With the end of the 2016 baseball season quickly nearing and the post season match-ups beginning to come into focus, it is only fitting that this week’s addition to the Topps Throwback Thursday series focuses on MVP candidates.
Six cards (84-89) are being added to the Throwback Thursday weekly release and feature MVP candidates for this season’s honor on the card design from 1972’s Topps U.S. Presidents collection. The Presidents collection featured every president from Washington through Nixon as well as the candidates involved in the 1972 election. Those candidate cards were different designs than the presidential cards and are the basis for this throwback.
The players being honored this week are:
- Kris Bryant (#84)
- Daniel Murphy (#85)
- Mookie Betts (#86)
- Jose Altuve (#87)
- Mike Trout (#88)
- Josh Donaldson (#89)
Among baseball fans, this is an incomplete but hardly controversial list of potential MVP recipients.
Kris Bryant (Cubs) has a .295/.387/.564 batting line with 38 home runs, 99 RBI, and 70 walks. He was the 2015 Rookie of the Year and currently leads the National League in WAR (7.4), runs scored (117), and runs created (132) and is going to be a crucial part of the team’s post season run.
Daniel Murphy (Nationals) is having a career year in many respects. His batting line is a healthy .347/.391/.596 (a career high SLG and OPS), with 25 home runs, 35 walks and 104 RBI. He leads the National League in OPS, SLG, and doubles (47) and has twice been the NL Player of the Month. His WAR (5.8) is third in the league and he is ranked second in total RBI and third in Runs Created.
Mookie Betts (Red Sox) is making a huge impression in Boston in his second full season with the team. Ranking 19th in 2015 MVP votes, he is certainly an MVP candidate for 2017 ranking second in WAR (9.0), and dWAR (2.6) while leading the American league in hits (203) and Runs Scored (116). Betts is no slouch at defense, either, with a league leading 327 putouts as a right fielder, and a .997 fielding percentage.
Jose Altuve is Jose Altuve and is an annual MVP candidate. Altuve ranks in the top five of virtually every offensive and defensive metric among American League players and leads the league with a .338 batting average.
Mike Trout is another player who is also in the MVP candidate conversation having either won the award or ranked second in voting every full season he has played. While he seems like a long shot to take home the award this year (the Angels are a last place team) his numbers speak for themselves. He leads the league in oWar (9.4), WAR (10.1), OBP (.437), Putouts as CF (347), and Offensive Win % (.801) which is, admittedly, a metric that probably rarely gets referenced.
And then there is Josh Donaldson, the reigning MVP for the Toronto Blue Jays. Despite ranking in the top 10 for two years with the Oakland Athletics, Donaldson has put up some of his best career numbers in Canada. His stats are down from last year in some key areas but he is leading the American League in Runs Scored (116), Extra Base Hits (84), RBI (123) and ranks in the top 10 in several offensive metrics. His dWar has taken a dip since 2015 and his Rfield has dropped from 11 to 1 which makes him just slightly above average this year on third base.
All six of these men are worthy MVP candidates and will, undoubtedly, all place in the top 10, if not the top five, in their respective leagues. The Topps Throwback cards are only available for one week and will be printed based on demand. For a full checklist and print run of previous sets in this series, reference the checklist in the tab above. You can also purchase your set via the links on this page.