Well, last nightâ€™s game wasnâ€™t quite as arousing as the first
play-in Wild Card game, but it certainly ended sooner. While Madison Bumgarner certainly pitched well, itâ€™s hard to imagine that anyone could edge out the Player of the Game: That kid behind home who was absurdly adorable.
Bumgarner never had a shot. Eliminated because of snotrockets. Snotrockets arenâ€™t cute. Letâ€™s move to Player of the Game to National League Player of the Year, because itâ€™s another thing that Madison Bumgarner didnâ€™t have a shot in. Thatâ€™s nothing against him of course, but this is mostly a four-horse race between Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton, Clayton Kershaw, and Jonathan Lucroy.
Lucroy put up a marvelous offensive season, in a time when offense is on the decline, and catchers especially donâ€™t provide a ton. Heâ€™s an elite defensive catcher to boot, but itâ€™s likely that his weak second half (at least relative to his first half), as well as the Brewersâ€™ severe fade cost him some votes.
Rebounding from a â€œdownâ€ 845 OPS, Stanton turned in a season as beautiful as he is, stitches and all. His 37 home runs led the National League, as did his .555 slugging percentage.
The reigning NL MVP took a note out of Emerilâ€™s playbook and kicked things up a notch, leading the league in on-base percentage and OPS (952). He somehow managed to trail Stanton by only 12 points in slugging despite trailing him by 12 home runs, as well. His defensive numbers are down a bit, which are dragging is whatever-metric-you-use above replacement numbers down, and that could be real or it could be a dip thanks to overall noise within the defensive metrics. It could also be the Pirates using funky positioning.
The reigning NL Cy Young award winner has entered his name in the MVP race thanks to a perceived weak field. Itâ€™s hard to imagine looking at either McCutchenâ€™s or Stantonâ€™s season and thinking that represents a weak field offensively, but here we are. Itâ€™s not bad that heâ€™s in the discussion either, as pitchers affect nearly as many (if not as many) plate appearances as an everyday player over the course of a season.
As it currently stands, Kershaw holds a substantial lead on McCuchen for the honor, as the gap between first and second place is bigger than the gap between second and sixth place. Stanton has appeared on the most ballots out of anyone (241), but Kershawâ€™s lead is built on the strength of first place votes, as he has more than 100 more than the second-place McCutchen. Eight players received first place votes, including the four players above, Anthony Rendon, Buster Posey, Josh Harrison, and Hunter Pence.
Some of the more random votes go to Scooter Gennett (on three separate, and distinct ballots), Scott Van Slyke (two ballots), and Jason Hammel (one ballot). Adrian Gonzalez checking in at 12th in the voting suggests RBI still matter a great deal to people, as heâ€™s easily behind Puig and Kemp in value in terms of Dodgers hitters. Hereâ€™s how the top 20 shake out, with point totals added.
Reminder that these results are not static and you can affect them/my sanity by voting here.
NL Player of the Year
NL Pitcher of the Year
NL Rookie of the Year
NL Manager of the Year
AL Player of the Year
AL Pitcher of the Year
AL Rookie of the Year
AL Manager of the Year