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SportsDash: Mike Trout, Bryce Harper are my MVP picks

Mar 28, 2014, 2:33 PM EDT

There’s a certain segment of baseball fans, heavily concentrated in the southeastern part of Michigan, who think that anything other than bowing before Miguel Cabrera and anything other than spitting on the ground whenever Mike Trout‘s name is mentioned is the height of disrespect.

I don’t care.

  1. doctorofsmuganomics - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    I’m sure your words are a dagger to the heart Craig.

  2. tigers182 - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Over dramatic maybe? Over sensitive maybe?

    It wasn’t southeastern michigan who voted him MVP. Believe it or not, some people have different opinions and I know it may be hard to understand, but maybe there is some validity to a triple crown winner.

  3. cfmaguire9 - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    ….End of story. Case Closed. Goodbye.

  4. yahmule - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    Trout is better, younger and handsomer.

    BOOM!

  5. themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    I humbly submit Yasiel Puig as your dark horse candidate for MVP

    (pun intended)

  6. thomas844 - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    I can name 4 guys on the Cardinals alone (Holliday, Craig, Carpenter, Molina) that I would take over Harper for NL MVP……. and I’m a Reds fan.

    • cohnjusack - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      Holliday is turning 34 and is not going to get better. Allen Craig is a corner outfielder who hit 13 homers with a 131 OPS+ last year….good but not really MVP good. Matt Carpenter, while certainly MVP material last year wouldn’t be my first pick to repeat it. Molina may have a shot, but he’s turning 31 which isn’t exactly peak age for catchers (though Yadi hasn’t exactly followed a very normal career path).

      Yes sir, I would rate this comment as pretty darn silly.

      • dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        Craig’s also not a very good defender.

      • thomas844 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        So having a different opinion than you makes it silly? That’s a pretty closed-minded statement, there. Allen Craig may not be a major home run hitter, but his season was cut a bit short and all of his other stats were great. Yadi is going to be Yadi, who is the best all-around catcher and leader in baseball. Holliday being 34 shouldn’t impede his consistent hitting. His OPS has been .877 or greater for the past 7 seasons now. Matt Carpenter is still young and led the league in runs, doubles and hits last year. I see no reason why he can’t put up MVP-caliber numbers again this year.

        I’m not saying Harper can’t have an MVP-caliber year. I just have more confidence in these four guys because they have all proven themselves more.

      • cohnjusack - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:11 PM

        Well…yes. See, you put forth your opinion in a forum that allows responses. I therefore responded, notifying you of my opinion and stated that yours was “silly”. I fail to see the confusion here…

    • renaado - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:20 PM

      Freeman Man !! Why would you forget Freddie Freeman !?

      • thomas844 - Mar 29, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        I would absolutely take Freeman over Harper, as I would other players around the NL like Votto, Stanton, Puig, and McCutchen. I was just trying to make the point that I think there are multiple players on one team that are going to be better than Harper in 2014, let alone the entire National League.

  7. charlutes - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Do you even know of any players besides the three trendiest names in baseball? You come off as having the same ideas as most 15 year old girls. Yes, Trout is great. This is somehow hard hitting information in your snarky brain? Votto, McCutchen, Gonzalez, Goldy…Go find out there’s more than three guys in baseball and you can continue to act like an “expert”.

    I like Harper’s game but do you have anything to back up your prediction for MVP besides a crush? All the guys I listed are far superior, obviously, since Harper has never come close to touching any of their best numbers. The guy has never come close to hitting .300.

    Congrats on pretending to watch baseball though.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      Yeah, I’m a total phony for picking the best all-around player in baseball to be the MVP.

      I guess I shoulda picked Willie Bloomquist. Way more legit, less-obvious pick.

      • cfmaguire9 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        hipster baseball fans… worst.

