Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith deserve some MVP consideration this season. They may not get as much as they deserve because of where the New York Mets finish in the standings.
Every New York Mets fan knows it; they are one of three teams to never have an MVP winner. The other two are the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays—a pair of clubs that came into existence in 1998.
In 2020, the MVP race is a lot different. The shortened campaign gives anyone capable of having a hot month an opportunity to win the league’s best player award at the end of the abbreviated season.
This is where Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith come into the picture. Both are among the top offensive players in multiple categories this year. At the pace they’re on, they should each get some consideration for the National League MVP Award.
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Unfortunately, without some major separation from the rest of the league, neither will end the drought. We can blame the Mets’ record for that.
Yes, the team’s record doesn’t always matter in votes like this. Mike Trout has won plenty of MVPs without making the postseason. The difference is he had a much stronger case whereas Conforto and Smith are battling alongside some equally as productive seasons.
There is still time for Conforto and Smith to potentially rise up further in the MVP race. They would need to play out of their minds, which is something they are capable of, but is it really all that realistic to have a final three weeks so much better than the competition?
In a year where eight teams make the postseason, a trip to the playoffs won’t help a player win the MVP. It will, though, practically eliminate everyone else on the other 14 teams from having any shot.
I do believe there’s a difference between a starting pitcher winning a Cy Young on a bad team compared to a position player taking the MVP Award. The pitching part of the game is much more individualized. Plenty of pitchers on bad teams have won the Cy Young. It shouldn’t matter because he’s only able to contribute every fifth day.
With position players, it’s a little different. They can contribute five times more. How the team finishes should work as a tiebreaker when it’s very close to call.
Conforto and Smith should get some love on this year’s MVP ballot. For both, it will be the first time either has been considered. Up against players on much better teams with equal or better numbers, neither stands a chance.
It’s not all bad news. There’s something about coming close and not winning that could help this pair in the future. Conforto is finally having the year we all thought he was capable of. Meanwhile, Smith continues to show his 2019 performance was no fluke and that he is an everyday MLB player.
The Mets need to be at their best over the final weeks for more than just aiding in the MVP candidacy of their two top hitters. The club’s absence from the postseason since 2016 is a strain on the fan base and only lengthens the amount of frustration.
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Getting to the playoffs, even for a single round, is important for all aspects. Give these guys some October experience and let them taste what it’s like to play the most meaningful games of their careers.