Our beloved site namesake Tommy Lasorda isn’t always right about everything. Nor do we agree with him about everything. A couple of days ago Tommy made a comment about how he does not believe that position players should win an MVP award. Therefore he does not believe Clayton Kershaw should win MVP. Oh Tommy, we love you, but you are so wrong.
On Wednesday Clayton Kershaw was named the 2014 NL Cy Young award winner, taking home his third career and second consecutive Cy Young. Kershaw won it in unanimous fashion earning all 30 first place votes. At 3 PM this afternoon we will find out if Kershaw will win the MVP, and it’s a hot debate.
Kershaw is trying to do something that hasn’t been done in the National League since 1968, when Bob Gibson did it. That is winning the Cy Young and MVP in the same season. Recently we just saw Detroit ace Justin Verlander take home both awards in the American League in 2011. Sandy Koufax did it one year. It is possible.
Photo by Stacie!
The argument against Kershaw is that a pitcher should not win the MVP because they only pitch every five days while a position player plays every day. This is a valid argument. But I think if a pitcher has an incredibly dominating historic season, that should override that argument. There are no rules that say that a pitcher can’t win it if they have an extra incredible season. Kershaw had that type of season in 2014.
People will point out that the pitchers already have an award (The Cy Young), and that this is an award for position players. To that I say bullocks. (Yes I’m using British slang here to get my point across.)
Again there is no rule that states that a position player can’t take home the award. Especially considering that there was no clear dominant offensive position players in the National League this year. Kershaw’s opponents, the other two finalists have had good seasons, but I wouldn’t say they were dominating.
Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton had a great year. The voltron swinging outfielder hit .288 with a NL leading 37 home runs and 105 Runs batted in. Stanton posted a .550 slugging percentage, and a .950 OPS in 145 games. His impressive .395 OBP goes along side his 94 walks. No question Stanton will get his fair share of votes. But is his season more valuable then Kershaw’s historic season?
Stanton led the league in home runs, slugging, and total bases. But Kershaw led the league in wins, ERA, complete games, batting average against, WHIP, FIP, and strikeouts per nine rate. He won the Cy Young, and threw a no-hitter.
The same could be said about the third finalist Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates. The steel town center fielder batted .314 with 25 home runs, 83 runs batted in, and 18 stolen bases in 146 games. McCutchen led the league with a .410 OBP, and posted a League leading .952 OPS with 84 walks.
Sep 28, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers Tommy Lasorda presents the Roy Campanella award to pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) before the game against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Both had great seasons, but they weren’t historically dominant as Kershaw’s was. But if you wanted to compare WAR, Kershaw’s is higher than both, according to Fangraphs. Kershaw’s WAR is listed as 7.2. McCutchen’s WAR is 6.8, while Stanton posted a 6.1 WAR.
The proof is in the pudding as they say. If the BBWAA wants to give the MVP to McCutchen or Stanton because they honestly believe that one of those guys had a better season than Kershaw, I can live with that. But if Kershaw gets cheated out of the MVP because of some archaic dogmatic belief that only position players should win the award, despite no rules to the contrary, then I have a problem with that.
The award should go to the player of pitcher who had the best season overall. That is what the MVP award is really about. Not about value to a playoff club, or excluding pitchers. The MVP award is an individual award, not a team based award. The player or pitcher with the best overall season wins. Period.
The BBWAA will name the winner Thursday afternoon at 3:00 PM pacific time. You can watch the awards show on MLB Network, and or MLB.tv. Hopefully they do the right thing and pick the player (or pitcher) that deserves to win it the most based on their season long performances.
Don’t be lame BBWAA! You know what you should do.