Could Yoenis Cespedes be the first Met MVP?

Yoenis CespedesThrough the years, New York Met players have won numerous individual awards, from Rookie of the Year to the Cy Young Award, but no Met has ever been voted League MVP. The only other Major League clubs who have not yet had a player win MVP are the Miami Marlins, the Arizona D-Backs and Tampa Bay Rays, all established in the 1990s. The Mets, of course, date back to 1962. Could this be the year that a Met finally wins the MVP?

The most likely candidate from this year’s team is undoubtedly five-tool left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. In 2015 his strong finish led the Mets to the World Series and there was even talk of him winning the award that year despite the fact he only arrived from the Tigers at the trade deadline. Then in 2016, he produced a .280/.354/.530 slash line and earned a solid eighth-place finish in the MVP voting.

Cespedes 31, is still around his prime years in baseball terms, although declining years are not far off. As noted, he produced quite well in 2016, although he did have some leg problems. Perhaps off-season rest and playing exclusively in left field will help his health and allow him to play more games than he did last season.

Looking at some stats, Cespedes did improve in some key areas from 2015 to 2016. In 2015 he drew only 33 walks in 159 games compared to last year when he had 51 walks in 132 games. Thus his 2016 OBP increased from .328 in 2015 to .354 last year. In addition, his strikeout total dropped from 141 Ks in 2015 to 108 in 2016. This data shows improvement in plate discipline for Cespedes. From my observation, in the past he has had trouble with the high hard fastball, especially out of the zone, and also chasing the curveball in the dirt, so if his selectivity at the plate continues to trend up in 2017, he will be even more dangerous at the plate and more valuable to the team.

There are some encouraging signs this spring. Cespedes reported early to spring training, definitely a good sign. His contract situation is settled, so he has security, and he seems to enjoy playing for the Mets. It’s still very early in the exhibition season, but as of this writing, he has hit well in a small sample.

In the past several Mets have come close to winning the MVP award, including Tom Seaver‘s second place finish to Willie McCovey in 1969 and Darryl Strawberry‘s second to Kirk Gibson in 1988. The Mets figure to field a good team this year, assuming last year’s injury outbreak is not repeated. The combination of a good team and a big year from Cespedes just might result in an MVP Award for the slugger, and perhaps result in another pennant banner flying at Citi Field.

22 comments for “Could Yoenis Cespedes be the first Met MVP?

  1. TexasGusCC
    March 1, 2017 at 9:46 am

    A few times Mets players split the vote and had two players finish in the top 10. In 1988, Strawberry and McReynolds finished 2-3, but in 2006 Beltran and Delgado also finished top ten.

  2. MattyMets
    March 1, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Dwight Gooden finished 4th in 1985.

  3. March 1, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I’m willing to trade an MVP, RotY or other player honors for the Commissioner’s Trophy in Cities Field.

    • Eraff
      March 1, 2017 at 12:18 pm

      Yes….. he’d have few team mates capable of forcing a split vote, and that always the first hurdle

    • John Fox
      March 1, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      I agree Mike, and my last sentence in the article implied that.

  4. March 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Actually, my money is on Conforto.

    And probably, no one else is going to win the NL MVP until Bryce Harper joins the Yankees or unless Kris Bryant’s legs fall off…

  5. Chris F
    March 1, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    My money is on Juan Lagares.

    • March 1, 2017 at 6:06 pm

      Now we just need Gus to chime in with Wilmer Flores.

      • TexasGusCC
        March 2, 2017 at 1:29 am

        I actually did think of it, but…

        In all seriousness, I just can’t see Flores as a Met too much longer and would be surprised if he finishes the year. He doesn’t have a position and his salary is rising. Cecchini is ready and with these Coupons he won’t last.

  6. TexasGusCC
    March 2, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Hey, just noticed the new logo!

    We should have a contest to name all the cards, but I think the catcher in the top middle and the lower left is a double.

    And so is the David Wright card on the lower right corner and partially visible in the lower left corner.

    Every time I see Nolan Ryan in a Mets uniform it hurts.

    • March 2, 2017 at 9:23 am

      My son did the logo. I kind of messed him up because I didn’t give him the dimensions to start with. But I did give him 20 cards. He did a google search and got some more that he put in there. And you’re right, there are repeats. Guess he got tired of adding new ones.

      There’s a Lenny Randle card in there for Chris F. and a Jerry Koosman one in there for JP – although both are kind of buried in his mix.

      I’m going to do a podcast with him soon, possibly today, about this. I’ll post the link when it’s finished.

      • Jimmy P
        March 2, 2017 at 10:27 am

        Thanks on Kool Koos!

        • TexasGusCC
          March 2, 2017 at 2:09 pm

          I have a few Flores cards…

      • IDRAFT
        March 2, 2017 at 3:39 pm

        Very nice new logo. No McAndrew, or I just can’t find him?

        • Jimmy P
          March 2, 2017 at 3:46 pm

          Glaring omission.

        • March 2, 2017 at 4:25 pm

          I have to say Jim McAndrew would be among the last people I would pick. I only got to go to a couple of games my first few years and it seemed like McAndrew always pitched. A little bit of a letdown when you’re hoping for Seaver or Koosman and end up seeing #43 instead.

          • Jimmy P
            March 3, 2017 at 8:32 am

            He had the windup, the weird little leg kick. In tight spots in whiffle ball games, I sometimes resorted to the McAndrew windup to baffle my opponents. True story!

            The facts are blurry, but I think he got called up for an emergency start — might have been ’68 — against Bob Gibson. The Mets lost 1-0 and we were all surprised and delighted by his performance.

            At least that’s what I recall, but I’m not looking it up and I was 7 at the time. But locked in.

  7. Metsense
    March 2, 2017 at 7:01 am

    A full season like the last two months of 2015 would make him a lock for it. The other Met candidate is Noah Syndergaard but only three NL pitchers have been voted MVP since the Mets inception.(Kershaw, Gibson and Koufax). He has a better chance of being our next Cy Young winner.
    Since 1962, there are nine players that wore a Met uniform that won an MVP award but not as a Met. Jeff Kent, Mo Vaughn, Rickey Henderson, Kevin Mitchell, Keith Hernandez, George Foster,Joe Torre, Willie Mays and Ken Boyer.
    One Pre 1962 MVP later graced the uniform prior to the Mets existence and “it was like deja vu all over again”, Yogi Berra.

    • Name
      March 2, 2017 at 10:01 am

      In order to win MVP, you almost have to be healthy the entire season, which is something Cespedes has yet to prove. Usually you need at least 650+ PA and 150 games played, which is something he has done only once. You have to go back to 2010 when Josh Hamilton won it with significantly less than those parameters.

      • Jimmy P
        March 2, 2017 at 10:34 am

        You are right, he seems to be one of those forever dinged-up players.

        Yoenis would also need to have one of the best seasons in the entire league, something else he hasn’t done yet.

        Sure, he’s got a shot.

        But I’d be thrilled if he could put together a Top 5 season. There are a lot of really, really great players in baseball.

        A lot depends on how you define MVP. For this team, he’s so important. Unlike, say, Trea Turner, who could have a huge season for the Nationals but still be sharing the offense with Murphy, Harper, and Rendon. For the Mets, I see Cespedes and a supporting cast. (Ignoring the pitching, since they so rarely earn MVP awards.)

    • IB
      March 2, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Metsense – That’s a great trivia question about the non-Met/Met MVP’s!

  8. Eraff
    March 3, 2017 at 6:10 am

    2014 and 2015—Ces 152 Games, 159 Games… he played 132 last year, with some pretty leg injuries.

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