The San Diego Padres did not have a very successful 2016, but did have memorable moments and many individual achievements this season. From exciting young breakout potential stars to a pitching staff which gives fans hope, much is to be said for what some Padres players accomplished this season.
Due to this, the question of who deserves the MVP award is a difficult and highly contested one. Much can be said for three players especially who have proved to be consistent and exciting to watch in 2016. Each is young enough to be part of San Diego’s future plans, and all instill a sense of optimism in this fan base that most fans of 68 win teams lack.
Using these three potential most valuable players, Wil Myers, Yangervis Solarte, and Ryan Schimpf, ESPN created a poll several days ago asking Padres fans who is most deserving of this award. Fans can still vote, but the verdict seems to have been pretty much decided already. Overwhelmingly, earning 79% of the vote, Myers appears to be the San Diego fan base’s choice.
Still, there is a case to be made for each candidate.
We begin with Myers, who led the club in home runs, hitting a career high 28 in his fourth major league season. The lone San Diego representative in the National League’s starting lineup, Myers provided the home fans at Petco Park something to cheer for and another reason to be excited for the special event. At the end of the year, Myers only hit .256. But what the 25-year-old brought to the San Diego lineup in 2016 that was otherwise missing was ability to drive in runs. His 93 RBI led the team, as he proved to be a juggernaut in a batting order which otherwise had difficulty driving in runs.
Though it is hard to compete with what Myers brought to the Padres in 2016, Solarte still belongs in the same conversation. As another young player, Solarte, only in his third major league season, hit fifteen home runs and drove in a total of 70 runs on the year. While he doesn’t have the power that Myers does or the knack of driving in a runner in scoring position, the 5’11” speedster brings efficiency on defense and on the base paths. In many ways, Solarte could be considered the grinder on this San Diego ball club in 2016.He does all the right things, and fans will undoubtedly be looking forward to seeing what he provides next season.
Schimpf is the final Padre who should be considered for team MVP. Though only 5% of fans on espn.com voted for the rookie, he is well deserving of consideration. Of course, stats for Schimpf are skewed, as he was only called up from AAA El Paso this season, playing in a total of just 89 games. His .217 batting average turns off many fans, and understandably so. But what Schimpf revealed to baseball in his rookie season was his potential for power. While he was still getting his feet wet in 2016, and still struggling with strikeouts, the long time minor-leaguer found a way to pound out 20 home runs and 51 RBI in under a season. This incredible show of power is further displayed by his .533 slugging percentage. This alone puts Schimpf into consideration, as the rookie exploded on to the scene this year and manufactured a degree of desperately needed optimism among San Diego fans.
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Clearly, Myers is the front runner when it comes to an all-around team MVP. This young infielder provides a great degree of optimism for Padres fans moving into 2017. But Solarte and Schimpf should not be forgotten, as their successful 2016 seasons are well worth recognition. Still, it would seem more appropriate to award Schimpf with a “rookie of the year”, or “most improved Padre” award. As for Solarte, he seems to have been the most gritty Padre this season, doing his job on a daily basis.
Regardless of who should be chosen as team MVP, the Padres have a lot to be excited about with these three budding stars. Whether or not they each remain with the organization long term is a question that still must be pondered as the organization begins to reflect on the recently completed 2016 regular season. But their contributions and individual accomplishments are worth being recognized by fans as they too begin their reflection on this past season.
Have an opinion on who should be San Diego’s 2016 MVP? Let us know in the comments section below!