Okay, I hope everyone has had a chance to calm down a little after the BBWAA announced the MLB’s Most Valuable Player finalists. As we all know, Charlie Blackmon was not one of the finalists for the MVP award. I’ve been watching MLB games for over 20 years. In addition, I now have the pleasure of living in Denver, Colorado, and being able to attend Colorado Rockies games in person.
I can comfortably say that Charlie Blackmon was among the league’s best players this season. He was even rewarded for his offensive production with a Silver Slugger Award on Thursday. There is definitely an argument that he should be a top three candidate. I’ve read some of you getting carried away here with this argument though. So, I’m here to tell it to you straight…Charlie Blackmon is not the MVP.
The Most Valuable Player award is (generally) decided on two schools of thought. The first thought saying that the MVP is the best player on a top-tier, winning team. The other thought process determines the best player in the league based on various metrics, whether it be old school stats or new complex analytics.
There has been plenty of analysis over the last few days on why Charlie Blackmon deserves to be a finalist based on both schools of thought. You probably heard that Blackmon’s all-time season at the leadoff spot propelled the Rockies into the wildcard playoff game meant more to his team than any other push by a single player of another team.
But, let’s be real, if the MVP award was truly given to the ‘most valuable player,’ there should never be any reason to give it to anyone in the league other than Mike Trout and Joey Votto; two legendary players, year-in-year-out, whose teams excel offensively and defensively when they’re on the field, and drudges around mediocrity when they’re not.
A comparison of numbers between Rockies past and present
A Colorado Rockies’ MVP has to be a complete player, though. Here is a look at the last few Rockies’ MVP basic batting statistics, including Blackmon.
|Todd Helton||5th in MVP||2000|
|Season||.372 AVG||42 HR||147 RBI||1.162 OPS|
|Home||.391 AVG||27 HR||88 RBI||1.242 OPS|
|Road||.353 AVG||15 HR||59 RBI||1.074 OPS|
|Matt Holliday||2nd in MVP||2007|
|Season||.340 AVG||36 HR||137 RBI||1.012 OPS|
|Home||.376 AVG||25 HR||82 RBI||1.157 OPS|
|Road||.301 AVG||11 HR||55 RBI||0.860 OPS|
|Carlos Gonzalez||3rd in MVP||2010|
|Season||.336 AVG||34 HR||117 RBI||0.974 OPS|
|Home||.380 AVG||26 HR||76 RBI||1.161 OPS|
|Road||.289 AVG||8 HR||41 RBI||0.775 OPS|
|Nolan Arenado||5th in MVP||2016|
|Season||.294 AVG||41 HR||133 RBI||0.932 OPS|
|Home||.312 AVG||25 HR||85 RBI||1.030 OPS|
|Road||.277 AVG||16 HR||48 RBI||0.775 OPS|
|Season||.331 AVG||37 HR||104 RBI||1.000 OPS|
|Home||.391 AVG||24 HR||60 RBI||1.239 OPS|
|Road||.276 AVG||13 HR||44 RBI||0.784 OPS|
(Stats Courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com)
I know, I know. This doesn’t provide much context or nuance to the overall performance of the player, the other candidates, and performance of the team as a whole.
However, a quick scan will tell you that Blackmon’s performance wasn’t even better than preceding MVP candidates, who also didn’t win the award.
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How does Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado or any other future Rockies player win this award? If they want to make a bigger impact for their team’s success, thus putting them in a true MVP conversation, then hitting consistently on the road (as they do at home) is key.
It’s well known that almost all players hit better at home than on the road. Unfortunately, as our very own Kevin Henry wrote in this article, there is a major stigma about playing in Colorado at Coors Field.
Despite the lengths that the Rockies go through to ensure even playing conditions (such as climate controlled baseball storage, etc.), the top Rockies’ players are automatically at a disadvantage in the eyes of the national media.
Ultimately, the goal is to win ball games, put together winning seasons, and go deep in the playoffs…if the Rockies accomplish that and Blackmon still smashes, then who really cares about some popularity contest.