FanPost

Should Evan Gattis be in talks for MVP?

There is no doubt El Oso Blanco has already achieved borderline legendary status among many Braves fans, especially those who frequent this site. I myself check this site religiously and have come to almost expect some sort of game recap on a daily basis with the words "Evan Gattis does is again" atop the article. The guy is like a cross between a mythical creature and a Greek hero. We've all seen the jokes about Superman wearing Evan Gattis pajamas, etc. There's even a picture of Darth Vader getting Evan to autograph his lightsaber. And we all know his story. The tough times he suffered through, the long road he took to get where he is, his first career home run that he hit as the TV announcers were interviewing his father. It's been a magical journey that has continued to get even better. Turns out our man Evan also has a flair for the dramatic, launching game-tying homers with two outs in the ninth and coming up big in late pinch hit scenarios. He has no doubt been valuable, especially considering the injured player that he was originally replacing. But how valuable has he been? I decided to take a closer look at the production between a few of the top candidates for MVP and see how Oso measures up.

There seemed to be three names that a lot of people have at the top of the NL MVP list as of this point in the season: Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks, Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies, and our own Jus10 Up10. Many also have Bryce Harper, but I just can't bring myself to admit that he's actually really good. So let's go on with the three I originally mentioned. Goldschmidt is in his second year at first base for the D-Backs and has really shined offensively. Tulo is reminding everyone that he is one of the premier shortstops in the game after being injured last year. His impressive offensive numbers and stellar defense have impressed a lot of people. J-Up set fire to the first month of the season and has since cooled. He is still near the top of the MVP list, however, since he still ranks highly in many offensive categories.

Name

ABs

Avg

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

WAR

WPA+

Goldy

185

0.324

12

40

0.407

0.595

1.002

2.9

6.2

Tulo

161

0.323

10

39

0.391

0.584

0.975

2.4

4.4

Upton

176

0.267

14

29

0.382

0.563

0.945

2

4.5

Gattis

129

0.271

11

31

0.319

0.612

0.932

1.7

4.3

*all statistics from baseball-reference.com

It's easy to see that Goldschmidt looks to be in the lead MVP-wise. All of his offensive numbers are near the top of the league and his WAR and WPA+ are a fair amount higher than the other three guys. Hold on just a second, though. Pure production doesn't tell the whole story when it comes to who is "most valuable." Take a look at the numbers for "late and close" scenarios.

Name

ABs

Avg

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Goldy

36

0.222

2

4

0.300

0.389

0.689

Tulo

24

0.208

1

4

0.310

0.375

0.685

Upton

27

0.333

3

5

0.419

0.704

1.123

Gattis

18

0.389

4

8

0.450

1.111

1.561

*all statistics from baseball-reference.com

Obviously, small sample sizes abound for this comparison, but it is intriguing nonetheless. Besides, how large of a sample size can we reasonably expect for "late and close" situations? There is something to be said about coming up big in the clutch and this season no one has come up bigger than our grizzled back-up catcher (did you catch the bear pun?). That is incredibly valuable to a team. Imagine if Uggla or BJ had those at-bats instead of Evan. What would the Braves' record be?

I'm not saying Gattis is far and away the NL MVP. I'd argue against him being the MVP on his own team (Martin who?). What I am saying is that he deserves to be in the race and he should have people talking about his candidacy. The production is there, the back story is there, the game-changing moments are there. Oh, and just for shiggles, I compared Evan's current season to Bryce Harper's rookie year. A lot of people threw Harper's name into the MVP hat last year. Gattis is currently on pace to have better numbers in batting average, slugging percentage, home runs, doubles, RBI, OPS, WAR, OPS+, ISO, WPA+, WPA, and beard length. How's that for Gattitude?

This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Talking Chop.

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