Metsblog’s Matthew Cerrone points out that of Mets 1B Carlos Delgado’s 8 hits in his last 30 plate appearances, 5 were home runs, all of which came from the 7th inning onwards. In spite of a recent tear that’s all but erased memories of a very poor start to the season, Newsday’s Jim Baumbach insists, “while Delgado has been critical to the Mets’ turnaround, he is by no means having an MVP season.”
You can argue all you want about what the criteria for a Most Valuable Player award is, and obviously getting big hits is an important category. But there’s no debating that a player’s complete season must be taken into account, so we can’t conveniently forget about Delgado’s putrid April, May and June.
And we can’t overlook the fact that Delgado’s average is .259.
It helps Delgado’s has that there is no standout candidate. CC Sabathia has been as dominant as any pitcher has been in the NL in decades, but he only arrived in Milwauke two months ago. Plus, he’s a pitcher who plays only every five days. Sabathia’s teammate, Ryan Braun, figures to be a top candidate, as does the Cubs’ Aramis Ramirez. And maybe Albert Pujols, playing for the going-nowhere Cardinals, can slip in and win the award in a year when there’s no clear-cut favorite, ala Alex Rodriguez with the Rangers in 2003.
Delgado will need a monster final month to enter this discussion for real. Because as much as Mets fans want to point to Delgado’s turnaround from useless to useful as the reason for his candidacy, they need to remember that the voting for the MVP award is done by baseball writers in every city. And it’s really hard to believe too many voters will look at his season — from start to finish — as the league’s most valuable.
Though I’m skeptical of Delagado’s chances — and depending on how the final month plays out, David Wright and Jose Reyes might earn a few votes, too — surely Baumbach is aware Kurt Gibson won an MVP award in 1998 with a mere 25 HR’s and 76 RBI’s. At the time, despite putting up numbers less impressively than those of Darryl Strawberry, Gibson was hailed as a gutty-gritty-
Mogan Fairchild-bonking veteran leader of an overachieving Dodger squad.
I’m not too bothered about the MVP race either way, but if Carlos Delgado could be held up as example numero uno for why the Mets were floundering during the season’s first half, shouldn’t he receive equal credit for the club’s stunning reversal of fortune? Is there any coincidence that as Delgado’s bat speed has seemingly returned, the individual output of Reyes, Wright and Beltran has improved as well?