With so many deserving, who gets MVP?



Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34) runs to cheering teammates at home plate after hitting a walk-off, two-run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C, Thursday, July 25, 2013. Washington defeated Pittsburgh 9-7.(Harry E. Walker/MCT)

KEVIN DEITRICK, Sports Columnist

As the postseason begins, so will the tall task of deciding who our MVPs are. There were amazing seasons from players like Josh Donaldson, Mike Trout, Edwin Encarnacion, David Price, and Dallas Keuchal to name a few in the American League. In the National League there is Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt, Yoenis Cespedes, Jake Arrieta and Zack Greinke. These are the top players in each league being considered for the MVP crown.                  

Before I make my predictions on who I think should be the MVP, let’s take a look at the top hitters and pitchers. This is going by the top players with the highest wins above replacement (WAR). I really like going by WAR, because I think it is an accurate statistic that shows how valuable a player is to his team.

Let’s start in the American League. Based on ESPN’s MLB stats: coming in 5th is Manny Machado with 7.1 WAR and a .286 batting average, 35 home runs (career high), 86 RBI. At the age of 23, Machado is really coming into his own. 4th is Lorenzo Cain 7.2 WAR. Cain has had a breakout year with a .307 batting average. Surprisingly, in 3rd is Kevin Kiermaier of the Tampa Bay Rays. He didn’t have an amazing year, batting .263, and a less than fantastic .298 on base percentage. At 7.4 WAR, it is almost certainly his phenomenal defense that has made him so valuable to his team. Being one of the best outfielders in all of baseball, he will most likely be awarded a gold glove for his efforts. In 2nd is Josh Donaldson, the favorite to win the MVP among many sports analysts. He batted .297, hit 41 dingers, hit in his teammates 123 times to go along with an 8.8 WAR. Coming in 1st with 9.4 WAR is Mike Trout. Trout has been the Angels MVP since the day he was called up. With a .299 BA, he’s had 41 home runs and 90 RBI.

No doubt, these players are incredibly valuable to their respective teams and had fantastic years. But among the top five guys only two of them, Donaldson and Cain, have made the playoffs. Donaldson has had an unbelievable season, putting his team, and his city on his shoulders.

Among the pitchers seriosly considered, mine are David Price and Dallas Keuchel. Both of their teams made the playoffs: Price, with the Blue Jays and Keuchel who pitched for the Houston Astros. For MVP this year I believe Donaldson will win.

Now that we have figured out who the MVP in the AL might be, let’s move to the NL. In 5th is Jason Heyward, who has surprised me this year with a .293 BA and a 6.5 WAR to go with his amazing defense. Not necessarily a guy who’s been seriously considered to be the MVP, he certainly has been very valuable to the St. Louis Cardinals, who have been the first 100 game winners in the league since the Phillies did the same in 2011. 4th is A.J. Pollock. With a 7.4 WAR, he has had a breakout year, batting .315 and earning his first all star vote. He hit 20 home runs and 76 RBI, which is very solid but not quite deserving of MVP considering the competition. In 3rd is Joey Votto who has had a comeback year, batting .314 a .459 on base percentage and a 7.6 WAR.

Paul Goldschmidt was on another level this season, batting .321 and 110 RBI, coming in 2nd with an 8.8 WAR. If the Diamondbacks had made the playoffs, he certainly would be considered and probably would win it. But Bryce Harper had a breakout season, finally living up to hype, hitting .330, 42 home runs, 99 RBI and a 9.9 WAR. Harper is most likely to win the MVP for his performance but has some competition in the form of Jake Arrieta, who put the Cubs on his shoulders and led them to the playoffs for the first time in a few years. Meanwhile, Harper’s team has failed to live up to the hype, missing the playoffs. Another player, Zack Greinke, has had his best year with an earned run average of 1.66, better than teammate Clayton Kershaw’s 2014 ERA, 1.77, that earned him the Cy Young Award and MVP. Although I would really love to see Greinke or Arrieta to win the MVP, I believe Harper will win it this year.

There you have it. We have crowned our MVPs: Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper. Well, not really. But we will have to see who wins it, and whoever it is, they will be truly deserving of it.