By: Noah Wright
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
JD Martinez has had an overall fantastic season. The DH/LF has batted .333/.401/.669 with 37 home runs, 104 RBI’s, and worth 186 wRC+. What’s more impressive is that he leads The AL in home runs, RBI’s, and isn’t that far behind teammate Mookie Betts for the batting title. If he takes over the batting title, JD could take home a triple-crown, but even if he does overtake Mookie in average and wins The Triple-Crown, will it even be enough for him to win MVP? I contest that even with a triple-crown season, JDM still won’t win MVP, and I’m here to explain why.
To start, there’s so much competition for The AL MVP. Teammate Mookie Betts looks to be one of the front runners for MVP. Even with Mike Trout on The DL, he’s always in contention for the MVP. On the pitching side, another one of JDM’s teammates may even get some consideration. Chris Sale is currently pitching for a 1.97 ERA, 1.95 FIP, .849 WHIP, and very impressive 13.5 K/9 rate, while only walking about 2 batters per 9. Sale also has the chance to reach 300+ strikeouts on the season for the second year in a row. Indians’ third baseman Jose Ramirez also looks to be a good contender for MVP as well. Ramirez is currently batting .298/.409/.624 with 34 home runs, 78 RBI’s, and 172 wRC+. Another thing worth noting that like Betts, Ramirez is on pace to reach a 30/30 season. It’s also not completely out of the question if he could reach 40/40. Something that hasn’t been done since Alfonso Soriano in 2006.
However I think the big underlying reasons JD Martinez could still not win MVP even if he gets a Triple-Crown is the position he plays. Martinez has mainly seen time at DH, and when he plays corner outfield every so often, he’s worth -1.1 in defensive WAR. Compared to previously mentioned players, Mookie has been worth .9 defensive WAR this season, Ramirez has been worth 1 defensive WAR, and Trout has been worth .8 defensive WAR this season. JDM also isn’t contributing much on the base paths either. The least amount of stolen bases among the trio I have mentioned, Trout has the least at 21. WAR also agrees that JDM isn’t as valuable as some other players. Baseball Reference pegs him at 5.6 WAR, but peg Ramirez, Betts, and Trout around 7-to-8 WAR
In the end, I do not see JD Martinez winning The MVP, even if he wins The Triple Crown. MVP is for the most valuable player in each league, and there are players who provide more value than JDM. JD may provide value in his bat, but there are players who are batting just as good as him, while also providing value with speed, and fielding ability, something that Martinez lacks.