Cleat Geeks

Saber-metric Sunday: NL MVP Candidates: Using WAR

In mid-August, we hit the homestretch of the MLB regular season. This is the time when regular season awards are seriously talked about amongst fans, as they begin to analyse being that the season comes to an end a little less than two months. Among the top regular season honors, arguably the top, is the MVP award.

The MLB MVP award is not just gauged by a slash-line of home runs and RBIs but is greatly influenced by WAR (Wins Above Replacement) as well. WAR was discussed in an earlier article which you can see here for a refresher if needed. It makes sense to use WAR because you are evaluating how valuable a player is by looking at how many wins he is worth over replacement-level statistics.

So using WAR, we will evaluate top candidates for the MVP award in the National League.KrisBryant3

OVERALL WAR Top 8: (Through 8/19)

  1. Kris Bryant – 6.3
  2. Corey Seager – 5.9
  3. Brandon Crawford – 4.6
  4. Daniel Murphy – 4.5
  5. Justin Turner – 4.3
  6. Anthony Rizzo – 4.2
  7. Wil Myers – 4.2
  8. Freddie Freeman – 4.1

Some notes on these player’s basic stats:

Kris Bryant has been on top of the NL WAR list for the past few months, and his strong performance recently (20 hits this last week) has helped him stay on top. He is battling his Cub teammate Anthony Rizzo among others for the MVP nod which makes watching them play together even more interesting. Daniel Murphy leads the NL in average at .344 and also leads the league in OPS. Young Corey Seager is helping lead a Dodger;s team who has lost their ace, Clayton Kershaw to an epic battle between them and the Giants in the NL West. He participated in the home run derby and is a top NL shortstop at the age of 22. Same goes for Justin Turner, who though has had his some ups and downs, has put up a career high 23 home runs so far and RBI with 72. Brandon Crawford is quietly having a career year with the bat, posting a .276/.342/.784 slash line through 8/19. As for Myers and Freeman, they are two great talents on bad teams. Freeman leads the Braves in most statistical categories and Myers is posting a career-high .836 OPS.CoreySeager

Realistically, the MVP will come from the top six on the WAR list. Kris Bryant right now would likely be the early favorite since his “traditional stats” are just as pretty as his WAR stats. Of course there is still time for a player to either lose steam on a good season or possibly pick things up at a rapid pace. If Bryant can keep up the pace, he can really be a favorite to win. But watch out for Daniel Murphy with his consistent bat and for Anthony Rizzo’s consistent run-production.

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