Chicago Cubs: Ranking the team’s top five MVP candidates

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: #5 – UTIL Ben Zobrist

Zo’s value as a utility man is always a check mark in his “plus” column. Unfortunately, 2017 didn’t represent his best work and many began to opine that his best days may be behind him. What many didn’t know was Zo played through significant wrist pain in ’17.

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It’s clear thus far in 2018 that Zobrist is healthy once again, and his numbers bear this out. Beyond his .296 average and OPS over .800, Ben has been outstanding in Cubs wins.

More than numbers

Being an MVP sometimes is more than just the raw numbers. This rings true in Zobrist’s case, as he has consistently demonstrated in the clutch for Chicago.

Of course it should come as no surprise, considering his performance in clutch situations in 2016. But even the most loyal Zo fan would be a bit surprised to know that he is currently second on the team in game-winning  RBI, with six.

Zobrist lacks the flash and flair of many on the team. He is long-in-the-tooth and about as vanilla as they come. Regardless, the “Vanilla Zorilla” (see what I did there??) is a big reason the Cubs remain a force to reckon with in the National League Central.