This is as big a laugher as the Cub’s runaway division title.
While the country obsessesed on the dubious value of polling the political candidates 38 days away (keep in mind Reagan was down 8 points at this juncture in 1980 and you know what happened there) there was always one ‘lock’ out there.
It’s Kris Bryant as the 2016 NL MVP.
He hit .293 with 39 home runs and 103 RBI’s. His OBP was .387, and his OPS is .903. .. Excellent, but not historic numbers. It’s when you dive a little deeper into his contributions that his overall value soars.
He had only 152 strikeouts. That’s down from 199, as is his homer total was up from 26. He had 74 walks. More important he has scored 120 runs, a tribute to his base-running. He may only have 8 stolen bases, but he is considered the best base runner on the team by none other than manager Joe Maddon.
No small compliment when you have Jason Heyward and Dexter Fowler around.
Where Bryant really shines is his versatility. He has played the majority of his games- 105- at third, But he’s also played 68 games in the outfield, with 59 in left, 14 in right and even a game in center. Then add 9 games at first.
Not done yet. One game at DH, and even an inning at short. All three ‘flavors’ of WAR has him at 0.9 wins over his nearest NL competitor. WARP (wins above replacement player) has him as the best player in BOTH leagues, taking on AL star Mike Trout directly. And by the way, he had himself a pretty good All Star game, taking White Sox Ace Chris Sale deep into the San Diego sunset on the first pitch he saw.
He did have fellow All Stars, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado and Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy and nipping at his heels. Arenado, a brilliant fielder and excellent hitter has the Colorado curse – playing in the mile high air at Coors Field – against him.
Still a quality player on the road. But his average drops from .312 to .274.
When you look at every aspect of the game it’s difficult to NOT see Bryant as a runaway MVP pick; he should get the #1 vote from every sportswriter. He won’t, of course because the Washington writers will vote for Murphy who hit a lofty .347. And he is clutch without doubt. But he’s also a journeyman infielder who’s mediocre glove is hidden at second mostly; he’s .981 there and is range challenged.
The writers will vote on the last day of the season. No playoff performance is ever considered; this is a regular season award. But with 101 wins (and counting) under their belt and Bryant being in the middle of all 152 games he’s appeared in at 5 different positions – this is a no-brainer.
2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant is in the cards, and when one considers that he was rookie of the year last season the sky is literally the limit for the Cub star…