A favorite of writers around the globe is to provide first half awards to players around the league. While I encourage you to ignore stats that say things like “[Player A] has the most [stat] before the All Star Break since [not 2013]” since the All Star Break has slowly become later and later, even after ninety-something games, this break is unofficially known as the “half-way point” to some (even though that was technically a couple weeks ago). As we take a break, let’s examine the best of the National League and who the MVP should be. Let it be known that when I say “MVP” I define “valuable” as “best.” That means I don’t care if the player is on a last place team, or a playoff-bound team.
To get an overall perspective based off of Fangraphs WAR (fWAR), here’s thirteen players that are standing out this year:
If you want to just do it by fWAR, then congratulations David Wright, you win! That’s not how we’re doing it, but like the rest of these numbers, they will be factors in making our decision. A closer look at some of the contenders will be had below:
Joey Votto — guess who leads in OBP again? Yes, it’s Mr. Votto, and he’s looking much better than he was in the NLDS when he couldn’t generate enough power to mash, but still got on base. His .434 OBP leads the NL by only 9 points over teammate Shin-Soo Choo, and there’s no one else with a qualified number of plate appearances that’s above .400 in the NL. His .377 BABIP is second only to Allen Craig‘s .380. Nobody walks at a better rate than Mr. Votto (next in line, Shin-Soo Choo).
Carlos Gonzalez — With 25 HR (leads the NL) and 16 SB (7th in the NL), I’m going to say he’s the closest to 20/20 right now (sorry, Carlos Gomez). CarGo also leads the NL in wOBA (a favorite stat of mine) at .414, and is one of four players (with qualified PA) that also have a wOBA over .400 (Michael Cuddyer .409, Paul Goldschmidt .405, and Votto .402). His wRC+ is also fifth in the NL.
David Wright — Or as I like to call him, the guy that’s not leading in anything except for fWAR on that chart. Third in OBP, seventh in wOBA, fourth in wRC+, one fewer HR than John Buck, ninth in SB, and the defensive metrics do enjoy watching him play third and run the bases. He’s a great player, but you can understand how the people would not put him 1st on their MVP ballots.
Carlos Gomez — Defensive range and all-out swings for the win! That speed also has him fifth in the NL in SB, and has one more dinger than David. You’ll notice that his other offensive numbers like OBP, wOBA, wRC+, BB% and K% are not as good as other players are.
Buster Posey — Same number of HR as Wright, the same number of SB as Matt Carpenter, a BB% just below 10%, and the ninth-lowest K% in the NL, probably the worst compilation of numbers if you want to pretend Posey’s a slightly better than average player. Fifth highest batting average, fourth-highest OBP (tied with Paul Goldschmidt), fifth highest wOBA, and best wRC+ in the NL at 162. Since Posey has created 62% more runs than league average and that’s best in the bigs, I think I’ve found the stat that any Giants homer should focus on when doing these awards.
Winner: Carlos Gonzalez
Runner-Up: David Wright
Next in line: Carlos Gomez, Joey Votto, and a coin flip between Molina (better defense) and Posey (better overall offense)
How much do you disagree with my ballot? Tell me what your ballot would be below!