KC Royals Lorenzo Cain Deserves MVP Award

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Later today, the winner of the 2015 MLB MVP will be announced. We know that the KC Royals are represented in that vote, as Lorenzo Cain is one of the three finalists, along with Mike Trout and Josh Donaldson. Aside from the Gold Glove award, this is the only area where the Royals were represented, despite winning the World Series this season.

After a breakout performance during the 2014 postseason, Cain truly came into his own this past season. He set a career mark with 16 home runs and 34 doubles, stealing 28 bases while producing a .307/.361/.477 batting line. Cain continually displayed his amazing defense in center, somehow being snubbed as a nominee for the center field Gold Glove award. It may be fair to say that Cain was the most important piece on a dynamic Royals team.

For those efforts, Cain is also guaranteed to have the best finish in the MVP ballot since George Brett back in 1985. Thirty years ago, when the Royals won their first World Series, Brett finished second in the MVP vote to Don Mattingly. Can Cain become the first member of the Royals to win the award since Brett did so back in 1980?

To earn that award, Cain will have to pull what would be a major upset. Despite ranking fourth in WAR at 7.2 this season, Cain trailed both Trout and Donaldson in that metric. Cain’s excellent production at the plate was also overshadowed by his competitors, as Trout posted a .299/.402/.590 batting line with 41 home runs. Donaldson, meanwhile, had a .297/.371/.568 batting line with 41 home runs, and led the league in RBI and runs scored.

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Looking at the raw numbers, it would seem that Lorenzo Cain would have no chance at winning the MVP award. Both Donaldson and Trout far outproduced the KC Royals center fielder, and while his defense was excellent, that would not seem to be enough to overcome that difference. However, Cain was easily the best player on the World Series winning Royals, which would put him in a class by himself.

What Cain’s presence in the top three symbolizes is the value of the team over the individual player. While quite a few players may have had better statistics than Cain, none may have been more valuable to his team’s success. In theory, that is what the MVP award is about – rewarding the player that means the most to his team. That, quite simply, is what Lorenzo Cain is for the Royals.

Next: Sabermetrics Fail to Explain How Royals Won World Series

Cain was the most valuable player on the KC Royals last season. Will that be enough for him to bring home the MVP award? We’ll find out later today.

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