I'm not going to get into a big NL MVP debate -- at least not yet. But I did want to point something out relating to Carlos Delgado's growing candidacy. Namely the fact that it's almost as bad of an idea as handing a Gold Glove to Derek Jeter.
Yes, Delgado has been on fire recently. But his first half was just awful -- there was even talk of cutting him. Overall, he's been very good, but nothing spectacular, and where are all the mainstream writers who like to harp on consistency? If you swap Delgado's first and second halves, the Mets would have built a five or six game lead by the All-Star break and would currently be in the midst of squandering the NL East title for the second year in a row. Any chance Delgado's an MVP candidate in that scenario? Didn't think so.
Delgado's season line is.266/.350/.518, hardly spectacular. In fact, he ranks 17th in NL WPA/LI:
What's that, you think WPA is a better stat to use for the MVP award because clutch performance adds real wins? Ok, then Delgado falls to 22nd, because he's been, well, unclutch:
I haven't even brought up defense, which is surely not a point in Delgado's favor. He's a first baseman, which are worth a full win less than than the average position over a full season. And Delgado's not really known for his glove.
Both David Wright and Carlos Beltran rank higher in WPA (Beltran is seventh) and WPA/LI (Wright is sixth) and both play more important defensive positions. Given Beltran's awesome glove and high WPA number, he's the real NL MVP candidate from the Mets.
My personal pick for MVP is Albert Pujols -- I could care less if a player is on a playoff team or not. Inspired by Baseball-Fever user STLCards2 I pulled split-half data for Delgado and Pujols using June27th as the first day of the second half. (Thanks, Day By Database.) Why June 27th? Because that's the date Pujols returned from the DL and Delgado drove in nine runs. Here's how Delgado's awesome second half compares to Pujols':
Even at Delgado's best, he's no Pujols. And how about their first halves:
Yeah, they're just not even in the same ballpark offensively. And Pujols is probably two wins better with the glove, too.
So, anyone still on the Delgado bandwagon? Sure, he's had a great second half. But his awful first half was what made his second half so important. Many players, including some on teams competing for playoff spots, have done a lot more over the course of the season to help their teams win games. Let's keep the entire season in perspective and not overreact to the last two months.