As insufferable as the 2012 season has been, one could argue that this past season has not been a total washout.
In a season where the organization was transitioning not only in front office management, but also strategy, team philosophy and playing style, the Cubs have done as well as expected.
The new front office was able to get a full view of where the organization stands in regards to the immediate and long-term futures of the club, and those players pertinent to those futures received some much needed MLB playing time.
If the “P” in MVP stood for “person” rather than “player”, then I would have to consider one from the four personnel featured in my previous article. But it does not, and I would not.
There have been players who have performed well throughout the year. However, lacking superstar talent and utilizing a mishmash of players throughout 2012, the results were as expected.
So, who should be considered the Cubs’ 2012 MVP? The resurgent Alfonso Soriano? David DeJesus? Darwin Barney? Jeff Samardzija? Or Ryan Dempster?
A case could be made for any and all of these players, even Ryan Dempster – and he isn’t even with the team. In 2012 with the Cubs, Dempster went 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA.
However, he fell victim to five no-decisions and one loss before his ERA eclipsed the 2.00 mark. He also had five straight outings from June 5 to July 14 where he did not surrender a single run—earned or unearned—lowering his ERA from 2.59 down to 1.86.
If Dempster would have remained with the Cubs through this season, or agreed to the Atlanta trade that would have netted the Cubs top pitching prospect Randall Delgado in return, he could very well have been named MVP for both his on field contributions and what he brought in trade. But he didn’t, so he’s 0-for-2 and no dice.
One could argue that Jeff Samardzija has been the Cubs’ MVP of 2012, being the best of the Cubs’ current starting pitchers this season and a light in the murky Cubs’ pitching staff. But he has not done enough to be considered the team’s MVP.
Alfonso Soriano is another candidate. He would most definitely win the Cubs’ Comeback Player of the Year award, but MVP? He is a close third.
So, who is the runner-up, and who is the MVP?
This is microscopically close. So close, the Cubs might have two co-MVPs in 2012.
Darwin Barney has done one heck of a job this season. While his BA and OPS are nothing spectacular, he has one error in 700 chances at second and a dWAR of 3.3. His oWAR is 1.6, for an overall WAR of 4.7.
Barney’s performance this season has been the most consistent in every facet of the game. Among position players who have played in 100+ games for the Cubs this season, he has the fewest strikeouts with 51.
Joe Mather has played in 99 games this season for the Cubs and has only 44 strikeouts. But he has played in 49 fewer games than Barney, and has 325 fewer plate appearances than the standout second baseman.
David DeJesus has performed admirably throughout the season as well. His OPS is .757, and he is ranked eighth in the league in pitches seen per plate appearance, seeing 4.08. He has also drawn a total of 58 walks this season as well—the most of any member of the team.
He has only two errors in 266 chances, an oWAR of 1.6 and an overall WAR of 1.4, but he has a dWAR of -0.6—which is more noteworthy than important.
You could look at the WAR related numbers and decide it’s a no-brainer and declare Darwin Barney the MVP.
Or, you could look at their OPS numbers and plate discipline and decide the vote should easily be cast for David DeJesus.
Their hits and runs totals are too close to be deciding factors.
So, who is the Cubs’ 2012 MVP?
It’s a coin toss, really. And in this case, a Two-Face style coin is used.
Deciding which of these two is the Cubs’ MVP is a difficult task.
DeJesus wins it for his plate discipline, and being on a team that cannot seem to grasp the concept his skill is invaluable.
Barney wins it for his defensive ability, along with plate discipline and importance to the team.
So, those are my MVPs. Who are yours?