      • kylewo - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        Trout is better than Miggy. Miggy is second best. No shame there. Maybe there are historical reasons for giving a triple crown winner (first since 1967) the MVP. But, statistical analysis says otherwise. I guess I’m a hipster too. I didn’t realize mathematical literacy puts a person in that camp, but now I know. I’m a hipster. Huh.

      • cfmaguire9 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        I wasn’t directing the “hipster” remark at anyone in particular, but it seems like when people argue about (who’s going to be in 2014) the best of the best of the best…. 10-15 possible guys out of 700+…it’s just really splitting hairs. One can like both Trout and Cabrera.

      • kylewo - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        I’m the guy that liked your hipster comment. Ironically of course in the spirit of hipsterdom. Took that as a joke. Of course there are different opinions, I simply think that one can make a better case for Trout based on advanced metrics. Some people don’t subscribe to that. I admit I’m not 100% sure why.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:12 PM

      Picking the MVP at this point is nothing more than a guess whether its Craig Calcaterra, Buster Olney or any other prognosticator who maybe you respect. I’ll never understand why these things bother people so much.

      • kylewo - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:17 PM

        It isn’t normal, that’s for sure.

  8. creek0512 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    @thomas844

    And the voters agree with you as all 4 of them got more votes than Harper in the MVP voting, along with Wainwright.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      You do realize I’m talking about the 2014 season, not 2013. They play new games this year and everything.

  9. buggieowens - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Craig, I may be a day early on your overall 2014 predictions, but I want to remind the great prognosticators of this story you reported on last year:

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/03/29/2013-preview-the-hardballtalk-staff-predictions/

    I noticed that out of all the experts and all the commentators, there was only one person who picked the Red Sox to win the W.S.

    That far-seeing person would be me. (of course, I pick the Red Sox to win every year, so there’s that).

    I would be bragging but my success rate over the last 37 years is only 8% (a 3% improvement from last year)

    In the immortal words of Nick Burns…..”you’re welcome”

  10. charlutes - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Who is the best player in baseball, Harper? I hope you mean Trout. Uh yeah, it’s a new season, so that means a guy who’s never hit over .280 is gonna be MVP because….he’s trendy? Why else Craig, enlighten us. Why not some less trendy guy who hits over .300 every season, this should be good.

    • themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:29 PM

      Why not some less trendy guy who hits over .300 every season

      Puig, right?

    • Tick - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      You what’s even more trendy than picking Harper? Bagging on Harper and talking as if he has no skills just because you’re tired of hearing his name.

  11. charlutes - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    I said you’re being obvious in picking Trout, and a phony for picking Harper. Because you are.

    • themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      I agree. He should have selected Puig

  12. charlutes - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    It doesn’t bother me to have a baseball argument. If it bothers you this isn’t your forum. I’m questioning the logic behind his Harper pick. I assume he is now hiding head firmly in sand cuz really, how you gonna justify that one?

    • themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      He’s hiding from Puig

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      Or you could’ve watched the video.

      My view: Harper is healthy this year. He’s going to be batting fifth in the lineup of a team I expect to strongly contend and I believe he is the best hitter in the lineup. The hitting fifth will give him a lot of RBI opportunities. And while RBIs don’t matter much, MVP voters like them. And while a team going to the playoffs a year after they disappointed shouldn’t give anyone extra points, awards voters tend to like that too.

      So: productive, RBI hitter on a surprise team is primed for the “he carried them into the playoffs” talk. Those are the guys who often find themselves in the thick of the MVP race and those are the sorts of people who are reasonable predictions for the MVP.

      As for who I think is, objectively, the most valuable player? I wait until actual games are played for that.

    • bobhorner - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      I like how you leave out the fact that Harper was hitting .344 after ~45 games last year before he hurt this knee.

      I’m probably giving you too much credit though…odds are you weren’t aware of that…or much else

  13. spartyfi - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    Way to prove you are 100% dork with those horn rimmed glasses like great grandma wears. Looking at you makes me think you took a lot of playground beatings while everyone else actually played sports!

