The MVP award and the unassailable brilliance of Yadier Molina

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Pat found this post from St. Louis writer Bernie Miklasz earlier today, and it's too good not to share.

During the season the Cardinals seemingly had three MVP candidates: catcher Yadier Molina, second baseman Matt Carpenter and first baseman Allen Craig. ... The field was winnowed to two when Craig suffered a serious foot injury on Sept. 4 ...

Allen Craig! Allen Craig. A selected list of NL position players who had a higher WAR than Allen Craig: Andre Ethier, Will Venable, Nolan Arenado, Neil Walker, Marco Scutaro, Daniel Murphy, Todd Frazier, Denard Span, Chris Denorfia. And c. and c. and c. I know a Craig candidacy would be predicated upon his batting average with runners in scoring position, but you can see the territory we're in here. Even if you want to use a really results-oriented stat like WPA (which I don't recommend), Craig was way behind Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen and several other players. That this guy thought Allen Craig was a serious MVP candidate in September tells you much of what you need to know about what we're about to read.

With the Cardinals' prime MVP contenders reduced to Molina and Carpenter, it led to an obvious question: would the teammates siphon votes from each other?

In what possible universe would this happen? One, presumably, where MVP ballots only have one spot on them, and where a high percentage of MVP voters are rabid Cardinals partisans who would put nine Cardinals on their ballots if they could, but they can only pick one. In reality, MVP ballots have 10 spots on them, and not everybody in the country has as much regard for the Cardinals as do the voters from Miklasz's own paper.

Now that we've seen the voting results, Molina had no chance to win the award. He should have finished second. And Molina would have been second without Carpenter making a strong showing.

Er, what? Every time someone put Matt Carpenter second on his or her ballot, that bumped Goldschmidt down a spot too. Is the idea that, once you put one Cardinal on your ballot, you've got to wait a certain number of spots before putting on another one? Because a majority of voters who put Carpenter second on the ballot had Molina before Goldschmidt. I'm confused.

It really didn't matter what any other NL player did in 2013; this MVP was going to be handed to McCutchen, and voters had their minds made up as soon as the "Cinderella" Pirates clinched a winning season, then a playoff spot.

This is true; MVP voters do not make their choices based primarily on who played the best. But in this case, McCutchen happened to play the best anyway. So who cares? If you have a problem with the way MVPs are decided, maybe you could look at what's happening in the American League, because the best player in baseball is getting a raw deal over there. In the National League, the right guy won.

McCutchen was a worthy winner. I criticize no one who voted him first.

Then what's the problem?

Frankly, there isn't much much more (if anything) that Molina can do to win an MVP.

He could try hitting better, or staying healthy the whole season. He might also try establishing some distance from fellow MVP candidate Allen Craig before September. If that doesn't work, there's always bribery.

If Molina can't win it in a 2013 season in which he (A) won the Gold glove for defense; (B) won the Silver Slugger for offense; and (C) was the best player on the team with the NL's best record ... well, I ask you: when exactly will he win it?

Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers are awarded just as illogically as MVPs, and they only compare a player to other players at his position. Molina was the best catcher in the National League. That doesn't make him an MVP.

I get to watch Molina play on a daily basis, so I have a full understanding of just how essential Yadi is to every aspect of Cardinals' baseball.

Well, I get to watch McCutchen on a daily basis, so I have a full understanding of how Andrew is better than a cross between Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays and Vincent Van Gogh and Mother Teresa. You lose!

I really believe you have to see it every day to fully appreciate Molina's all-around brilliance, which transcends baseball-card stats and grade-school level baseball analysis.

And I really believe you have to see it every day to fully appreciate McCutchen's all-around brilliance, which transcends space and time and all boundaries of human experience. Oh, you think that's hyperbolic? Well, do you watch McCutchen play every day? No? Then you're wrong.

There aren't enough hours in the day to watch every MVP candidate play every second, so by Miklasz's logic, there's no way for anyone to have an educated opinion about any of this. Talk about "grade-school level baseball analysis." This 'you didn't watch him' stuff comes from the same strain of thinking as eight-year-olds yelling "Infinity jinx!" at each other.

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