worthy of consideration this season. With Harper’s knee injury in mind, Rendon has been the Nationals’ most consistent offensive player throughout the season. If the Nationals hope to advance to the World Series, Rendon must put up similar statistics to his impressive regular season campaign.
Jose Altuve — .348/.414/.554, 24 HR’s, 81 RBI’s, 8.2 WAR
Yes, Jose Altuve gets plenty of recognition. But he is still underrated in that he is too often taken as a novelty because of his height. Altuve is the best pure hitter in baseball, hands down. He hits for average, gets on base all the time, and even has power from a premium position. Altuve, not Carlos Correa, is Houston’s best player and is the primary reason the Astros are where they are right now. Perhaps an MVP award could help contribute to Altuve’s credibility.
The Guy Who’s Doing Something That Hasn’t Been Done in a While
Giancarlo Stanton — .278/.375/.628, 57 HR’s, 126 RBI’s, 7.3 WAR
It’s going to take a late push, but Stanton could still become the first player age 27 or younger to hit 60 home runs in a single season since Roger Maris did so in 1961. That is no small feat. If Stanton is able to pull it off, it would be similar to how Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown, and in turn the MVP, in 2012 despite the fact that Mike Trout may have actually had a better season. It’s unfortunate that Stanton’s season is being wasted on a mediocre team, but it is still impossible to ignore the incredible power numbers that he has produced.