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  • Ethan Semendinger

My IBWAA Ballot: NL MVP

It's awards week! Today we continue with the NL MVP and the BBWAA/IBWAA nominees!


As is standard with the IBWAA, each voter was allowed a Top-10 vote for the MVP. The 1st place player receives 14 points, 2nd place gets 9 points, 3rd place gets 8 points, 4th place gets 7 points, yadda yadda yadda, down to 1 point for 10th place.

 

5th Place: Francisco Lindor (New York Mets)

Statistics: 161 Games, .270/.339/.449/.788 (125 OPS+), 170 Hits, 26 Home Runs, 107 RBI's, 59 BB's, 133 K's, +3.3 BsR, +25.4 Off, 1378.2 Innings, -3 DRS, +15.9 Def, +5.4 bWAR/+6.8 fWAR

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After a down offensive year in 2020 with the then-Indians and then another subpar offensive season in 2021 with the New York Mets, people were getting worried that the 10 Year/$341 Million extension the Mets gave to Lindor (from 2022 through 2031) was a mistake. And then, Lindor went to work and showed them they were wrong. It's hard to take stock in what happened during the 2020 season. It was a small sample size and to prove it, remember that Luke Voit led the AL in Home Runs. It is also hard to expect a guy to perfectly transition into New York (and the National League) all at once. He needed some time, he got it, and now he's back to being what people expected. He's great.


To speak only on 2022, Lindor was a plus defender, a plus baserunner, and a plus bat. To get 25+ home runs and a .270 average from a shortstop is getting top-of-the-line production. Especially when that comes with 161 games played and 1,300 innings and 16 stolen bases. He's a 5 tool player (as if we didn't know that) and he had another great season.

 

4th Place: Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Statistics: 142 Games, .269/.340/.533/.873 (136 OPS+), 154 Hits, 35 Home Runs, 82 RBI's, 55 BB's, 104 K's, +4.3 BsR, +37.2 Off, 1154.1 Innings, +15 DRS, +4.1 Def, +6.4 bWAR/+6.6 fWAR

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Now 4 years removed from his MVP season in 2018 and with the 1.000 OPS mark alluding him since, that Mookie Betts is not likely going to be able to live up to that level of hype again. Even with that though, his 2018 would've been an outlier season for almost anybody in the MLB. (This should also serve as a cautionary tale for teams looking to sign Aaron Judge.)


In 2022 however, and with 10 years remaining on a very lucrative contract extension, Betts has continued to perform well in Los Angeles. In an down season offensively around the league, Betts put up a career-best 35 home runs alongside an NL-leading 117 runs scored. He's continued to flash great defense (and won another gold glove) and is a plus runner, so he loses no points there as well. All around, another solid season for Betts. It'll be interesting to see if he is really willing to move to second base in his future.

 

3rd Place: Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis Cardinals)

Statistics: 151 Games, .317/.404/.578/.981 (180 OPS+), 178 Hits, 35 Home Runs, 115 RBI's, 79 BB's, 141 K's, +3.0 BsR, +61.6 Off, 1103.2 Innings, +2 DRS, -15.8 Def, +7.8 bWAR/+7.1 fWAR

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Going into the last month of the season, Paul Goldschmidt seemed to be well on his way to earning a Triple Crown...and then the wheels fell off and he was just unable to get any of the notable 3 statistics where they needed to be. It was amazing to root for, but he just fell short.


He also just falls short of winning the NL MVP for me too. A solid all-around player with a good glove, solid running ability (especially for a first baseman), and obviously a top of the game bat, he's had one of the hidden great careers so far of the 2010's and early 2020's. Unfortunately, his 8 years in Arizona play against his notoriety but seeing what he has done since arriving in St. Louis in 2019 (his last 3 seasons having an OPS+ above 140), he's a yearly MVP vote getter- including 3 Top-3 finishes- but the main prize still alludes him.

