Schott: Cespedes Is MLB MVP

(Neil Miller /Sportsday Wire)

Yoenis Cespedes has been the Mets’ MVP, as his incredible performance since arriving here at the trade deadline is a reason they are primed to run away with the National League East.

There has been debate as to whether he should be in the running for National League MVP despite just playing for the Mets for the final two months of the season.

It has to be noted, and remarkable to think with how this has gone, that the Mets were 52-50 and trailed the Nationals by 3 games when Cespedes was acquired on July 31st. Since then, the Mets are 31-11 and have a commanding 9 1/2 game lead over the Nationals.

He transformed the Mets’ offense from one of the worst in the National League into one of the best. The whole point of a “most valuable player” award is literally who has been indispensable to their teams. Sometimes, players win it based on stats alone, but this is truly a chance to give it to somebody that brought instant success to his team.

One reason against giving Cespedes the National League MVP is the fact that he played in the “other league,” the American League, for the first four months of the season.

Major League Baseball should consider giving ONE MVP award. Why should a player be punished because he happened to play in a different league and then was the most game-changing player in the other?

There is interleague play every day of the year, so the idea of “leagues” is antiquated at this point. It really was since they did away with separate umpires and league presidents. They even removed”National League” and “American League” from the baseballs themselves and replaced them with “Major League Baseball” and a stamp of the MLB logo and the Commissioner’s signature.

Naturally, teams in one league don’t see the other league much, like teams don’t see the other conference much in the other sports. Of the three other main sports, the National Football League most mirrors this situation because there is an American and National Football Conference, but they do not have separate MVPs. There is the single NFL MVP award.

Cespedes’ numbers with the Tigers and Mets are certainly MVP-worthy, as he is hitting .298 with 35 home runs and 103 RBI. Cespedes is hitting .309 (54-175) with 17 home runs, 42 RBI, 36 runs scored, 10 doubles, and three triples in his 41 games with the Mets through Monday.

This is a historic season for Cespedes, as he is only the second player since 1920 to switch teams mid-season and record at least 15 home runs and 40 RBI within his first 40 games playing for the new team. Hank Sauer was the first to do so when he has 15 home runs and 47 RBI in his first 40 games with Cubs in 1949. Cespedes is also the first player with at least 28 extra-base hits within his first 40 games with a new team after having played for another team that season.

The impact Cespedes has had on the Mets can be seen in the numbers from July 25th, when they brought up Michael Conforto and traded for Juan Uribe. Since then, the Mets are 33-13 and lead the league in many categories. They lead the majors in runs scored with 283, home runs with 79, a .490 slugging percentage, and tied for the major-league lead in doubles with 110.

Since August 1st, his first day with the Mets, he is tied for second in the majors in home runs with 16 and is first in the National League in RBI with 41 and in slugging percentage at .680.

Cespedes is having a September to remember. Since the 1st of the month, Cespedes leads the majors in RBI with 18, is tied for the league lead in both runs, with 15, and home runs with 8, and is second in slugging percentage with a mark of 1.000. Cespedes hit home runs in eight of his last 12 games through Sunday.

Cespedes was named the National League Player of the Week from September 7th through 13th, when the Mets swept a three-game series in Washington and a four-game series in Atlanta. Cespedes hit .345 with four home runs (NL lead) and 12 RBI (MLB lead) for the week, with a .897 slugging percentage.

Mets Manager Terry Collins said of Cespedes on the road trip, “Well, I’ve been really lucky because I’ve seen some guys first-hand. The only guy I can even compare it to closely would be when Barry Bonds would go on a run, or in 1994, when Jeff Bagwell was doing similar stuff. You haven’t seen what this guy was doing on the road, every time we needed him to step up, he stepped up. He hit a double with nobody on to get an inning started, and Grandy (Curtis Granderson) would draw a base on balls and he’d hit a two-run homer – if we needed production, he did it. He was hitting balls out of the ballparks. The other day, he hit one off Edwin Jackson, he hit it off the end of the bat and it kept going. You shook your head, I mean, the other day after he hit the home run off Jackson, Matt Harvey walked over to me and says ‘it’s time to move him to the next league,’ just to tell you how the other players look at him. He’s a special talent.” Harvey was referencing a comment Collins made about how great Cespedes has been.

Collins said of Cespedes being able to play in big spots, “There are special guys, and I just mentioned two of them (Bonds and Bagwell) when they’re on the big stage. You could talk about all those guys that will end up in the Hall of Fame that, when they’re asked to come through, they come through. He’s one of those guys, it just seems like he rises to the occasion when you need him, and both sides of the ball, too, I mean, this guy’s made some tremendous plays defensively, good baserunner. We’re fortunate that he’s here and we got him hot at the right time.”

Cespedes, of course, rewarded the home fans on Monday night, as he hit his 35th home run of the year in the third inning and was serenaded with “M-V-P” as he rounded the bases.

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