    • buggieowens - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      And yet, he is on TV and you (I assume) are not (COPS doesn’t count). Who knew that having writing skills and a level of intelligence is more to sports blogs than being able to administer a playground beating.

      • buggieowens - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        “more important to sports blogs” grumble edit function blah blah

        Now you see why I don’t have a nationally read blog.

  14. thomas844 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Did you really bring up RBI opportunities as a reason Harper will win the MVP? I thought you always talk about how useless a stat it is.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:04 PM

      I don’t think that’ll make him valuable. But that sort of thing does give guys a huge boost in actual MVP award voting.

      • thomas844 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        That’s a good point. Home runs and RBIs still do seem to give guys that extra attention during MVP voting.

  15. brewcrewfan54 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    What is it about Harpers ability that makes him not an MVP candidate right now?

    • cohnjusack - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:57 PM

      He’s 21 and posted a 133 OPS+ in his age 20 season.

      Which players posted an OPS+ over higher than 133 in their age 20 seasons? There are 8 of them in the live ball era, and they age:

      Tony Conigliaro – 135
      Alex Rodriguez – 136
      Jimmie Foxx- 143
      Frank Robinson – 143
      Mickey Mantle – 144
      Mel Ott – 144
      Mike Trout – 154
      Ted Williams – 160

      Bunch of crumbums if you ask me. No MVP material there. What a silly pick to make Craig.

      • cohnjusack - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        I done screwed that one up! I was looking at “up to and including age 20″ instead of just the age 20 season.
        Repeat: the list above is wrong because I don’t read words no good.

        Regardless, a 133 OPS+ at that young of an age is pretty exceptional and very rare. Add that to his speed and fielding, Harper actually seems like a pretty safe pick.

  16. happytwinsfan - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    no love for the pitchers? can kershaw be selected over harper or whoever if he turns in a pedro at his best type year?

    • cohnjusack - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:58 PM

      Picking a pitcher to win the MVP is a fool’s game as it happens to rarely. Remember that even Pedro didn’t get an MVP is hit most Pedro season.

      • happytwinsfan - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        if i remember right pedro didn’t win because some idiot voter left him off the ballot entirely because he thought a pitcher shouldn’t be selected as a matter of “principle”.

        is this a debate about who most likely should be elected mvp or who most likely will be elected?

  17. charlutes - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    What is it about Harper’s ability that makes him not a MVP candidate…really? His stats? His inferiority to many other players perhaps. Or does MVP stand for the mediocre hitter with the most twitter followers now?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      You got a better pick?

    • dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      “mediocre hitter”

      I don’t see anything mediocre about his hitting stats, but okay.

  18. sfm073 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Nerd alert!

  19. charlutes - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    In a 45 game sample size you can make a case for absolutely anyone. I could list dozens of names that hit .350 over 45 game span last year. Unfortunately the MVP is based on the whole season. There is no reason to take a career sub .280 hitter who hit 20 hrs in 424 ab’s, except that it gets clicks to puke out the name Bryce Harper. None. Oh except apparently RBI’s is Craig’s new barometer. Laughable.

    Who would I take?

    Yadi
    McCutchen
    Tulo (explain how he’s not way better than Harper if they are both healthy)
    Votto
    Goldy
    Posey
    Maybe Freddie freeman
    Allen Craig
    Chase utley is a far superior batter if he’s healthy all year for god sakes… Need more?

    This is embarrassing. I just hope you readily eat crow when Harper hits .280 with 20 hrs again, but I guess you can always just spew out B.s. Cuz your an expert. Lol.

    • extavernmouse - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      Chase Utley??????????

  20. renaado - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    I’d take Freddie Freeman as my MVP pick anytime. Guy’s got an amazing eye in baseball!

  21. mottershead1972 - Mar 29, 2014 at 3:15 AM

    I think Adrian Gonzales is going to have a big year

    • renaado - Mar 29, 2014 at 4:21 AM

      Scary but yeah…. He’s probably goin to have a big year this 2014.

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