The finalists for the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player award were announced today, and Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto was among the three finalists. Because of course he was:

Votto, of course, won the National League MVP back in 2010, when he hit .324/.424/.600 with 37 home runs and 113 RBI, with 6.9 wins above replacement. In 2017, at age 34 (an age when most players are declining), Votto posted a gem of a season. Mark Sheldon has the details:

Votto, 34, had what he considered the best season of his 11-year Major League career. While starting all 162 games, he batted .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBIs, 106 runs and 7.5 wins above replacement. He led the NL in on-base percentage, OPS (1.032) and walks (134).

This marks the third time that Votto is an NL MVP finalist. He finished third in the 2015 vote. He came in seventh in ’16. The BBWAA electorate consists of two voters in each of the 15 NL cities with points awarded to each player from first through 10th-place votes.

Sheldon has more fun facts about Votto, so go read his entire piece.

Votto, who was named to his fifth All-Star team this season, wasn’t just a great hitter — though he is certainly a historically great hitter. But Votto was also named a finalist for the Gold Glove award among National League first basemen, after a spectacular (and much-improved) season defensively.

Of course, Joey will have some tough competition for this year’s MVP, as Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt and Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton each had outstanding seasons. Goldschmidt, also a Gold Glove finalist among first basemen, hit .297/.404/.563 with 36 home runs and 120 RBI, along with 5.8 WAR. Marlins outfielder Stanton was the NL home run king, hitting 59 bombs to go along with 132 RBI and a slash line of .281/.376/.631 and 7.6 WAR.

So yeah, Stanton and Goldschmidt are both great players. But Joey Votto is the most valuable player, right? I say he is, and that’s that.

16 Responses

  1. cfd3000

    Votto for Captain. And MVP. And Gold Glove. And Silver Slugger. Because he’s Joey Votto of course.

  2. BK

    The numbers don’t lie … Votto for MVP!

  3. Shchi Cossack

    Reds fans should be thrilled to have Joey Votto included among the finalist for NL MVP since he played for a bad, last place team. Even more amazing is that Votto accomplished this playing in his age 33 season with no indication or expectation that next season won’t be equally impressive. I really hope all baseball fans can appreciate the excellence that is Joey Votto.

    • Matt WI

      Absolutely. The fact that he didn’t fall through the cracks and is getting recognized in the top 3 is already a win from how it could have gone.

  4. Ethan L

    Do they not use WAR to determine this? Votto is 4th in NL, Goldie is 10th, and Stanton is tied for 1st. Out of this group, Stanton will take it due to his homerun totals. Had the ball not been juiced, I think Votto could have a better shot b/c what Votto does transcends gimmicks to create more “drama”. Votto’s method is timeless. He would succeed in any era. And BTW, his wRC+ is 10 higher than Stanton meaning Votto was better offensively than Stanton. Stanton’s inflated HR totals will get him the MVP though.

    There’s no love here for Rendon or Bryant here. I don’t want there to be, but Rendon is tied for 1st in WAR and Bryant is 3rd. I don’t know the criteria, but it obviously goes beyond stats. I’d be interested to know the selection process.

    • Matt WI

      I’m sure there are some general criteria laid out for voters to consider, but no, it would never just be a straight vote on WAR. Then they wouldn’t have to vote. Plenty of people who vote will be ignoring WAR.

    • Colorado Red

      Nolan and Charlie missed the top 3.
      Not sure I understand that.
      Both of these are above Rendon and Bryant.

      • VaRedsFan

        True…both of them should have been in the top 3. The voters need to put the crack pipe down

    • Shchi Cossack

      The positional modification is the missing component in the WAR calculation. Playing 3B has a significant built in advantage over playing 1B when calculating WAR.

      • Ethan L

        I didn’t know that. Could you elaborate and/or send me a link. This is good info to have!

      • Shchi Cossack

        Sure thing!

        WAR = (Batting Runs + Base Running Runs +Fielding Runs + Positional Adjustment + League Adjustment +Replacement Runs) / (Runs Per Win)

        FanGraphs positional adjustments used in WAR (all are per 162 defensive games):

        Catcher: +12.5 runs
        First Base: -12.5 runs
        Second Base: +2.5 runs
        Third Base: +2.5 runs
        Shortstop: +7.5 runs
        Left Field: -7.5 runs
        Center Field: +2.5 runs
        Right Field: -7.5 runs
        Designated Hitter: -17.5 runs

    • VaRedsFan

      @ Ethan. So Stanton was the only player that got to use juiced balls? Votto knocked his 36 dingers with dead ones huh? Stanton plays in the grand-canyon-like MArlins Park. Votto got to flip his out over the short fences of GABP.

      It’s great the Votto is in the top 3, but there’s no reason to disrespect Stanton’s numbers.

      • Ethan L

        My point was Stanton relies more on power. I think his WAR was more positively impacted by the juiced ball than Votto’s. Votto’s HR totals were definitely inflated too thus inflating his WAR. However, I feel Votto is a little more versatile with his offense meaning not only does he hit for power but he also gets on base. Stanton doesn’t rely on getting on base as much (376 OBP vs Votto’s 454). Yes, the juiced ball help both. But b/c Stanton relies more solely on power that Votto, his stats would be a little more inflated that Votto’s b/c Votto doesn’t rely solely on power. It’s kind of like Stanton has most of his money in the power stock in baseball’s stock market. Votto has his money spread across power and obp. Thus, when the numbers for the power stock are manipulated positively, both profit, but Stanton profits more. On the other hand, if the ball were to manipulated to reduce HRs, you would see a more dramatic drop in Stanton’s numbers than Votto’s. I was trying to laud Votto for his more all-around approach and point out that perhaps Stanton is more one-dimensional offensively.

  5. cfd3000

    Now that I think about it a little more, though I’m thrilled that Votto is one of the three finalists and deservedly so, I’m a bit surprised that Arenado and Blackmon were both left out. Both had incredible seasons. Was each hurt, perhaps, by the success of his teammate, splitting the Rockies vote? And Rendon picked a tough year to play so well. His numbers were good enough to have won the award in some years, yet probably was the 6th best player this year.

    Because this is not a “best” award but a “valuable” award, it should probably go to Goldschmidt, but by all advanced stats, and several older school stats as well, Votto was probably “Best”. He’s a marvel and I’m delighted he plays for our Reds.

    • Broseph

      The “Coors” effect. Blackmon had Billy Hamilton- like road splits. Over .400 drop in OPS from Home to away.

      Arenado had this as well, but more like Votto’s at .100 OPS lower for road games. Arenado top three? Yes. Blackmon. No