It was shortly after 5 p.m. Mountain time on Monday, November 6, that Colorado Rockies Twitter exploded in a fit of rage. And honestly, this time, there was a good reason.
When the National League Most Valuable Player field was narrowed down to three players, Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies were neither included in the final trio of players. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt and Cincinnati’s Joey Votto were the players contending for MVP honors. Arenado and Blackmon were on the outside looking in.
It is hard to fathom that neither of the Colorado stars were among the final three. Blackmon had a historic season for a leadoff hitter. Arenado had yet another season where he shined on the offensive and defense sides of the diamond. Neither could apparently overcome the stigma of Coors Field in the eyes of voters from around the country.
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Sure, there are some reasons to think that the two players having such monster seasons took votes away from each other and kept one or the other for reaching the final three. But maybe it’s time to look at exactly what the meaning of a Most Valuable Player actually entails.
Of the final three players, only Goldschmidt’s squad made the postseason. And, as was pointed out here, the Arizona first baseman had a lower rWAR, fWAR, and WARP than both Arenado and Blackmon. Last season, when Arenado finished fifth in the National League MVP voting, many said that the All-Star third baseman was penalized because his team made the postseason. This year, with a career-high .309 average and becoming just one of eight players in MLB history to record at least 35 homers and 130 RBI in a season in three consecutive campaigns and leading his team to the postseason, it wasn’t good enough to push Arenado into the final three.
For position players, the top three in WAR were Stanton, Votto and Arenado. For a statistic that is supposedly so valuable in the eyes of so many, it didn’t seem to make a difference here.
So it doesn’t matter if you make the postseason. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the best statistical players in the league. It doesn’t matter if you make history. It apparently only matters if you play or don’t play at Coors Field.
If you are going to penalize Arenado and Blackmon for playing at Coors Field, why not reward Rockies rookie pitcher Kyle Freeland for pitching in LoDo? He was not one of the final three nominees for National League Rookie of the Year despite having a 3.3 WAR, behind only Cody Bellinger’s 4.2 WAR. An 11-11 mark and 4.10 ERA may not be eye-popping, but if you’re going to penalize Colorado’s hitters, you should boost up Colorado’s pitchers. It’s that simple.
Coors Field has seemingly claimed another victim in the national media’s eyes. Blackmon and Arenado deserve better. It’s not right.