Realistically: absolutely not. However, Yovani Gallardo probably has a better MVP case than you might think, and it all goes back to these two posts I wrote about Gallardo’s offensive value – a substantial part of his game. Gallardo currently has a .374 wOBA against the pitcher average wOBA of .172. That means that he’s been worth 12 runs above average this season, or about 1.5 WAR as a hitter. Add that onto his 4.9 WAR (according to FanGraphs) as a pitcher, and that puts Gallardo’s value on the season at 6.4 Wins Above Replacement. That’s 0.3 more than Troy Tulowitzki and about one win fewer than Ryan Zimmerman, Joey Votto, and Albert Pujols. Gallardo compares quite well to other MVP candidates and has another start remaining to add some more value, and so while I wouldn’t vote for Yovani as my number one candidate for MVP, he has performed at a level very close to other MVP candidates.
Of course, by that logic, there are other pitchers that we should consider for the award – say, Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, Adam Wainwright, and Ubaldo Jimenez. Let’s take a look at their hitting lines in the same fashion.
Halladay – 6.8 pitching WAR, .132 wOBA, -0.1 batting WAR, 6.7 WAR total
Johnson – 6.2 pitching WAR, .086 wOBA, -0.3 batting WAR, 5.9 WAR total
Wainwright – 6.2 pitching WAR, .212 wOBA, +0.6 batting WAR, 6.8 WAR total
Jimenez – 5.9 pitching WAR, -0.1 batting WAR, 5.8 WAR total
So Halladay and Wainwright probably have MVP candidacies close to those of Pujols, Votto, and Zimmerman, right in line with Matt Holliday and his under-the-radar 6.8 WAR season, and above Gallardo and Rockies stalwarts Carlos Gonzalez and Tulowitzki.
Now, I know some people consider the MVP award to be a position players only vote, and that’s fine – the awards can mean whatever they want to you or the writers voting on them or anybody else. However, as far as tangible value goes, I posit that Gallardo fits into the top 7 or 8 players in the National League, and given that MVP ballots run 10 deep, I would probably put Gallardo somewhere on my ballot, behind, in some order, Zimmerman, Votto, Pujols, Halladay, Wainwright, and Holliday, and if Gallardo goes nuts in his final start before the end of the season, he could move his way up the list.