Miami Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara

Sandy Alcantara. As attention begins to focus on the National League Most Valuable Player race, the Miami Marlins pitcher is a deserving name you probably won’t hear much about.

Alcantara won’t get much serious consideration for the price for several reasons, all of them bad. To date, almost all of that attention has gone to St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, the likely winner.

Statistically, however, virtually every number that modern voters tend to consider in their consideration of “value” favors Alcantara. With a quarter of the season remaining, those numbers aren’t overwhelming, meaning that at the end of the season the final judgment could legitimately swing.

Miami Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara has a strong case for NL MVP

For now, however, an intellectually honest MVP ballot would show Alcantara in the lead.

By modern measurement standards of “value,” two or three top the list.

  • Earn above replacement. In games on August 19, Alcantara produced 6.8 WAR for his Miami Marlins. It’s a better NL. Goldschmidt’s WAR in St. Louis is right on Alcantara’s heels, at 6.7. This number is therefore a virtual draw, with a slight advantage over Alcantara.
  • OPS+/ERA+. This stat is an assessment of the player’s superiority to league averages, with 100 equaling an average payer. Goldschmidt’s OPS+ currently sits at 200, which identifies him as exactly twice as productive as his peers. But Alcantara’s ERA+ of 210 again gives him a slight statistical advantage.
  • Batter-pitcher games. Goldschmidt has a league-leading .421 on-base average, meaning he’s “won” 42.1 percent of his individual pitcher-batter battles. Again, this is MVP worthy. But Alcantara has faced 663 opposing batters so far this season and only allowed 169 of them to reach base. That’s a 74.6% refusal rate, significantly higher than Goldschmidt’s 42.1% success rate.

It is possible to tilt this argument towards Goldschmidt by comparing players to league standards. Alcantara’s denial rate is 6.1% higher than the average NL pitcher’s 68.5% denial rate. Goldschmidt’s 42.1 pass rate is 10.6% higher than the NL average pass rate.

When it comes to MVP voting, the biggest knock against pitchers tends to be precisely that they are pitchers, which means they have far less influence in games than everyday gamers. At the most simplistic level, this is obviously true. Goldschmidt played 112 games for his Cardinals, Alcantara only 24 for his Marlins.

But the superficiality of this simplistic approach was suggested in the paragraph concerning batter-pitcher match-ups. Goldschmidt may have played in a lot more games, but to date he has “only” influenced the outcome of 486 batter-pitcher matchups, that is, the number of his plate appearances. Far from being a liability, Alcantara actually has a big advantage in game influence, having faced 663 opposing batters. That’s 167 more chances to influence the outcome of a game than Goldschmidt has had.

Even throwing in intangibles such as Goldschmidt’s “influence” from being in the circle on the bridge, or his field prowess – and for the record, his field stats are perfectly average – and it’s still impossible to even approach the substantial advantage of Alcantara in the game. influence.

The Alcantara advantage ends up being reflected in the added win probability as well. He provided Miami’s 4.9 win probability games on the season; Goldschmidt added a 4.6 win probability for the Cardinals. This is another advantage, although also preliminary and fluid, for Alcantara.

The other common argument that will be used to advance Goldschmidt’s MVP bid over Alcantara’s is that the Goldschmidt Cardinals are in contention in NL Central, while the Alcantara Marlins are not in contention in the NL Central. East of NL.

Indeed, we are already hearing rumors of this “downside” in the discussion of the NL Cy Young race, where Alcantara is one of the main contenders. Advocates for his main challengers in this contest, including Tony Gonsolin of Los Angeles and Max Fried of Atlanta, allude to this distinction at the start of their presentations.

Because value is value, that’s as fallacious an argument for MVP as it is for Cy Young. Logically in the case of the Marlins pitcher, it boils down to: Sandy Alcantara can’t be MVP (or winner of Cy Young) because Brian Anderson, Trevor Rogers and Jacob Stallings stink. What alternate universe is this logical thought in?

None of this is to say that Alcantara should be the choice of NL MVP voters at the end of the season. His margins over Goldschmidt are close enough that judgment could easily swing by the start of postseason games.

But they are making the case, at this point at least, for serious consideration of Alcantara for his league’s top on-court honor. If the vote happened today, he probably wouldn’t even make the top three, even though statistically he would deserve the trophy.

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