Kansas City Royals Have Three Potential MVP Candidates


Yes, it’s only May…but if Sports Illustrated can run “Award Watch” breakdowns…why can’t we take a quick look at where the Kansas City Royals fit in the race for the American League MVP award?

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Ranking the AL position players by fWAR, the Kansas City Royals have a third of the top ten covered with Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas all part of this elite group. Yes, there is a long way to go this season, but with nearly two months of games played, you have to consider all these players are producing at a pretty consistent level to this point.

Looking just at fWAR, Cain is tied with Nelson Cruz with a 2.0 ranking, placing him at fifth in the AL. Hosmer and Moose are not far behind, though, tied with a 1.9 fWAR (also at 1.9 are Adam Jones of the Orioles and Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera). Mike Trout leads the way (of course he does) with a 2.4 fWAR.

With a spread of just  0.5 fWAR from first place to tenth…it’s a close race, and if there were to be a vote today, Cain would likely be left out with the lowest offensive runs above average (OFF) and lowest amount of home runs in the group. Voters, although more open to all around value than they once were, still lean towards the usual stuff (HR, RBI, AVG, etc). Not many guys are going to win an MVP on their defensive merits. Plus, Cain isn’t even the best player at his position right now (with Trout leading the way and Adam Jones not far behind).

Moose is a little more balanced with an OFF of 8.0 (still placing him in seventh place among the top ten) and a defensive runs above average (DEF) of 4.1. Moose is the best third baseman in the AL (for now, at least), edging out Josh Donaldson by 0.1 on the fWAR scale. He’s also second in the AL with a .342 batting average, trailing Nelson Cruz and his .351 mark.

Hosmer, who has the same 1.9 fWAR as Moose, may be the guy on the Royals with the best chance at pulling off an MVP win this year. He is currently tied with Miguel Cabrera as the best first baseman (based solely on fWAR) in the AL. His home run total places him in the middle of the pack here with Cruz leading the pack at 16, Trout at 11, Cabrera at 10, Stephen Vogt with 9…and then Hosmer tied for fifth at 7 homers with Russell Martin. He’s also fifth in batting average among these ten and sixth in both SLG and OBP.

In short…none of the three Royals would win the award if there was a vote today for the “Partial Season MVP”. But if I were a voter…and crunched some simple numbers/rankings…my ballot would look something like this:

[table id=23 /]

So…no Royals winner, but not too shabby either. And when you figure you can pencil in Gold Gloves for Hosmer and Cain, plus hand Moustakas the AL Most Improved Player Award (and maybe a Gold Glove of his own)…this make believe end-of-May award season shakes out pretty well for KC.

**For the record, statistics used in this breakdown include games played through May 21. Stats were pulled from Fangraphs, and for the purpose of of this exercise came down to a combination of: DEF, wOBA, wRC+, BSR, and fWAR with some additional small weights given for various other categories.

Next: Royals All-Stars: Vote Early, Vote Often