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2014 MVP Candidates

The Baseball Writers Association of America’s Most Valuable Player was established in 1931, adopting the format the National League used to distribute its league award.  One writer in each city with a team filled out a ten-place ballot, with ten points for the recipient of a first-place vote, nine for a second-place vote, and so on. In 1938, the BBWAA raised the number of voters to three per city and gave 14 points for a first-place vote. The only significant change since then occurred in 1961, when the number of voters was lowered to two per league city.

Some fun MVP facts: Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial, Alex Rodriguez, and Robin Yount won the award at different positions,and Rodriguez is the only player who has won the award with two different teams at two different positions.  Barry Bonds has won the most often (seven times) and the most consecutively (2001–04).  Frank Robinson is the only player to win the award in both the American and National Leagues.  The award’s only tie occurred in 1979 between Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell.  Finally, the award has never been presented to a player from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, and Washington Nationals.

We now present the Assembly’s picks for the 2014 Most Valuable Player Award.

American League

Jim

Miguel Cabrera – Like I said about Cabrera when I did my third base rankings, If I have to go into detail to explain why Cabrera is listed here…..turn in your fantasy baseball membership card.

Mike Trout – He’s 22 and he’s run neck and neck with Miguel Cabrera the past 2 years, that’s how good he is.  This team was supposed to be leaning on Hamilton & Pujols, but Trout is the true MVP of this team.

Robinson Cano – MVP means most valuable player, and I can’t think of a player that is more valuable to the Mariners franchise than Cano.  His average has never been questioned, and looking at some recent data he power shouldn’t be an issue with his new home.  If he can generate enough runs & RBIs and come close to the level of production we saw in NY then Cano should be there.  The sad thing is unless he pulls a Tonya Harding on Trout & Cabrera he has no chance to win, but I’m pulling for him.

Eric Hosmer – I mentioned in our division winners section that KC would take it, and this is the reason why.  The Royals fired their hitting coach half way through the year and in the second half, Hosmer hit .323 and was a different man.  Hosmer will breakout in 2014, carrying his team to the playoffs for the first time since 1985 and earn MVP considerations.  He might even team up with Cano in taking out Trout and Cabrera.

Jeff

Mike Trout: best player in the universe as far as we (humans) know.

Miguel Cabrera: The next best player on the planet, but more beloved than Trout by the BBWAA.  Cabrera will get credit for making up for loss of Fielder even though the lineup around him may be better in 2014.

Alex Rios: With a little HR/FB luck, Rios could turn in a 25/35 year while going over 200 combined runs and RBI.

Dustin Pedroia: He is the best player on the best team in baseball.  Usually I would go with the guy who leads the team in RBI, but the award is not going to go to a DH.  I expect a bounce back in the HR department now that his thumb has been fixed.

TOMMY

Miguel Cabrera: It is really hard to argue against the guy who has won it the past 2 seasons.

Mike Trout: It is equally difficult to argue against the runner-up from the past two seasons who is arguably baseball’s best all around player.

Robinson Cano: If the Mariners are relevant this season, Cano will be in the conversation.

Chris Davis: The Orioles have a good chance to get back into the playoffs this year. If they do, it will likely be because of more elite production from Crush Davis.

Peter

Mike Trout: Let’s get the obvious ones out-of-the-way first.  Trout is arguably the best player in baseball and the best player in fantasy.  The Angels struggled through a miserable 2013 and look to rebound in 2014.  Not sure how Trout can play any better, but if his team is winning he could finally get that MVP trophy.

Miguel Cabrera: What is your encore for a Triple Crown MVP season?  How about another MVP season with a near Triple Crown while playing injured for the better part of the last month of the season?  Cabrera will be considered one of the best right-handed hitters of all-time and we should all be enjoying watching him play, unless we have to face him in fantasy.

Adrian Beltre: I like him more than you do, and hopefully the MVP voters will feel the same way if he puts up another solid season at the plate and at 3B.

David Ortiz: Here is my homer vote, but Ortiz deserves to be considered the MVP, playing on a team without a lot of true superstars.  Injuries and natural decline are always a concern for 38-year old power hitters, but Ortiz continues to hit (he actually had 23 homers in only 90 games in 2012) for power and average, driving in runs for the Red Sox.  Another playoff run in Boston could get Ortiz some more hardware.

Paul

Robinson Cano: The difference maker for the Seattle Mariners in 2014. His numbers might not be the best, but hard to ignore his season if the Mariners make the playoffs.

Prince Fielder: There’s a big season in the big guy and Texas just might be the place where it comes out. Contrary to popular belief Fielder is not done. He’ll be in a great ballpark with a great supporting lineup. 35-40 HR and 120 RBI would make a heck of a candidate.

Dustin Pedroia: The leader of the Red Sox has the potential to score 110 runs, drive in 80 with a great batting average atop the Red Sox lineup. Don’t count this guy out just yet, as he should be healthy to start the season.

Austin Jackson: If Jackson can stay healthy atop the Tigers lineup, he could score 125 Runs. Add a .300 average and this could be an MVP type season. While I don’t expect him to seriously be the top Tiger candidate, I can’t pick Miggy for a 3rd straight title.

Kevin

Miguel Cabrera: I think 2014 is going to be yet another 1 and 1A race between Cabrera and Trout.

Mike Trout: Trout is my choice next year. Learn to share, Miggy.

Yu Darvish: I noted in the Cy Young discussion that he could be the next 300 K pitcher. If he pulls that off, he deserves MVP consideration.

