There’s a 99 percent chance that Jacob deGrom is going to win the National League Cy Young award this year. He’s pretty much locked in. But what about the Most Valuable Player award?
But then you have naysayers. They say that Christian Yelich is the rightful winner, that a pitcher shouldn’t win, and that a player from a winning team should win. Well, deGrom should win. Not just because he’s the best, but because the Mets were bad.
The problem is that value is relative. There’s different types of value and your value also changes based on your teammates. Probably the biggest kind of value is team related value, which is also broken down. How does your talent help the team? How does your teammates talent help or hurt you?
Teammates will be of huge importance to the value of a single player. In this example, it’s because it’s easier for Yelich to be a successful hitter than it is for deGrom to be a successful pitcher, and here’s why.
Yelich is not a perfect hitter on his own. He has a great support staff to make his numbers what they are. Entering game 163, he’s driven in Lorenzo Cain 21 times. Jesus Aguilar drove him in 26 times and Travis Shaw drove him in 23 times.
Cain is hitting .308 and nearly scored 100 runs. Aguilar has more than 100 RBI’s. Yelich had power all around him to boost his numbers. His value isn’t as much a a testament of his talent, but of a combination of his own great talent and that of those before and after him.
DeGrom doesn’t have that luxury. He had a lineup that constantly stalled and a bullpen that would blow games. All of his stats were pretty much his own, and his to fight for. If he was on the Brewers with Yelich, he’d probably be close to 30 wins.
You see something similar in Boston with Mookie Betts. He is an amazing player but his value to the Red Sox is less than deGrom’s value to the Mets. He might be the best player but he’s not the most valuable because he plays for a stacked team.
What happens if you take Betts out of the equation? It would be a loss but J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Chris Sale, and Craig Kimbrel would keep the team going. You’d probably still be looking at a 100 win team.
If you took deGrom, who kept the Mets in the game 30 times out of the equation, it would be a nightmare. All those games where the bullpen blew the lead might not have been leads to begin with, and games that were won could have been a whole other story. No deGrom means a potential 60 or so something win team.
Speaking of value, who said that the MVP has to come from a winning team? If a player displays a ton of value, the value shouldn’t be reserved specifically based on how those around you do. That’s why MLB got it right in 2016, Mike Trout was picked as the American League MVP.
Shocker right? He had an amazing season. But the Angels didn’t. The 2016 Angels finished in fourth place with just 74 wins. That was not a good team, and if the 2018 Mets won more games, why can’t deGrom get a shot? This really is how it should be, but I have an idea on how to further drive the point.
What if the Mets were a better team? Let’s say Yoenis Cespedes was healthy and Jay Bruce was good. Maybe even Matt Harvey didn’t have any issues. As a result, the Mets win an extra 10 to 15 games and make the postseason. Then would deGrom be considered for the award? But his actual pitching stats would be the same, the only thing that would be different is that he has more wins.
He’d probably be an easy pick for MVP if the Mets won more games and he finished with 25 wins, 269 strikeouts, and a 1.70 ERA, right? Well he could have, if the Mets lineup scored just one or two extra runs per game, that’s what his line could have looked like. So why say he doesn’t have the same amount of value because some of the other players weren’t better?
That’s another point about value. We can keep thinking about what deGrom would have been like if the Mets had been doing better, but what if he was simply on a different team? DeGrom isn’t just the most valuable to the Mets, but to the entire league. You can put deGrom on nearly any other team in the NL and they would be so much better. In fact, there are quite a few teams where he’d end up with so many more wins, yet pretty much the same individual stats, which would bring up the same point from before. He’d be playing for a better team but most people would think his value is so much higher.
This is why deGrom should win the MVP this year, in addition to the Cy Young. Because the Mets were so bad that it put more of an emphasis on what his numbers mean instead of just you helped an already good team get even better.