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John Dewan's Stat of the Week


Who Are The 2015 MVP Candidates?

August 31, 2015

In 2014, Clayton Kershaw became just the second pitcher to win an MVP award in the last 20 years. In some ways, he has been just as dominant this season as he was last season. Specifically, he is striking out 11.5 batters per nine innings, up from 10.9 in 2014. However, while sabermetrics are slowly becoming an accepted part of the voters’ decision-making, Kershaw’s 11-and-6 record is a far cry from his 21-and-3 record in 2014 and may keep him out of the running.

If any pitcher could compete for the award this season, it’s Kershaw’s teammate Zack Greinke. Greinke does not share Kershaw’s amazing peripheral statistics, but his 1.61 ERA is the only one under 2.00 among qualified starters and his 14-and-3 record is likely more palatable for voters.

The real key for Greinke may be the fact that the Dodgers, despite some recent troubles, still sit atop the NL West standings. Greinke is the only member of the top five in NL Total Runs—a measure of player value based on his offensive, defensive, pitching, and baserunning contributions—who would make the playoffs if the season ended today, which may it his award to lose unless the standings change.

National League Leaders in Total Runs, 2015
Player Runs Created Pitching Runs Created BR Runs Defensive Runs Saved Positional Adjustment Total Runs
Paul Goldschmidt 111 0 2 14 10 137
Bryce Harper 111 0 0 11 15 137
Zack Greinke 5 108 -1 8 2 122
Joey Votto 108 0 -2 5 10 121
Buster Posey 75 0 1 19 24 119


For most of the season, Bryce Harper has looked like the clear-cut favorite to win the NL award, and he remains tied for the lead with 137 Total Runs. He also is tied for the NL lead with 31 home runs and is in the NL lead with a .457 on-base percentage. However, Harper may see some resistance from the voters if the struggling Nationals fail to reach the postseason. If the Nationals make the playoffs, Harper will likely lock down the award. Meanwhile, if the Nationals fall short and Buster Posey’s Giants can rebound to make the playoffs, that may be enough to push Posey over the top.

American League Leaders in Total Runs, 2015
Player Runs Created Pitching Runs Created BR Runs Defensive Runs Saved Positional Adjustment Total Runs
Josh Donaldson 103 0 4 10 18 135
Mike Trout 99 0 2 3 22 126
Ian Kinsler 78 0 2 12 25 117
Manny Machado 85 0 -3 14 20 116
Lorenzo Cain 76 0 5 13 20 114


The AL MVP race is much more straightforward. Josh Donaldson has a fairly comfortable lead with 135 Total Runs, is second in baseball with 36 home runs, and plays for the surging Blue Jays who are on track to win the AL East for the first time since 1993.

The man closest to Donaldson is 2014 MVP winner Mike Trout, who has put together another incredible season. The biggest upset in all of this may be that Trout could have just one MVP trophy after the unprecedented first four full seasons he has had in his career.

Search Archived Stats of the Week

Published Date:

 TitlePublished Date
Edit Who Are The 2015 MVP Candidates? Aug 31 2015
Edit Cannon Arms in 2015 Aug 28 2015
Edit What a Month for the White Sox Aug 07 2015
Edit Tulowitzki is a Defensive Upgrade Over Reyes Jul 31 2015
Edit Curtis Granderson Defense-Independent Batting Statistics Jul 24 2015
Edit Infield Hits by Speed Score Jul 07 2015
Edit Is Max Scherzer the World’s Best Pitcher? Jun 29 2015
Edit AL Central – Defense-Independent Standings Jun 17 2015
Edit Who Will Throw the Next No-Hitter? Jun 11 2015
Edit 2015 Booms and Busts May 29 2015
Edit Are the Padres’ Outfielders Hitting Enough? May 20 2015
Edit Who are the Best and Worst Defensive Teams So Far? May 14 2015
Edit Who's Hot and Who's Not...according to Bill James Apr 30 2015
Edit Shifts Continue to Rise Apr 23 2015
Edit Home Runs and Home Run Robberies Apr 15 2015
Edit What is the Upper Limit of Shifts? Mar 30 2015
Edit A Strike on Every Pitch? Mar 20 2015
Edit Could Jonathan Lucroy Be As Good As Yadier Molina? Mar 06 2015
Edit Who Will Be The 2015 Statistical Leaders? Feb 26 2015
Edit Shift or Get Off the Pot Feb 13 2015
Edit The Best Projected Defensive Infield and Outfield Feb 06 2015
Edit Let's Eliminate The Shift Jan 30 2015
Edit The Most Pitcher & Hitter Friendly Umpires Jan 16 2015
Edit The Best Baserunning Team in MLB Jan 09 2015
Edit Are Defensive Runs Saved Predictive? Dec 31 2014
Edit The Downside of the Recent Padres Acquisitions Dec 19 2014
Edit The Flat Bat Award 2014 Dec 04 2014
Edit Mark Buehrle – One of the Most Durable Pitchers of All Time Nov 25 2014
Edit Is Madison Bumgarner the World's #1 Starting Pitcher? Nov 14 2014
Edit Giants Defensive Positioning a Big Assist in Game 7 Victory Nov 05 2014
Edit The 2014 Fielding Bible Awards Oct 30 2014
Edit Who Gives a Shift? Oct 23 2014
Edit Who are the 2014 Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part II) Oct 06 2014
Edit Who are the 2014 Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part I) Oct 01 2014
Edit Pitchers with the Best and Worst Run Support Sep 18 2014
Edit Which teams have come on in the second half? Sep 09 2014
Edit Instant Replay Sep 02 2014
Edit Top Defensive Players for 2014 Aug 20 2014
Edit Who Are The 2014 MVP Candidates? Aug 08 2014
Edit How Do Shifts Affect League-Wide Batting Averages? Jul 25 2014
Edit The Best and Worst Baserunners in 2014 Jul 18 2014
Edit The White Sox Blow Another Lead Jul 10 2014
Edit Shifts Against Right-Handed Hitters Jun 26 2014
Edit Cannon Arms in 2014 Jun 10 2014
Edit The Most Improved Defensive Teams Jun 06 2014
Edit How Many More No-Hitters This Year? May 29 2014
Edit Rookie of the Year – Tanaka or Abreu? May 16 2014
Edit Can the National League Reverse a 10-Year Trend? May 09 2014
Edit Who Are the Best and Worst Defensive Teams So Far? Apr 25 2014
Edit Shifts Still on the Rise Apr 18 2014
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