Robinson Cano: Well, obviously he’s the most valuable player on the team — the contract says so, right? He could find a way to improve his legacy if he wins an MVP in Seattle.

National League

Jim

Ryan Braun: Some have written Braun off, but I think that’s a mistake.  He put up a MVP type season after his first (alleged) failed test, and I think…no, I believe he will do that again in 2014 and silence the critics (at least the ones that play fantasy baseball).

Andrew McCutchen: Short of an injury you know McCutchen’s name will be in the conversation when it comes to the NL MVP.  He’s one of the few players you can depend on as far as their numbers and he is Pittsburgh, there are no Pirates without him (OK the Pirates would still exist, but they would suck).

Joey Votto: The power may have declined the past two years, but his bat is still dangerous.  I think the power will return and Votto will put up a season very similar to the one he had in 2011.  I don’t know if this will be good enough to win the MVP, but it will be enough to get his name in the conversation.  The best part is, he might not even cost you a first round draft pick in 2014.

Carlos Gonzalez: I discussed Cargo in my mortal combat piece and while he lost out to Andrew McCutchen, his numbers were very close.  This could be the year he brings it all together.  He’s had his bumps and bruises, but if he can play in 145 games like he did in 2010, he could easily be competition for McCutchen and anyone else standing at the top.

Jeff

Andrew McCutchen: A lot of his MVP candidacy will be tied to his teammates’ performances in 2014.  Cutch will put up top end production regardless, but he will need the team to be in contention in order to be seriously considered for MVP.

Bryce Harper: If he can stay healthy he should be in the running.  If the raw power translates to 30+ homers, then he will most likely be the MVP.

Clayton Kershaw: If any pitcher can put up a season formidable enough to be considered for MVP it is Kershaw.

Buster Posey: With an improved pitching staff and a little better injury luck, I can see the Giants being in contention come September.  I think Posey betters his 2013 HR and RBI totals in 12014. The BBWAA totally digs that.

Tommy

Andrew McCutchen: Cutch could win this award a few times before his career is done. He looks like the best player in the NL right now.

Freddie Freeman: The Braves offense is missing some big pieces from last year. If they can still compete for the NL East crown, Freeman will get a lot of attention for this award.

Bryce Harper: I don’t think Harper is ready to make the leap just yet, but once it happens he will be an MVP candidate every year.

Joey Votto: Votto is the heart and soul of the Reds. If he can get his RBI numbers back up and if the Reds keep winning, he will have a chance too.

Peter

Justin Upton: Upton will turn 27 during the 2014 season, and we are all familiar with the fantasy implications of your 27-year old season.  To some, 2013 was considered a down year for the young OF.  A return to his 2011 potential, paired with a strong showing from the Braves could bring the MVP trophy back to Atlanta, where it has not been since 1999 (Chipper Jones, who just happened to be 27-years old in 1999).

Yasiel Puig:  We all saw what Puig was capable of doing in about half a season in 2013.  In a full season, he should approach 30 homers, maybe steal 18-20 bases, drive in and score 80+ runs, hit around 0.300 and show off his cannon of an arm in the outfield.

Troy Tulowitzki: He needs to stay healthy, but if he can play in 140 games, Tulo can hit 30+ homers, drive in and score about 100 runs, play Gold Glove SS and the Rockies appear to be ready to compete in the NL West.

Freddie Freeman: Freeman is no longer allowed on any “sleeper” lists.  The second Brave to show up in my MVP picks, if Freeman adds some more power numbers next season he could get some votes.

Paul

Hanley Ramirez: Elite production from a key position on a division winner will usually amount to heavy MVP consideration. If Hanley can stay healthy he still has all of the tools to win a first MVP award.

Bryce Harper: Harper is ready to take his place as the top hitter in the NL. Excellent power, good speed in a solid lineup will help him put up enough counting stats in 2014. Look for 100/30/100/15/.285. Might not be enough, but his time has come.

Jay Bruce: Cincinnati has a new team leader and his name is Bruce. With 35-40 Home Runs and 100+ RBIs on a wildcard team, Bruce takes the next step towards stardom in his 27th year.

Freddie Freeman: Freeman takes over the Number One First Baseman in the NL after the 2014 season. He carries Atlanta to a wild card berth with an improved line from his 23/109/.319 in 2013.

Kevin

Bryce Harper: The biggest issue is him staying healthy. I really think he can carry the Nats offense and hit 30 HR.

Paul Goldschmidt: He’s the new reigning champion at 1B for fantasy. It’s only fair that he get some MVP trophies along the way.

Andrew McCutchen:  Hard to bet against a five-category producer. Oh yeah, and he won it in 2013.

Troy Tulowitzki: Like Harper, he has to stay on the field. But no other SS can put up the numbers he’s capable of, and he’s clearly a team leader.

The American League is pretty cut and dry.  The obvious choices here are Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout, but should they both falter Robinson Cano will be right there to take the honors.

The front-runners for the National League are Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper, each appearing on four of the six lists.  Freddie Freeman is breathing right down their necks with 3 votes of confidence, meanwhile Joey Votto and Troy Tulowitzki will be waiting in the wings should any of those players fail to live up to expectations.

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2 comments on “2014 MVP Candidates

  1. We should look at guys that are on this list and on “players I like more than you” lists while on others’ golden Sombrero lists. Some polarizing players out there, ie Pedroia, Harper, Votto.

  2. LOL. I have Harper on both the sombrero list and the MVP list.

    I really don’t think this is the year for him, but if the Nats are the best team in the NL Harper would be the most likely candidate.

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