Colorado Rockies: Why Charlie Blackmon is not the Most Valuable Player

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 Helton5th in MVP2000
Season.372 AVG42 HR147 RBI1.162 OPS
Home.391 AVG27 HR88 RBI1.242 OPS
Road.353 AVG15 HR59 RBI1.074 OPS
Matt Holliday2nd in MVP2007
Season.340 AVG36 HR137 RBI1.012 OPS
Home.376 AVG25 HR82 RBI1.157 OPS
Road.301 AVG11 HR55 RBI0.860 OPS
Carlos Gonzalez3rd in MVP2010
Season.336 AVG34 HR117 RBI0.974 OPS
Home.380 AVG26 HR76 RBI1.161 OPS
Road.289 AVG8 HR41 RBI0.775 OPS
Nolan Arenado5th in MVP2016
Season.294 AVG41 HR133 RBI0.932 OPS
Home.312 AVG25 HR85 RBI1.030 OPS
Road.277 AVG16 HR48 RBI0.775 OPS
Charlie Blackmon2017
Season.331 AVG37 HR104 RBI1.000 OPS
Home.391 AVG24 HR60 RBI1.239 OPS
Road.276 AVG13 HR44 RBI0.784 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.

Final Thoughts

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.