The Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBBA) was founded in 2009 with the purpose of encouraging collaboration and communication among bloggers from across baseball. The Alliance also votes on various awards at different times in the year, including end of season awards.
A pitcher hasn’t won the National League MVP award since 1968 when Bob Gibson won it during the “Year of the Pitcher.” Bob Gibson’s numbers that year are so eye-popping they are almost hard to believe.
ERA: 1.12 (Live Ball Era Record)
BA Against: .184
HRs: 11 (11!)
So, when we discuss MVP in the National League this year, and more specifically, Clayton Kershaw, it is with those numbers and that history in mind. Needless to say, Kershaw’s numbers don’t match those of Gibson. For comparison sake, here’s Kershaw’s numbers:
BA Against: .196
HRs: 9 (9!)
These are cherry-picked stats, admittedly, but the comparisons to Bob Gibson’s video game-like 1968 (IP notwithstanding, it was a different time) are striking. And frankly, pick any stat you want (regular season of course), it won’t matter. The numbers are eye-popping.
The argument that is always made against pitchers winning the MVP are that they have their own award and that they only play every 5th day. Now, since every position has their own award I don’t much buy into that argument. Hitters, fielders, etc. all have their own award. That’s not good enough of a reason. The second argument is more compelling, granted. However, I’d counter with this. There is arguably no position more important on a field on any given day than the starting pitcher. And while I haven’t done the math, a starting pitcher is involved in 100% of the plays during a game while they’re pitching. Only the catcher can say that as well. So, 100% of the plays probably balances out not playing every 4 days.
With all that being said, onto the votes! Per BBBA rules, 10 picks have to be made. Based on the San Diego Chapter ballots, here’s the list:
1) Clayton Kershaw
2) Andrew McCutchen (Highest WAR among NL position players)
3) Giancarlo Stanton (losing the last month of the season likely cost him this award)
4) Jonathon Lucroy
5) Anthony Rendon
6) Buster Posey
7) Anthony Rizzo (Ugh…)
8) Jhonny Peralta
9) Carlos Gomez
10) Josh Harrison
Honorable Mention: Alexi Amarista (Kidding! Or am I…)