Giancarlo Stanton is having a solid year. But some still believe that Clayton Kershaw may still have the edge in the National League MVP race because the Dodgers are leading the National League West and will likely be playing October baseball.
But MLB.com columnist Mike Bauman still believes Stanton is more deserving, regardless of whether the Marlins make the playoffs or not.
This thing you hear -- that Stanton should get the NL MVP Award if the Miami Marlins qualify for the postseason -- is a completely arbitrary distinction. That would be an obvious plus for Stanton's candidacy, but it shouldn't be a prerequisite for the award.
Check the context: One year after losing 100 games, the Marlins are competing for a postseason berth in September. On Tuesday night at Miller Park, they delivered a thrilling 6-3 victory over the Brewers that put them just 3 1/2 games out of the second NL Wild Card berth.
Miami has had a bounce back season, and much of that has to do with the fact that Stanton is healthy. His 37 home runs and 105 RBIs have carried the Marlins' offense and helped a young team grow. Although two different conversations, a similar theme comes into play for the Manager of The Year Award. Mike Redmond's name has been mentioned, but many think he must lead Miami to a Wild Card spot in order to be completely deservng.
Even if the Marlins don't make the playoffs, there was still a turnaround made clear. Miami is playing relevant baseball in September and appears to be on track coming off of a 100 loss season a year ago.
Miami knows better than anyone else about Stanton's level of worth. Is he the MVP?
"Absolutely for me," said Redmond. "He's had a huge year. There's what he's meant to our ballclub, but I mean, you look at his numbers, and his numbers speak for themselves. This guy's playing with a lot of confidence right now, and he's definitely helped us win a lot of ballgames. He's had a great year. A great year."
Stanton has been helped by the improvement of a young core. Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Adeiny Hechavarria have all taken strides, and as a result, Stanton has grown.
The debate will likely continue as the regular season comes to an end, but it is one worth thinking about: If Stanton is taken away from the Marlins and Kershaw is taken off of the Dodgers' roster, which team has more difficulty competing?
Kershaw is clearly the ace of the Dodgers' staff, but Los Angeles may have just enough depth to where losing Kershaw may not have such a significant impact in the short term. Stanton, however, is the heart of the Marlins' offense. If you take him out of the lineup, Marcell Ozuna is the best power hitter and the production from the bottom of the order is limited.
Miami wants to keep Stanton around long term, proving how valuable he truly is. With Stanton on the roster, the Marlins should be able to compete for the next few seasons. There is still a lot of baseball left to be played, and Stanton could struggle down the stretch. But if he is still crushing baseballs, even if the Marlins don't make the playoffs, Stanton should still be the favorite National League MVP.