 

2nd Place: Manny Machado (San Diego Padres)

Statistics: 150 Games, .298/.366/.531/.898 (159 OPS+), 172 Hits, 32 Home Runs, 102 RBI's, 63 BB's, 133 K's, +3.0 BsR, +41.9 Off, 1143.0 Innings, -3 DRS, +6.9 Def, +6.8 bWAR/+7.4 fWAR

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Slowly inching his way to an MVP award after already collecting a 3rd, 4th, and 5th place finish, Manny Machado gets one step closer (though not yet to the goal) this year. And, what is there not to say about Machado? He's one of the flashiest players in the MLB and while he was a prime candidate for fans of teams to want to avoid during his free agency in 2018/2019, he's really become a full team player and leader (as seen by various videos of him interacting with players and fans). It's really been a great transition to watch since his days in Baltimore.


That being said, Machado had what was likely his best career season this year in 2022. He had his 2nd highest AVG and OBP, 4th highest SLG, 3rd highest OPS, and highest OPS+. He also combined this with top-tier defense (though not a gold glove) and solid baserunning.

 

1st Place: Nolan Arenado (St. Louis Cardinals)

Statistics: 148 Games, .293/.358/.533/.891 (154 OPS+), 163 Hits, 30 Home Runs, 103 RBI's, 52 BB's, 72 K's, -1.6 BsR, +35.3 Off, 1118.2 Innings, +19 DRS, +13.5 Def, +7.9 bWAR/+7.3 fWAR

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And we have our (my) National League MVP. It may be a close competition this year, but truthfully I don't see that the same way. Arenado had extremely close numbers to Manny Machado on offense this season while passing the 30 home run, 100 RBI, and 162 hit marks. Arenado also did all this while striking out less than 75 times (rare in todays game) and walking over 50 times to match that. Ultimately, this comes to a difference in OPS of just .007 between Machado and Arenado.


And, Arenado was the far better defender. Already the winner of his 10th straight gold glove (one for every season he's been in the MLB), he's also a strong contender to win his 6th platinum glove this season. There is no better defender in the game today, he had an insane +19 DRS. He was also the lone player in the NL to have both a bWAR and fWAR above 7. He's the clear choice for NL MVP, which will be his first after 5 Top-10 finishes in his past. Congrats!

 

The Back-End of the MVP Ballot:

6th Place: Dansby Swanson (Atlanta Braves) - 162 Games, .277/.329/.447 (115 OPS+), 25 HR's

7th Place: Freddie Freeman (Los Angeles Dodgers) - 159 Games, .325/.407/.511 (152 OPS+), 21 HR's

8th Place: Sandy Alcantara (Miami Marlins) - 32 Games, 2.28 ERA (178 ERA+), 228.2 Innings, 207 K's

9th Place: J.T. Realmuto (Philadelphia Phillies) - 139 Games, .276/.342/.478 (129 OPS+), 22 HR's

10th Place: Trea Turner (Los Angeles Dodgers) - 160 Games, .298/.343/.466 (121 OPS+), 21 HR's

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A quick note on the bottom-5 MVP vote getters in the National League:


Dansby Swanson played in an actual full season, while playing all 162 games for the Atlanta Braves during the regular season, while also playing to his career best season as a complete all around player. Now a free agent, it'll be interesting to see if Atlanta opts to bring back the hometown favorite or if they let him go for a different shortstop option.


Speaking of, here we have Freddie Freeman. He had the National League's best on-base percentage along with an MLB-high number of hits (199) and doubles (47). A great defender and person, he quickly became beloved in Los Angeles.


I've already discussed Sandy Alcantara, who you can read about, here.


J.T. Realmuto is my catcher shoutout on the NL MVP ballot as the league's best backstop. That's not to say he didn't make the list without this qualifier (he did also win the NL gold glove for catchers) but it is worthy to note the extra skillset that comes with being a top catcher on offense, defense, and baserunning.


And finally, we get to another shortstop who is now a free agent in Trea Turner. A very smooth player at the plate, on the field, and especially when sliding into home plate he has had a very stable career as a 2nd tier great player in the sport. He's often fallen short of MVP recognition, but even so he's about to get paid like a yearly MVP candidate.

 

MVP Award Finalists:

Nominations were announced at 6:00 PM on MLB Network on Monday for all the major awards. Here are the nominees for the BBWAA and IBWAA!


BBWAA:

American League: Yordan Alvarez, Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani

National League: Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Manny Machado


IBWAA:

American League: Yordan Alvarez, Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani

National League: Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Manny Machado

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