Alonso among 5 Mets to get NL MVP votes

November 18th, 2022

NEW YORK -- The Mets may not have taken home the first MVP Award in club history, but they still fared remarkably well in balloting following their 101-win season.

Five Mets earned spots on National League MVP ballots, including Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor, who finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Jeff McNeil, Edwin Díaz and Starling Marte also received votes.

The balloting came in stark contrast to last season, when the Mets did not have a single player receive a vote. The club last had multiple players in the top 10 in 2019, when Alonso (seventh) and Jacob deGrom (10th) both made it. deGrom is the most recent Met to crack the top 5, which came after his first Cy Young Award-winning season in '18.

The Mets had not had five players earn votes since 2008, when Carlos Beltrán, Carlos Delgado, José Reyes, Johan Santana and David Wright all made the list.

St. Louis’ Paul Goldschmidt won this year’s award for the first time. He was followed on the ballot by the Padres' Manny Machado, the Cardinals' Nolan Arenado, Dodgers teammates Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts, the Braves' Austin Riley and the Phillies' J.T. Realmuto.

Alonso led the Mets in home runs (40) and RBIs (131) by a wide margin, setting the franchise record in the latter category. He hit .271 with an .869 OPS. Lindor led the Mets in fWAR, while McNeil won the Major League batting title (.326) and led the club in bWAR. Marte produced some of the best per-rate stats on the team, including a .468 slugging percentage, but he appeared in only 118 games due to injury.

Then there was Díaz, a polarizing candidate given that pitchers typically struggle to garner MVP votes -- and closers almost never do. Widely considered MLB's most dominant reliever, Díaz finished ninth in NL Cy Young voting and 18th in the MVP race after producing a 1.31 ERA over 62 innings.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America, which votes on the award, offers only five criteria for voters to consider when filling out their ballots. One is “actual value of a player to his team,” taking into account both offense and defense. The second is number of games played, which is why pitchers tend to struggle in voting. The third is “general character, disposition, loyalty and effort,” while the fourth and fifth are procedural: former winners are eligible, and voters can choose multiple players from the same team.

The Mets have never had an MVP, despite several close calls. In 1988, Darryl Strawberry finished second to Kirk Gibson in voting (even though he ranked sixth among position players in WAR). In 2007, David Wright finished fourth, though he likely would have fared better in current times, as many voters view advanced metrics differently than they did even 15 years ago.

The Mets won one of the BBWAA’s four major awards this year, though, as Buck Showalter took home NL Manager of the Year on Tuesday. Díaz is also the favorite to win Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year, which is not a BBWAA award.

Showalter will receive his plaque at the BBWAA New York Chapter awards dinner on Jan. 28.