Glaus developing into a strong MVP candidate
Remember that Troy Glaus fellow who went through Spring Training and the first 31 games of this season with just two homers. Well, he’s on pace to total 31 homers and compile 128 RBIs this season.
Instead of projecting him as an early favorite to be named Comeback Player of the Year, it might be time to establish his candidacy for the National League’s MVP Award. If nothing else, the veteran first baseman’s $2 million base salary certainly has to be considered this year’s best bargain.
Given that the Braves took off once Martin Prado moved into the leadoff role, it’s easy to immediately say that that Prado has been the club’s most valuable player. But we can’t ignore the value of his production has been maximized due to the fact that Glaus has spent the past seven weeks serving as the game’s top run producer.
While going a Major League-best 26-10 since May 9, the Braves have seen Prado collect 57 of his National League-best 97 hits. During this same span, Glaus has compiled 35 of his NL-high 53 RBIs. In the meantime, Jason Heyward, the club’s early-season MVP has hit just .252 with three homers and 18 RBIs (a total that has been affected by the fact that he’s spent a significant portion of this span batting second).
When the club has needed a clutch hit, Glaus has proven to be that middle-of-the-lineup threat who has maximized the value of the on-base percentages produced by Prado,
Heyward, Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. His game-winning, two-run double in last night’s sixth inning improved his batting average with two outs and runners in scoring position to .444 (14-for-33). He’s actually recorded 12 hits in the past 25 at-bats he’s had in these situations.
McCann (10th), Heyward (13), Glaus (16th), Jones (17th) and Prado (18th) all rank among the top 20 NL players in terms of on-base percentage. With this in mind, it’s pretty easy to figure out why hitting coach Terry Pendleton is no longer feeling the heat that showered down upon him during the season’s first month.
This same Braves team that couldn’t score during the season’s first five weeks, now ranks second in the NL in runs scored, trailing the Reds by one run. They averaged 4.0 runs per game in the 32 games they played through May 10. They have averaged 5.6 runs per games in the 35 games that have played since May 11, when Heyward was moved toward the top of the lineup to join forces with the other OBP machines.
When asked to vote for May’s Player of the Month, I went with Heyward because he had proven to be every bit as effective as Glaus in most offensive categories except for RBIs. But because the young phenom had given Glaus the chance to drive in these runs, I gave him the nod.
Obviously my reasoning wasn’t shared by other writers throughout the country.
If asked to name the club’s MVP through June 17, I probably would have to give the nod to Prado because of the fact that he has proven to be the productive leadoff hitter this club desperately needed.
But if Glaus continues to take advantage of the run-producing opportunities that he’s gaining, it will be hard to look at his numbers and not view him as a legit MVP candidate.
Look ahead: Next weekend the Braves will celebrate Alumni Weekend at Turner Field by bringing back a number of their former players. To get a jump on the festivities, they will welcome Dayton Moore’s Kansas City Royals to Atlanta this weekend.
It’s no secret that Moore, the former Braves assistant GM, has spent the past few years filling his new organization with familiar faces that he was introduced to during his days in Atlanta.
The 25-man roster that Royals manager Ned Yost (a former Braves coach) will field for tonight’s series opener includes six former Braves – Bruce Chen, Kyle Davies, Kyle Farnsworth, Brayan Pena, Anthony Lerew and Wilson Betemit.
Oh yeah, that Zach Greinke dude who was included in 999,999 trade rumors involving Jeff Francoeur will be on the mound to face the Braves on Saturday night. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner will match up against Kris Medlen.