Conor Oliver, Maroon-News Staff
There is a clear choice for the National League MVP: Bryce Harper. Harper still has the edge over the likes of Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks and Joey Votto of the Reds, though he has cooled down recently, only hitting two home runs in his last 32 games, . With 41 home runs and 96 RBIs he seems posistioned to win the batting title and lead the league in on-base percentage. With this incredible resume, it is hard to make a case against Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals. Unfortunately, despite Harper’s extraordinary season, the Nationals have been eliminated from the playoff race. Not competing in the postseason is unfortunate for Harper, whose incredible performance will go to waste now. The season is a disappointment, but some reward may be salvaged if he does win the NL MVP. Some may argue that because his team won’t be competing in the postseason, Harper’s season isn’t nearly as impressive. However, the alternative choice, Paul Goldschmidt, plays for an Arizona Diamondbacks team that has a worse record than the Nationals. It seems inconceivable that Harper’s performance doesn’t deserve the MVP just because his team will not play in the postseason, especially considering his closest candidate plays on a team with a worse record.
Henry Marshall, Assistant Sports Editor
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo should certainly be in the talk for this year’s MLB most valuable player. The 26 year-old Florida native has had quite the season with 30 homeruns to date, 95 RBIs and an average of .278 on the season.
If one is to stack up Rizzo against Bryce Harper based purely off batting average, batting average with runners on base and slugging percentage, Rizzo’s numbers are simply better at .305/.479./.562. These are great numbers, but a statistic called run expectancy says otherwise. Rizzo’s overall numbers are worse, however, his expectancy to hit with runners on base is higher. With runners in scoring position, Rizzo is hitting .308/.429/.600, and with runners on first and second base he is hitting .333 and slugging an incredible .667.
If these arguments are not convincing, Rizzo is out hitting Harper when games are closest. This is called “high-leverage” situations by MLB. In this consideration, Rizzo’s .394 average blows Harper’s .244 out of the water.
What also might be considered is that Rizzo is one of three first baseman MVP candidates, while Harper is the only right fielder. Though this may work in the first baseman’s favor, Harper’s schedule certainly has not. Harper hit .357 over the course of 43 games, but the catch is these stats came against teams like the Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves with abysmal
The final consideration is that Rizzo has led an unexpected team on an important regular season run, carrying the Cubs to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Though Rizzo may not be the most attractive MVP candidate, he certainly makes an interesting case.
Meagan Klebanoff, Maroon-News Staff
The Major League Baseball season is almost over, and the race for the National League Most Valuable Player is coming to a close. Most of the talk surrounds Washington Nationals’ RF Bryce Harper and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 1B Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt ranks inside the National League’s top 10 in nearly every offensive category and is among the top five in many as well. However, it’s a hard case to say that Bryce Harper is not the best player in the National League.
Despite the Nationals missing out on the playoffs, the case for Harper to be National League MVP is clear since he tops so many leaderboards. Before even examining Harper’s numbers, however, consider where the Nationals would be without him. His value to the team is obvious, especially with all of the injuries the Nationals faced this season.
Statistically, the numbers that Harper has put up this season are outstanding and even more impressive given that he is only 22 years old. He tops the National League leader board with a batting average of .336. He is tied for first in home runs with 41 this season, which makes him the only player in Major League history age 22 or younger with at least 41 home runs and 115 walks in a season. He’s fifth in runs batted in with 96, only nine behind Goldschmidt’s 105. Usually players perform well when they have good hitting around them, which makes Harper’s production this season even more impressive given that he lacked consistent support from his teammates.
Given Harper’s success this season despite lacking consistent production from the Nationals’ lineup, the case for him as the National League’s MVP is clear.