Dewan: Who are the 2015 MVP candidates?

From SABR member John Dewan at ACTA Sports on August 31, 2015:

In 2014, Clayton Kershaw became just the second pitcher to win an MVP award in the last 20 years. In some ways, he has been just as dominant this season as he was last season. Specifically, he is striking out 11.5 batters per nine innings, up from 10.9 in 2014. However, while sabermetrics are slowly becoming an accepted part of the voters’ decision-making, Kershaw’s 11-and-6 record is a far cry from his 21-and-3 record in 2014 and may keep him out of the running.

If any pitcher could compete for the award this season, it’s Kershaw’s teammate Zack Greinke. Greinke does not share Kershaw’s amazing peripheral statistics, but his 1.61 ERA is the only one under 2.00 among qualified starters and his 14-and-3 record is likely more palatable for voters.

The real key for Greinke may be the fact that the Dodgers, despite some recent troubles, still sit atop the NL West standings. Greinke is the only member of the top five in NL Total Runs—a measure of player value based on his offensive, defensive, pitching, and baserunning contributions—who would make the playoffs if the season ended today, which may it his award to lose unless the standings change.

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Originally published: September 2, 2015. Last Updated: September 2, 2015.