It would take a lot for a Rockies player to win an MVP award.
A single stat isn’t what determines an MVP. Often times, for hitters, it’s a pair of stats: OPS+ and wins above replacement (WAR). The former puts a barometer on hitting, while the latter brings about everything a player does in a game.
In the rare case of a pitcher in MVP conversations, their WAR plays a huge role, as well as their ERA and, oftentimes, the number of strikeouts they’ve piled up.
The winner of MVP, no matter the league, has only finished below 7.0 WAR one time since 2008 (Dustin Pedroia; 6.9). Only six respective seasons in Rockies’ history have seen a player on the club finish with more than 7.0 WAR – three of the occurrences were by Todd Helton, with the single-season leader being Walker’s 9.8 in 1997.
Alongside WAR is OPS+ which is a huge contributor to MVP voting.
While most fans shy away from wOBA and other analytics which can also be very useful, common talks center around OPS+ which is relatively easy to understand. How often did a player get on base, and how many extra-base hits did they conjure up, all in the context of the ballparks.
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No current Rockies’ hitter has a spot in the franchise’s single-season, top-10 of OPS+. Charlie Blackmon got the closest during his 2017 campaign (141).
To win an MVP in today’s superstar-ridden landscape, it’s fair to say a hitter can’t win the award without an OPS+ of at least 145. In fact, the last hitter to do so in the NL was Jimmy Rollins who tallied a 119 as part of one of the weirder voting results in recent history.
Rollins finished outside the top-5 in both WAR and OPS+, on a team who lost in the Divisional Round of the postseason.
Outside of Rollins, Kris Bryant’s 146 mark was the closest to falling short. While a 145 OPS+ is likely the floor, it’s also not a surefire way. Many of the recent MVP winners have put up 160-or-higher and been among the leaders in WAR as well.
Story’s ascension as a do-all shortstop has been remarkable. Arenado’s ability to lead the middle of the order, all while being the league’s best fielder multiple times, is rare as well.
Neither figures to win the award very soon.
Outside of a 50-homer, 140-RBIs season in which they account for roughly 8.5-9.0 WAR, there’s just little room for a Rockies’ hitter to win the award. Even with those numbers, the amount of backlash Coors Field hitters take is enough to topple their case.
Now, if Germán Márquez could ever dip below a 2.00 ERA and lead the team to the postseason, there’s likely a better chance. Until then, it’s going to be a tough road.