Well, last night’s game wasn’t quite as arousing as the first play-in Wild Card game, but it certainly ended sooner. While Madison Bumgarner certainly pitched well, it’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 aren’t cute. Let’s move to Player of the Game to National League Player of the Year, because it’s another thing that Madison Bumgarner didn’t have a shot in. That’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 don’t provide a ton. He’s an elite defensive catcher to boot, but it’s likely that his weak second half (at least relative to his first half), as well as the Brewers’ severe fade cost him some votes.

Rebounding from a “down” 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 Emeril’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. It’s hard to imagine looking at either McCutchen’s or Stanton’s season and thinking that represents a weak field offensively, but here we are. It’s not bad that he’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 Kershaw’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 he’s easily behind Puig and Kemp in value in terms of Dodgers hitters. Here’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

Rank Player Points
1 Clayton Kershaw 2820
2 Andrew McCutchen 2259
3 Giancarlo Stanton 2016
4 Jonathan Lucroy 1304
5 Anthony Rendon 950
6 Buster Posey 924
7 Yasiel Puig 391
8 Carlos Gomez 349
9 Anthony Rizzo 331
10 Adam Wainwright 288
11 Johnny Cueto 265
12 Adrian Gonzalez 169
13 Troy Tulowitzki 166
14 Josh Harrison 163
15 Russell Martin 159
16 Hunter Pence 110
17 Jason Heyward 76
18 Paul Goldschmidt 62
19 Madison Bumgarner 57
20 Todd Frazier 51

NL Pitcher of the Year

Rank Player
1 Clayton Kershaw
2 Adam Wainwright
3 Johnny Cueto

NL Rookie of the Year

Rank Player
1 Jacob deGrom
2 Billy Hamilton

NL Manager of the Year

Rank Manager
1 Clint Hurdle

AL Player of the Year

Rank Player
1 Mike Trout
2 Michael Brantley
3 Corey Kluber

AL Pitcher of the Year

Rank Player
1 Corey Kluber
2 Felix Hernandez
3 Chris Sale

AL Rookie of the Year

Rank Player
1 Jose Abreu
2 Masahiro Tanaka
3 Dellin Betances

AL Manager of the Year

Rank Manager
1 Buck Showalter


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When does a pitcher become an MVP and not "just" a Cy Young? My theory is based on how the scouts at one point would characterize a pitching prospect: the top mark was that he was a potential +10, meaning ten more wins than losses, that pitchers seldom win 20 games but an 18-8 or 16-6 pitcher is about as good as it gets.
So, what if the pitcher approaches or passes +20 as Kershaw almost did, Verlander did in his MVP year, Don Newcombe with his 27-7 in 1956 is a case in point, Denny McClain's ridiculous 31-4 in 1968, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez and others getting close to that big a margin.
Is any regular player, Bonds or otherwise, worth 20 extra wins over a league average player, or even replacement level?
Wins aren't everything as when Nolan Ryan led the league in ERA with a solidly sub-.500 season, but they are the total that matters at the end of the season.
This also shows the spread between Kershaw and Wainwright. Granted wins are partly team-dependent but I believe we are seeing the greatest lefthander since Sandy Koufax. Even with the anemic hitting Dodgers of the 1960's (exc. Tommy Davis 1962) Koufax won games where the Dodgers only scored one run at a rate 4 times greater than the rest of the league.
You're mixing pitcher wins and Wins Above Replacement, and that's a dangerous cocktail. They're decidedly different things and can't be treated as comparable. Kershaw was not 20 wins above replacement, despite his record.