[Editor's Note: I posted this initially on October 29th, 2013, and didn't get a SINGLE comment. Maybe it got lost in the World Series hoopla; maybe all the readers of this blog were taking a post-season Nats break. I'm reposting this and changing all the cases to past tense in the wake of 11/14/13's MVP voting. I'd like to get some discussion here; if you are an ardent Mike Trout supporter and use WAR as part of your argument, i'd like to hear your thoughts on this post].
The title of this post says it all. It is a simple question.
Brewers break-out star Carlos Gomez led the NL in bWAR in 2013. Gomez played for a non-playoff team. He augmented his 24-homer/.506 slugging bat with speed on the basepaths (40 SBs) and plus defense in center (he was just named to Bill James Fielding Bible Team as the best defensive Center Fielder in the game and won a Gold Glove). Yet Gomez lost out on the MVP award, which went to Andrew McCutchen, a player who trailed him in the bWAR standings but who played for a playoff team.
Sounds an awful lot like the Mike Trout/Miguel Cabrera comparison, doesn’t it?
Gomez didn’t just lose out; he wasn’t even named a FINALIST for the NL MVP, meaning he wasn’t even in the top 3 candidates in the NL. In fact, Gomez came in NINTH! He wasn’t even close to winning despite leading the league in one version of WAR.
Why did nobody talk about Carlos Gomez for the NL MVP? In fact, in the litany of post-season award prediction pieces I read, he was never really even mentioned. You heard about McCutchen, Clayton Kershaw and Paul Goldschmidt as the top 3 NL candidates, then you heard about guys from the other playoff teams (Yadier Molina or Matt Carpenter from St. Louis, Joey Votto from Cincinnati, or Freddie Freeman from Atlanta). Where’s Gomez on this list?
If you are a critic of the Miguel Cabrera pick and maintain that Mike Trout deserves the MVP in the AL and use “WAR” as a basis for your argument … then are you similarly arguing that Gomez should have won in the NL MVP right now?
I think the entire Trout-Cabrera argument is tired; I’m tired of hearing it and I’m sure people are tired of talking about it. The critics of those who support Cabrera for MVP like to talk about the “narrative” of the MVP, how the award criteria definition on the ballots seems to imply that the winner “should” come from a playoff team. But I’m of the opinion that those who blindly live by the WAR stat and support Trout but do NOT similarly demand support of Gomez are falling victim to their own “narrative” as well. And that narrative is continued obstinance to a cause without looking up to see what else fits their world-view.
Ask yourself; if you think Trout is the AL MVP (this year or last year) … then what’s your argument that Gomez is NOT the NL MVP this year? Where’s all the narrative-driven arguments about how “you shouldn’t lose the MVP because your teammates were bad” or that “the MVP doesn’t have to come from a playoff team.” Because if you make those arguments in favor of Trout and not in favor of Gomez, then you’re a “narrative hypocrite” just like someone who says the reverse and supports Cabrera and McCutchen BECAUSE they played on playoff teams.