The term MVP can mean a lot of different things depending on who you ask. On it’s face, the definition is simple: the Most Valuable Player on a team or in a league. But the debate goes deeper than that. Is a player the “most valuable” because of his pure ability or because of the tangible difference he makes and the clear impact he has?
In 2018, the Colorado Rockies had a handful of MVP candidates. Nolan Arenado is the team’s heart and soul and his level of talent and wealth of production on both sides of the ball is arguably unmatched by any other player in the sport.
At the same time, Trevor Story put up very similar numbers on offense while also stealing nearly 30 bases. Story’s natural speed and power combination along with his heavily underrated–yet stellar–defense should make him another perennial MVP candidate across the league.
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But it was the Rockies’ pitching not their offense that carried the team last season. Hometown hero Kyle Freeland pitched like a true Cy Young candidate all season long, spearheading a young pitching revolution that pushed the team to the brink of their first division title in franchise history.
Without Freeland, the 2018 Rockies would arguably have been unrecognizable. But he was not alone. In the second half of the season, German Marquez broke out and seemingly struck out every batter he faced on his way to setting the new franchise record for punch outs in a season.
And when it mattered the most, David Dahl–finally healthy–stepped up to the challenge, catching fire and carrying the Rockies to a second consecutive postseason performance for the first time in franchise history.
After dropping the tie-breaker for the division title, it took 13 innings at freezing Wrigley Field for a legendary single by .170 hitter Tony Wolters to defeat the Cubs in the NL Wild Card game, closed out by the mostly unheard of Scott Oberg–arguably the bullpen’s MVP last season.
Sometimes the player that makes the biggest difference on the team isn’t the team’s most talented player. They won’t win any awards, much less an MVP, but they are nonetheless the piece that pushes their team over the edge.
In their newest release, the guys at Blake Street Ball discussed why they believe Ian Desmond can be that player for the Rockies in 2019 that pushes them past the Dodgers:
No one is asking Ian Desmond to win an MVP in 2019, but if he can produce, he might just be the difference between second place and first place in the NL West.