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Revisiting 'Gonzalez for MVP'

More from the mailbag:

    Can't say I really understand your Adrian Gonzalez MVP article. He leads Pujols and Votto (indeed, all NL position players) in WAR. He is third in OPS+, obviously reflecting the fact that he plays in a much tougher hitters' park (and even tougher road hitters' parks, I suspect, given the unbalanced schedule and his games in SF and LA) yet still puts up comparable numbers to those two.

He destroys those two in TZR, which seems to conform with what I regularly hear (albeit filtered through the SD media) about him being as highly regarded a first baseman as there is in the National League.

Setting aside the unlikelihood of him actually winning the MVP while playing in San Diego during a year in which the other two are competing for the Triple Crown, how on earth do you come to the conclusion that he is not any more (or equally) worthy a candidate as Pujols or Votto, or that he is even comparable to the likes of Torres, Huff and Zimmerman?

- John (San Diego)Fair points, all.

Using Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is problematic, if only because there's not just one version in popular use. According to FanGraphs' WAR, Gonzalez ranks just seventh in the National League. But according to Baseball-Reference.com's WAR, Gonzalez does indeed rank first, just ahead of Pujols and well ahead of Votto.

I think it's safe to say that WAR won't gain wide acceptance until we come to some sort of agreement about what it means.

I think it's also safe to say that I shouldn't have dismissed Gonzalez, and neither should the actual MVP voters when that moment arrives. There are a number of solid candidates, and we should probably wait three more weeks before anointing anyone.