No real shortage of candidates here, as a team which was considered by most as unlikely even to challenge .500, ended up reaching the National League Division Series. Pretty much everyone who put on a Diamondbacks’ uniform this year played a part in that (okay, maybe not Matt Koch...), and deserves a small slice of MVP pie. We thank them all for their efforts (even Matt Koch). But there can be only one MVP, and there are only a limited number of spots on the final ballot. So we have some hard decisions to be made.
For some objective background, the chart below lists the Baseball Reference and Fangraphs’ versions of WAR (bWAR and fWAR respectively) for every player on the 2017 Diamondbacks who was worth at least one win by either metric. The chart is listed in descending order of the average (aWAR).
2017 Diamondbacks by WAR
Normally, you could just take the top five by aWAR, throw them onto the final ballot, and nobody would argue much. But there are several candidates outside that top five this year, whose impact on the team might not entirely be measured in WAR. Among those: starter turned reliever Archie Bradley who, perhaps more than anyone else, epitomized the pounding, never-say-die heart of the 2017 Diamondbacks: “This is OUR house!” Then there’s J.D. Martinez, who had the greatest second half to a season by a position player in franchise history. And also Fernando Rodney, who outperformed any number of higher profile, more expensive closers last year.
There are even some who didn’t make the WAR cut at all, who could be worth thinking about. You might consider catcher Jeff Mathis a key force behind the remarkable turnaround in our pitching staff this season, for example. Or perhaps Daniel Descalso, who continues his single-handed career campaign to prove that clutch is not a myth, and even turned in a couple of scoreless - indeed, perfect! - appearances on the mound. And Gregor Blanco’s veteran presence “may have saved [the] Diamondbacks”, with his clubhouse intervention being compared to “a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.”
Yep, narrowing it down to five won’t be easy. So, please provide your nominations and recs in the comments, to help the judging committee come up with the shortlist.