Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy finished second behind Chicago Cubs slugger Kris Bryant for the honor.
There are a few years where Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy would have won the National League Most Valuable Player Award. This year is not one.
In a one-sided vote, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant grabbed 29 out of 30 first-place votes and waltzes off with the honor in his second full season. His mantle will be full of trophies this winter with a World Series ring and now the MVP.
Although Murphy battered the New York Mets and finished a close second in the batting title, the award was Bryant’s to lose. Bryant played six different positions in the field and as a designated hitter. He rose his batting average to .292 while slamming 39 home runs and driving in 102.
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When you post an Adjusted OPS+ of 149, as Bryant did, and a WAR of 7.7, good things happen.
Murphy had a tremendous 2016. He led the NL in slugging percentage at .595 and OPS with a .985 mark. His 47 doubles topped the league, and he drove in 104 runs. When the Nationals convinced him to leave the confines of Citi Field, they could not have asked for a better offensive performance.
Even the injury that cost Murphy the batting title would not save his MVP chances. He grabbed the lone first-place vote Bryant did not get, but his poor defense and lack of versatility in the field tipped the scales toward Chicago and away from Washington.
If you are a believer in WAR, Murphy’s 4.6 is over three lower than Bryant’s. With Bryce Harper in a prolonged slump, it is safe to say the Nationals do not win the NL East without Murphy.
Aside from hitting in every game against the Mets, never happened over 19 games before, Murphy hit .418 off Atlanta pitchers, .327 against the Philadelphia Phillies and .319 versus the Miami Marlins. In the most important 76 games of the year, those in the division, he was a one-man wrecking crew.
Voting for Bryant is not one against Murphy. Bryant is on the fast track to Cooperstown if his torrid play continues. What Murphy did for the Washington Nationals offense is worthy of recognition.
If Murphy matches it in 2017, there might be a championship parade in D.C. come November.