We come to the final category of the 2019 SnakePit Awards, that of Most Valuable Player. The tradition in previous seasons has been to give an automatic nomination to the MVP award, to the winners of the Pitcher, Rookie and Unsung Hero categories. For this year, that would mean Patrick Corbin, Yoshihisa Hirano and Clay Buchholz. It’s a very pitcher-heavy - indeed, pitcher exclusive - set of players. To counter that, we could simply give the two wild-card spots to the best position players. Fortunately, bWAR and fWAR are in agreement as to who that pair would be, both saying that Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta were the team leaders.
However, taking that approach would leave Zack Greinke on the outside. Given he had a higher bWAR than everyone bar Goldschmidt and Corbin, and more fWAR than Hirano or Buchholz, you could make the case that is a little unfair. But if you’re going to include Greinke, which of the existing candidates gets knocked off the ballot? Buchholz has the edge over Hirano by WAR, but was only present for half the season. Or we could go full-on fundamentalist sabermetrician, and simply nominate the top five by WAR. But should that be by fWAR (Goldy, Corbin, Peralta, Greinke and Zack Godley) or bWAR (Goldschmidt, Corbin, Greinke, Peralta and Buchholz)?
This is one of the situations where the top of the ballot is fairly easy: it’s picking the back end which is more problematic. Yes, it probably doesn’t “matter”, in the sense that the fourth and fifth names on the ballots are unlikely to end up winning. However, for this award in particular, it’s an honor simply to be nominated. We should try to make sure that honor goes to the five who most deserve it. Let the discussion begin, and I’ll come to a final decision on Wednesday, when we run the poll!