Handicapping the Awards – NL MVP Edition

Here we go, last of the award predictions.

The favorite

Jose Reyes – SS – New York Mets (5.5 WAR)

Considering he’s “only” played 87 games, I didn’t feel comfortable going with Reyes at first, but he’s clearly shown he’s been the best player in the NL this season, and despite playing in fewer games than other contender, he still has a nice lead in the WAR category. Reyes has an amazingly low 7% K rate and his .404 wOBA and 160 wRC+ are fantastic numbers for a shortstop. If the Mets trade him, whatever team that gets him will be adding an MVP for the stretch run.

The contenders

Andrew McCutchen – OF – Pittsburgh Pirates (4.9 WAR)

The Pirates are contending for the playoffs for the first time in nearly two decades, and leading the ship is young buc Andrew McCutchen (and that’s enough of the puns). Despite almost being snubbed for the All-Star game, McCutchen has shown he is arguably the best centerfielder in the game, or at least the NL. He has been a good fielder this season, gets on base, and hits for power. If the Pirates do win their division, he very well could emerge as the MVP.

Justin Upton – OF – (4.7 WAR)

Last season many were expecting superstar Justin Upton to break out. Unfortunately, that breakout was put on hold until this season. Upton figures to achieve a WAMVP (6.0+) and he has been a monster in leading the underdog D-Backs to a winning record thus far. Not only has he been a great fielder, but he can mash with a .392 wOBA and 144 wRC+. He may not win the award this season, but I would guess he’ll win a few in the future.

Shane Victorino – OF – (4.5 WAR)

So far the race continues to be mainly about the outfielders. Shane Victorino has been a tank this season and would probably be higher on my list if he had not missed so many games thus far. As of now, his WAR/700 is 9.6. Yeah, 9.6. Between superb defense and a 150 wRC+, Victorino has clearly been the Phillies most valuable everyday player and that could very well earn him an MVP award  if he stays strong the rest of the season.

Matt Kemp – OF – Los Angeles Dodgers (4.8 WAR)

Kemp would have been higher on my list if not for a brutal past month. But despite that month, he still has put off unworldly numbers. His line is .311/.392/.572/.419/170+. The Dodgers organization might be having a long season, but Kemp is a been a bright spot. His 2010 season was horrible, but as bad as it was, that’s how good this season has been. If he picks up his first half pace, he’ll have a legitimate chance to challenge the front runner, Jose Reyes.

The long shots

Matt Holliday – OF – St. Louis Cardinals (4.2 WAR)

Hey, another OF! Moreover, just like Victorino, Holliday has missed some time due to injury. While he has a 4.2 WAR, his WAR/700 is 9.2. For reference, Matt Kemp’s WAR/700 is 7.9. So yeah, Holliday has been awesome. I just believe the time he missed will cost him.

Ryan Braun – OF – Milwaukee Brewers (4.5 WAR)

Braun has always been a big hitter, and 2011 has been no different. His basic line of .321/.398/.583 has given him a .430 wOBA and 176 wRC+. In fact, his wRC+ leads the NL. While he may be a long shot, if Braun keeps hitting the way he has been there will be a shot.

Troy Tulowitzki – SS – Colorado Rockies (4.4 WAR)

Finally! A non-OF! Tulowitzki started off red-hot and then cooled down a lot. But he has been consistently good the past month or so and it’s showing in his numbers. Tulo has been fantastic with the glove, earning a full win with the leather alone. Team that up with a 124 wRC+ for a shortstop, and its not hard to see why he is in the running for MVP.



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