By just about any measure you care to use, Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has been the best player in the National League this year. Before he dropped off the leaderboards earlier this week, he was leading the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. You can say “yeah, but Coors Field …” because those stats are not park-adjusted, but wRC+ is, and his 173 mark was still the best. Add in some very good defense at an important position, and Tulowitzki was worth every bit of the league-leading 5.1 WAR that FanGraphs has him down for.
You’d think that such credentials would make him an easy MVP leader, but it isn’t going to happen. Even if a disappointingly high percentage of voters didn’t still cling to the outdated notion that MVPs can come only from winning teams — the Rockies are, of course, awful again this year — the recent news of Tulowitzki’s season-ending hip surgery essentially ends his candidacy.
Now our attention turns to the other MVP options in the NL, and you realize … wow, what a mess. Five of last year’s top eight NL vote-getters are either on the disabled list right now or have spent considerable time there this year. Between the fact that there are 11 non-Tulo players who already are worth more than 4.0 WAR, and the fact that almost all of them have some sort of perceived issue that can easily be pointed to, the 2014 NL MVP race may end up being the most debated — and fractured — we’ve seen in years, especially when compared to the AL, which has a pretty clear-cut favorite in Mike Trout.
With about six weeks left before votes are due, who will pull away? Can anyone? Let’s have a look: Read the rest of this entry »