Cody Bellinger is the National League MVP. He did it by receiving 19 first-place votes, ultimately tallying 362 points on his way to victory.
But this story isn’t about Cody Bellinger, legitimately great player (well, at least in the regular season). This is about Kevin Pillar, da real MVP, sneaking in at the bottom of the pack with a single 10th-place vote, good for one point and placing him in a tie with Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer.
Yelich received 10 first place votes (including mine) to Bellinger's 19. Rendon got the other.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) November 14, 2019
Full results: pic.twitter.com/p5aaQsm0zb
As many of you know, Kevin Pillar is a professional baseball player. He typically occupied centerfield during his 156 games with the San Francisco Giants. He hit a lot of home runs…
Well, okay, he hit a lot of home runs for the Giants, tying Mike Yastrzemski for the team lead with 21.
He also finished the season with 1 rWAR. That’s pretty close to Bellinger’s 9 rWAR, if you think about it. After all, numbers are arbitrary, and what does anything mean, really?
Who was the brave hero who saw through the numbers and realized that, in fact, Pillar was the best player in the National League this season?
For those of you who can’t access Twitter or can’t read the fine print, the culprit—er, hero—was none other than San Francisco Chronicle’s Hank Schulman. To be fair to Schulman, he gave his top three votes to Bellinger, Christian Yelich, and Anthony Rendon, all of whom were deserving of the award.
But including Pillar at all is odd, to say the least. He wasn’t even the best player on the Giants, let alone the National League.
But I have a theory. As some of you may note, fellow Bay Area sportswriter Alex Pavlovic also gave his top two votes to Bellinger and Yelich (Ketel Marte received the third-place vote). However, he gave his 10th-place vote to Max Muncy.
Giving one Dodgers player an MVP vote is bad enough, but two players?! It was unforgivable. So, with Madison Bumgarner looming over his shoulder, Schulman punched in a vote for another Giants player. It couldn’t be Bumgarner, because that would be suspicious, and technically, Yastrzemski didn’t play a full season. But Pillar hit a lot of home runs!
And that’s how we get Kevin Pillar, MVP vote-getter. Congratulations, Pillar!