2017 Fantasy Baseball: NL MVP Race
As we did for the American League, we will handicap the National League MVP race in an organized fashion. Some people look at the best player regardless of how the team does while others look at the best player on a winning team. We will try to split the difference by looking at four tangible categories and intangibles. We have covered total points with every position player in the game in previous articles. We will look at bWAR, fWAR, and total runs (a Bill James statistic).
Unlike the American League, the National League is a mix of players on playoff teams and players on losing teams. There were also a few players that were late cuts out of the top five. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rendon qualified for the top five in some of the tangible categories, but were cut to get the list down to the top five.
Nolan Arenado— Colorado Rockies
Total Points: 514 (4th)
bWAR: 6.8 (3rd)
fWAR: 5.4 (5th)
Total Runs: 162 (2nd)
He has been the best defensive third basemen in baseball the last several seasons. If you look at raw data then he is right there as one of the best all-around players in the game. When you put his numbers through the Coors Field decoder ring then he takes a step backward. The Rockies were a bit of a shock and their position players have been the ones to get them there.
Charlie Blackmon— Colorado Rockies
Total Points: 557 (2nd)
bWAR: 5.8 (5th)
fWAR: 6.4 (3rd)
Total Runs: 167 (1st)
Like Arenado, Blackmon moves up when you consider only the raw numbers. He is number one in baseball in total runs and he is second to Joey Votto in all of baseball in total points. Unlike Arenado, he doesn’t have strong fielding numbers. That probably ends up dropping him down as compared to his teammate in this race.
Paul Goldschmidt— Arizona Diamondbacks
Total Points: 508 (5th)
bWAR: 6.0 (4th)
fWAR: 5.5 (4th)
Total Runs: 145 (5th)
It is surprising that he is this low, but there is nothing Goldschmidt can’t do on a baseball field. He just isn’t quite as good as others in any individual category. Still, the Dbacks have been one of the best stories in baseball and he is the best player on the Dbacks.
Giancarlo Stanton— Miami Marlins
Total Points: 541 (3rd)
bWAR: 7.5 (1st)
fWAR: 6.9 (1st)
Total Runs: 155 (3rd)
Milestones shouldn’t be important, but we all know they are. If Stanton reaches 60 home runs (he has 59 as of this writing) then that could be the impetus the voters need to vote for him. Based on WAR you could claim he is the best player in the league. He may not be there defensively, but he isn’t a bad defensive player. The only downside is that he is playing on a bad team. That isn’t his fault.
Joey Votto— Cincinnati Reds
Total Points: 569 (1st)
bWAR: 7.4 (2nd)
fWAR: 6.5 (2nd)
Total Runs: 148 (4th)
The offensive numbers are cartoonish in nature. They called Kevin Youkilis the greek god of walks, but Votto trumps anything he ever did. You could claim he is a better offensive player than Stanton even though Stanton has the awesome power numbers. Unfortunately, the Reds are even worse than the Marlins. Plus, he is a mediocre defender at the least important defensive position on the diamond.
The best players in the league play on the worst teams in the league. However, I’ve been a big proponent of the idea that the best player should get the award. It’s hard to deny the numbers that Stanton has put up, but I’ve always felt that Votto is the best player in the league offensively. It’s hard to see them going away from Stanton though.