Starlin Castro Is A MVP Candidate


One of the most popular debates in the game of baseball is the MVP debate. There are two sides to the argument about what player should be the Most Valuable Player of their respective league. Should the award go to the player who has had the statistically best season, or the player who has had the statistically best season while playing for a playoff team. My interpretation of the MVP award is that it should be given to the player who brings the most value to his team. The value that player brings can come from a variety of areas whether it be because of his offensive production, defensive ability, off the field leadership, etc.

If you couldn’t tell by the title, the reason Cubs fans should concern themselves with the MVP race is because shortstop Starlin Castro should also be among the candidates. However, with the Cubs being 18 games under the .500 mark, Castro does not appear to be getting the recognition that he deserves.

August is around the time when many baseball writers begin to list their MVP candidates for the respective leagues. David Schoenfield of ESPN is no different. Schoenfield takes an in-depth look at different categories in which a MVP should be judged by, and ranks the National League candidates by those categories. For example, if the MVP race was based on best player with the most RBIs, Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers would be the front-runner for the National League MVP race. Despite the numerous categories that Schoenfield lists, Starlin Castro is not mentioned in any of them. In fact, Castro is not mentioned at all in the entire story.

Toward the end of his story, Schoenfield lists Kemp, Jose Reyes of the New York Mets, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers. Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks as the candidates for the National League MVP. To prove that those players belong in consideration for the MVP race lets take a look at how each player is performing this season.

Matt Kemp: .314/.390/.569/.959, 26 home runs, 84 RBIs, 29 stolen bases

Jose Reyes: .336/.377/.507/.884, 47 extra base hits, 34 stolen bases

Ryan Braun: .321/.391/.569/.960, 21 home runs, 74 RBIs

Andrew McCutchen: .273/.372/.464/.837, 15 home runs, 64 RBIs, 28 doubles

Justin Upton: .296/.371/.548/.918, 23 home runs, 72 RBIs, 32 doubles

The Pittsburgh Pirates were a nice story for most of the season, but with their recent losing streak, the Pirates have fallen out of the National League central race. Having said that, it is also safe to say that McCutchen is not a viable MVP candidate. If the Pirates were to remain in the division race for the entire season, then considering the circumstances, McCutchen would be worthy of some MVP consideration. But with Kemp– who deserves the MVP award as much as any other candidate–on the Los Angeles Dodgers and McCutchen on the Pirates, it is fair to suggest that Castro should be mentioned as a National League MVP candidate.

Castro is hitting .313/.341/.442/.783 this season. While his line may not be as strong as some of the other candidates, it should not be forgotten that Castro leads the National League in hits with 151. Castro also has 44 multi-hit games this season. which is second only to Jose Reyes who has 50. While Castro does not have the power numbers of some of the other candidates, that should not exclude the Cubs’ shortstop from being mentioned as a MVP candidate.

Besides, if the MVP award goes to the player who brings the most value to his team then Castro definitely fits the criteria. Think about how bad the Cubs have been this season, now imagine those struggles ten times worse if Castro was not the team’s shortstop. In addition, one of the key determining factors of value should be the amount of fan interest the player generates. If you were to poll Cubs fans, most of them would say that only reason they continue to watch the Cubs this season is because of Castro.

While Castro should by no means be considered one of the top MVP candidates, the second-year shortstop should at least be in the conversation.