clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nolan Arenado had an outstanding season, but he does not deserve the NL MVP

Rockies and baseball links for Monday October 26, 2015.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Rockies links

The defense rests: Arenado’s sterling glove work won’t matter to MVP voters — Mile High Sports

At Mile High Sports, Mark Knudson suggests that Nolan Arenado's defense will be a non-issue for MVP voters. He doesn't believe Arenado will finish in the top-10 in MVP voting. I'm not so sure. MVP voters are exactly the ones who will look at Arenado's RBIs and defense and cast a vote for him. That is, they might do that in a world without Bryce Harper, who would probably be a unanimous choice if the Nationals made the postseason.

In addition to emphasizing the role defense should play in the MVP vote, Knudson suggests that Harper and Arenado "had comparable seasons" on offense. Insofar as they were both baseball players who swung the bat, that's definitely right. In terms of production, their seasons were far from comparable. Harper's .330/.460/.649 line was a whole lot better than Arenado's .287/.323/.575 . Arenado had 31 more RBIs than Harper—his only offensive advantage. I'm fine with using RBIs as a way to judge the MVP, especially when it's close everywhere else. It's not close though.

Still, if the only thing that detracts from Nolan Arenado's outstanding season is that it's not really comparable to Bryce Harper's transcendent one, it's not a slight.

Does the Dodgers' postseason loss indicate a changing of the guard in the NL West? — The Denver Post

This was linked yesterday, but it's worth highlighting again. Patrick Saunders does not provide a definitive answer to the question. But it's clear that the outlook for the Rockies in the NL West is even bleaker now than it was before.

From my point of view, the Dodgers are poised to win the NL West again next season. Zack Greinke opted out of his contract, but there is reason to believe that the Dodgers will re-sign him. If so, he'll return to join the best pitcher in baseball atop the Dodgers' rotation. If not, the Dodgers will still have the best pitcher in baseball. Not only that, but despite all of the talk about the Dodgers bloated payroll, they currently have two of the top five prospects in baseball in shortstop Corey Seager and left-handed starting pitcher Julio Urias. And while Joc Pederson's strikeout troubles caused his batting average to plummet to an ugly .210, the young center fielder still hit 26 dingers and walked enough to post a .346 OBP.

And the Giants? They missed the postseason, but they still won 84 games. And they did so against type, as they had one of the best offenses in the National League. The Giants' unadjusted batting line matched the Rockies—.267/.326/.406 for the former and .265/.315/.432 for the latter. A mental ballpark adjustment suggests that the Giants had a better offense, and a mathematical adjustment indicates that the Giants were 22 percent better on offense than the Rockies. Also, if Greinke doesn't re-sign with the Dodgers, the Giants might land him. The man likes the California sun.

Finally, Saunders notes that the Diamondbacks made strides in 2015. Paul Goldschmidt is one of the very best hitters in baseball, and AJ Pollock's breakout season was McCutchen-esque. Add in touted pitching prospects Archie Bradley, Braden Shipley, and Aaron Blair, as well as 1:1 pick Dansby Swanson, and the Diamondbacks are set to compete soon.

It's not as if the Rockies don't have their own big league star and bunch of prospects eager to pry open a window of contention; it's just that the weight of the rest of the NL West is not going to make it easy.

Baseball Prospectus | Soft Toss: An Ode to LaTroy

Brendan Gawlowski has a nice send-off for two time member of the Rockies LaTroy Hawkins, who has thrown his final pitch as a major leaguer. The focus here is Hawkins's role in a mid-March scrimmage in Arizona.

At 42 years old, and with a quarter century of professional experience behind him, Hawkins quick-pitched a helpless minor leaguer in a backfield spring training game. For every fan who ever questioned the intensity of the sport, or how much these players care, this was your moment. The competitiveness of a professional, inextinguishable in even the most mundane of games.

Around MLB

The Pitcher Who Couldn't Lose — Deadspin

Remember Bronson Arroyo? He's the type of player who is at once memorable and forgettable. His unique leg kick and junkball success make him very easy to remember. He's the type of pitcher who is always there. Yet, it's easy to forget that he hasn't pitched since May of 2014. He hasn't been there for a while now.

In Tom Ley's excellent profile, he details Arroyo's successes, immediate ambitions, contentment, and discontentment. One of the most interesting insights is the suggestion that Arroyo, as a pitcher, perfected his craft. There have been assumptions that his lack of "stuff" meant that he had to put in extra work on a day-to-day basis. On the contrary: Arroyo mastered his relationship to the game of baseball, what he refers to has "feel," and had already put in years of work necessary to succeed.

Arroyo is currently a member of the Dodgers. It's not clear whether or not he will pitch next season. After reading this, you'll understand why that might be simultaneously fine and terrifying for Arroyo.

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais' hiring continues a troubling trend of no experience necessary | FOX Sports

More and more, Ken Rosenthal observes, the qualifications for being hired as a big league manager are to be an inexperienced white baseball player, preferably a catcher, who retired within the last five to ten years. Additionally, the best way to become a general manager is to hold an Ivy League degree and be analytically oriented.

Neither are problems with regard to how well either of these types can do the with which they are tasked; rather, they are problems because they reveal a disconcerting trend that managerial and front office positions remain homogenous in terms of ethnicity, race, gender, and intellectual background. And, why not, let's also add that valuable unpaid internships in front offices that help get one's foot in the door, self-evidently, go to individuals with the economic means to provide labor for free.

The result, as Rosenthal puts it, is a "new-boy network" that disadvantages a wide swathe of experienced and knowledgable persons who might only receive token consideration for managerial and front office positions. It continues to boggle my mind that Dave Martinez has never received a shot at managing. But then I remember that Felipe Alou was repeatedly passed over for the position. The Expos finally promoted him in 1992, when he was 57 years old and had accumulated years of managing experience in the minor leagues.

Felipe Alous of today, however, might be too old and experienced for the job. "The problem is that with all of these custom-fit hires," Rosenthal concludes, "the new-boy network threatens to be as damaging as the old."