If I told you in the beginning of the year, that the Astros lost Altuve, Correa, Springer, and McCullers for a significant portion of the year, I doubt many of us would have guessed that we would still be heading towards a second straight 100+ win season.
The Astros are the best team in baseball. Admittedly, I’m biased, I do write for the Astros for fun. With that said, we’ve had some great years from great players.
With a legendary start, our Starting Pitching was trending towards the record books. And while they’ve regressed a bit to being only the best in baseball, I think most people expected greatness out of a staff of 2 Cy Young winners, and the middle and back of the rotation being Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, and Lance McCullers.
Others took a step back, such as Reddick and Marwin. Correa and Gurriel both had seasons hampered by injuries.
So I wanted to make a “MSVP” award, to recognize greatness from a player who helped step up and cover the gaps. Someone who no one expected to perform like this, that has held our team afloat during the rough times.
The Sparkplug, creator of Hugs for Homers, a non-prospect who has continued to prove himself. Coming in at 5’6, Tony Kemp was viewed as a light hitting second base prospect, with no power, and being behind Altuve in the depth charts, didn’t spell a large amount of playing time in his future.
I wrote an article earlier this year, using a click bait header of comparing him to Giancarlo Stanton. Why? For the sole reason that they had the same wRC+ at the same time. As of today, he has a 125 wRC+, which is still EXACTLY the same as Giancarlo Stanton.
Kemp continues to perform, his current slash line is .284/.373/.424 good for a total of 1.2 WAR in 267 Plate Appearances.
I always thought Kemp would do well, but he has far exceeded my expectations, largely due to his OBP and slugging %.
Tyler White is a true underdog story. While you can argue Kemp is too short for baseball, most critics would argue Tyler is too everything for baseball. His body doesn’t fit the mold. He was a late round draft pick with no discernible prospect hype. He’s a 1B only type prospect with limited power, overshadowed by the Jon Singleton and AJ Reed’s of the world. But he hit, then he hit some more, and just continued to do it as he disproved more and more doubters.
Remember when I said he just kept hitting? Tyler’s season to date is as follows:
.299/.382/.603 in 199 Plate Appearances. He has 12 home runs, 39 RBI. His wRC+ comes in at 170.
If he had enough at bats at this pace, he would be the third best hitter in baseball following only Mike Trout and Mookie Betts by wRC+.
The most arrogant man in baseball, stepped it up a notch adding a signature stare and getting the entire city behind him with it. It feels blasphemous to mention Bregman here. He’s a #2 draft pick, that came out about being upset about not being #1. He was a top prospect throughout his minor league career, and he has had success putting his name solidly into the “Core 4” with a 3.6 WAR season last year. I debated with some posters that Bregman would be a 5 WAR player this year, and there were mixed reviews if it was possible. During a season while 3 of the 4 best position players were injured, Bregman earned his arrogance with his performance below.
Bregman is a legitimate MVP candidate. He probably won’t win, but last year he was a borderline star, this year, he’s borderline MVP. His stat line:
.294/.401/.551 with 30 HR, 100 RBI, 50 Doubles, 101 Runs and a 164 wRC+ for the season so far!!
He joined some “decent” company by getting to the 30 HR/ 100 RBI / 50 double under the age of 25. The others to do it? Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, and Lou Gherig. Not bad company.
Josh James – I contemplated putting him in here, but decided although he is the hugest surprise in all of the Astros system, he hasn’t spent enough time in the majors to qualify for my made-up award.
Max Stassi – He would be an honorable mention to me. If we did this same discussion at the half way point in the season, he would be a heavy favorite. It seems like his role has all but deteriorated into a 3rd catcher.
McHugh – Similar to Stassi above. McHugh’s transition to the bullpen has gone as well as anyone could have asked for. His recent regression has hurt him. I also rate him lower on surprise as I still seeing him as one of the best #2 type starters in baseball.
Tony Kemp – If anyone told you last off-season Tony Kemp has exactly matched the offensive output in wRC+ of 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton for the season, and this was a real award, who wouldn’t award it to him?
Tyler White – Tyler had flashes of greatness before, but it was never like this, and it’s continued for almost 200 Plate Appearances now. He has carried this team to some essential wins to keep the A’s at bay.
Alex Bregman – Alex is in discussion for the most valuable player in all of baseball. I’d say that would be a huge surprise to anyone in TCB this past off-season.
Who is your MSVP?
This poll is closed
Who is your MSVP? Tell us why in the comments! Tell me if I missed your candidate!