July 22, 2014
Your Team MVP Bingo Ballot
Over at Fox Sports' Just A Bit Outside, I wrote a piece today on Team MVPs—not just those semi-official things that BBWAA chapters hand out, but the wholly unofficial "So'n So is Our MVP" claims that managers, players and beat writers will sometimes make. It is, I argue in the piece, the most chaotic and desperate circle of baseball debate, but it also has a long history and a certain consistency to it. I broke down the six and a half categories of Team MVP rebellion.
So who will be this year's shock Team MVPs? The Mike Gallego or Mike Remlinger of 2014? The otherwise unheralded player whose manager, on the record, says is more valuable than the 6-WARP player batting four spots higher in the same lineup? Well, here's your Bingo card. Let's see how many we can strike off by the end of the year.
We've already got Josh Harrison crossed off. Eyeballing it, it looks to me like the best route would be straight down in the "I" column. Markakis has gotten "Our MVP" love on Orioles message boards, and his manager pushed him as an unorthodox All-Star candidate; Suzuki fills the catcher, veteran and unexpected surprise categories of Team MVPs; Holt arguably is the Red Sox' team MVP this year, though I don't suppose that's likely to hold, personally. Despaigne is the toughest one, partly because the Padres haven't done enough to even merit "Our MVP" talk. But he came out of nowhere and settled down a rotation. Could happen.
The diagonal journey southeast would be my pick but for the Mike Trout factor. Left-to-right is okay, but there are way too many "Our MVP" types on Oakland to bet on any one, and Dominguez doesn't quite feel right. (Nobody on Houston does except Altuve, who is too truly great to qualify for this Bingo board.) Maybe the N and G columns going down.
There are, incidentally, no Rangers on this Bingo board. You go to your room and think about what you've done, Rangers.
Update: Doggone it, a missed opportunity. This is why I should have made more Bingo cards.