In the midst of the Sox slump-ish play over the last week, JD Martinez overtook Mookie Betts as the AL (and MLB) leader in Batting Average- the latest in the list of clues that JD Martinez, in fact, is having an incredible season.
This has the Triple Crown buzz turned up to a roar. To be fair, Martinez actually trails in HR’s to K-hris Davis now, so he’s really no closer than he was before, but anyhow, he’s got a real shot at the Triple Crown. Which is a very rare feat, and points to a multi-talented hitter, who had all his skills working together for an entire 162. Obviously, this is a good thing.
My question is…does it really mean anything? When it comes to MVP voting, I emphatically think it SHOULD NOT mean one damn thing.
Let’s pretend you’re an MVP voter, and have decided “If JD wins the Triple Crown, he gets my vote”. Let me speak to you.
JD Martinez is on pace to finish .337- 48- 136…a phenomenal season. Certainly worthy of MVP consideration (full disclosure, he’s not my pick). Now, if Khris Davis happens to crush one off a career AAA callup for his 49th HR of the year in game 162, is Martinez somehow less worthy of a vote? After having the SAME EXACT SEASON you were about to vote for? That’s just nonsense.
Let’s Betts goes 3-4 on the last day of the season, and overtakes Martinez in batting average but a hundredth of a point? Oh well, JD, sorry, you’re not an MVP anymore!
Or even crazier, a ground ball Betts hit on June 21st was originally ruled a hit, but the next day was changed to an error…what if that scoring change was never made, and Betts won the batting title by .0001 points. Suddenly, Martinez is not a Triple Crown winner, so you should probably change your vote.
Questionable scoring decisions that award RBI’s are countless throughout a season, and could easily impact the Triple Crown Race as well.
The Triple Crown is a nice thing, I’m not shitting on the Triple Crown. It is an accomplishment, but it’s an accomplishment that is largely out of the hands of the player who achieves it…and sometimes- frequently, actually- comes down to good old fashioned luck.
Luck is great. It’s what makes sports exciting, and not just computer simulations. But when I’m awarding my MVP, I’m evaluating the players’ performance, not the official scorers. Certainly not whether or not some other guy had one fewer RBI’s than the player I’m voting for, because some retired sports reporter from Minneapolis had a bad hot dog one night in May and took it out on the dude who bobbled a shot to the hot corner.
So, MVP Voters, acknowledge the Triple Crown as evidence of what you already knew, the guy had a tremendous year…but if he misses it by a short and curly, don’t take away the vote.