Case against Kershaw for MVP: 198 innings. Monday, November 10, 2014
The modern MVP started in 1931 with a winner selected in each of the two major leagues: American and National...
The CY award was started in 1956 because pitchers were winning the MVP award too often...
Starters pitch in less than 25% of their team games. 162 games multiplied by 9 innings equals 1,458 innings. A player should appear in at least 80% to be considered full time. If a pitcher throws in 200 innings he appears in about 14% of his team's innings...
If a pitcher strikes out 200 batters he is retiring 4.5% (of his team's outs). 300 strike outs: 6.85%...
Kershaw gets a break in that the other two finalists also missed time in 2014 after being hit by pitch:
- Giancarlo Stanton: 145 games, 638 plate appearances
- Andrew McCutchen: 146 games, 648 plate appearances
- Clayton Kershaw: 27 games, 198 innings pitched.
What the heck? You can play WAR games all you want but it doesn't make sense. Clayton Kershaw should not be voted MVP. Personally, I like Stanton but I'm OK with McCutchen winning his second consecutive.
Kershaw pitched in only 27 of his team's 162 games: 16.66%. The Dodgers played 135 games without Kershaw. So, how valuable could Kershaw have possibly been when he did nothing in 83% of the games? NOTHING. Here are MVP pitchers through 2013:
Ignoring the four really absurd cases of relief pitchers winning MVP:
most games 50 (17 in relief) Dizzy Dean 1934
fewest games 30 (all starts) Spud Chandler 1943
most starts 41 (no relief) Denny McLain 1968
fewest starts 30 Lefty Grove 1931 (11 in relief), Spud Chandler 1943
most innings 336 Denny McLain 1968
fewest innings 251 Justin Verlander 2011
most wins 31 Denny McLain 1968 and Lefty Grove 1931
fewest wins 20 Spud Chandler 1943
most losses Carl Hubbell 12 1933
fewest 4 losses Lefty Grove 1931, Roger Clemens 1986, Spud Chandler 1943
The fewest innings by a starter (251) through 2013 is 27% more than the 198 Kershaw had in 2014.
The fewest games by a starter (30 in a 154 game schedule, 19.48%) compared to Kershaw's 27 of 162 games, 16.66%.
Kershaw would have the fewest losses and one more win than Chandler. But the very low participation in his team's games makes Kershaw a very dubious MVP candidate.
1933 Goudey baseball card of Robert "Lefty" Grove of the Philadelphia Athletics by Goudey [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons