Looking at the players who should be in the MVP conversation who have never been in the MVP conversation.
A thing I do is steal from my betters. Two of my betters, Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller, spent some time a few months ago on Effectively Wild discussing the idea of unlikely MVPs. Now that we're halfway through the season, let's pick that up and bring in a quasi-formal definition that will get us a pool of interesting players to look at. What follows are the top five players by WARP in each league who have never received an MVP vote and (here's where some squish comes in) who are not very recently megaprospects. (The latter may be displeasing to some, especially Orioles fans, but if the point is "genuine surprise," then it would be weird to include Manny Machado, who was, after all, a no. 3 overall pick—that's the spot of Paul Molitor and Robin Yount and Matt Williams and Lonnie Smith. There's no pick from which you are "supposed" to get an MVP, but there are picks from which you are less surprised when you wind up with one.)
Alternating by league, then, from "bottom" to top:
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The majority of Michael’s VP list turns over this week, but he’s got plenty of replacements lined up, including three who picked up their first home run of the year last week.
Statistically speaking, a single home run (like a single hit) is fairly meaningless. It’s the ultimate small sample, showing how one batter did against one pitcher (and one pitch) under one specific set of conditions. But psychologically speaking, when it’s the first home run of the season, it can mean so much more. The hitter feels confident in his swing or relieved at having gotten his first longball of the season out of the way, and it could mean a turnaround is coming. Look at Albert Pujols: in 27 plate appearances since his first jack of the season, he’s picked up 5 RBI—as many as he picked up in the 114 plate appearances before he finally went yard.
Looking for a replacement for your injured third baseman? Michael looks at plenty of hot-corner options this week, especially in Playing Pepper.
As Jason Collette and Paul Sporer covered in BP’s Towers of Power Fantasy Hour podcast this week, four front-line third-base qualifiers—Evan Longoria, Mat Gamel, Kevin Youkilis, and Pablo Sandoval—hit the DL this past week, leaving fantasy owners scrambling at an already-thin position. While many of the replacement players are marginal, sometimes a warm body is all you need to keep your fantasy squad afloat until more help arrives via an early-season callup. I’ll examine a few of those hot corner replacement options in this week’s column.
The tater trots for September 27: Prince Fielder's trio of taters, Ryan Roberts' walkoff, Rickie Weeks' massive bomb, Conor Gillaspie's "inside the parker", and many more.
Tuesday was the second-to-last day of the season and, not only were we overflowing with things to talk about around the league (Rays/Sox, Cards/Braves, etc.), we were also overflowing with things to talk about here at the Tater Trot Tracker. Of course, 44 home runs in one night will do that, game #16 or game #161.
Delivering up the second batch of the league's best, Bryan gives you names you'll remember when the next draft rolls around.
The tone for every June draft is set the previous summer, when showcase leagues pit the nation's best high school players against each other on the same field, and the college players show scouts their abilities while playing every day with wooden bats. Next spring will be the final opportunity for players to show where their skills have progressed to, but for many, this summer has already determined their draft position. No summer league offers more high-end talent than the Cape Cod League, and while the league didn't offer as many blue-chip prospects as previous years, the league's managers universally lauded its depth.