Cubs

Word on the Street: Walker to return to Sox?

Word on the Street: Walker to return to Sox?

Friday, Nov. 12, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Walker to return to Sox?

Greg Walker, the hitting coach for the White Sox since 2003, is strongly leaning toward returning to the club for the 2011 season. His contract expires after the '11 season and with players like Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski in doubt about their return, Walker may have been on the outs as well.

Things still aren't for sure, but Walker sounds pretty sure.

"There is still a lot of winter left, but I always anticipate I'm coming back," he said Friday. "Right now, I anticipate coming back." (MLB.com)

Harry Caray statue damaged

The big Harry Caray statue that sits outside Wrigley Field was damaged during the week of Oct. 25 when a vehicle involved in the construction going on at the ballpark accidentally nicked the statue and created a long Y-shaped crack. (CSNChicago.com)

Bears look to be on track to stay in Bourbonnais

When the Bears broke camp from Olivet Nazarane University in Bourbonnais in August, the only thing was certain was that they would be back in 2011. Now, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the team may be close to signing a two-year deal that would pit the team at ONU through the 2013 season. (Chicago Tribune)

Six Hawks on ballot for All-Star game

The defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks have an NHL-high six players on the All-Star ballots that were released Friday. Jonathan Toews leads the way, with teammates Brian Campbell, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith joining the fun. Voting starts Nov. 15. (NHL.com)

Harvin looks in line to play Sunday

Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin practiced Friday and is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bears. The speedy, play-making receiver and return man previously missed Wednesday's and Thursday's practices with migraines, something he struggled with in preseason and training camp. Sidney Rice, another dynamic Minnesota receiver, may also suit up, but an announcement has not been officially made on his status for Sunday. (Yahoo! Sports)
Sox prospect tearing up Arizona Fall League

White Sox prospect Eduardo Escobar currently leads the Arizona Fall League with 55 total bases and is tied for the league lead with 31 hits and four triples. The 21-year-old shortstop has six games on the schedule, but hit .348 in the first 22 games of the season. (Chicago Tribune)

Why did Kris Bryant get a first-place vote in this year's National League MVP balloting?

1117_kris_bryant.jpg
USA TODAY

Why did Kris Bryant get a first-place vote in this year's National League MVP balloting?

Kris Bryant was the 2016 National League MVP. And despite having what could be considered an even better campaign this past season, he finished seventh in voting for the 2017 edition of the award.

The NL MVP was awarded to Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton on Thursday night, a fine choice, though it was nearly impossible to make a poor choice, that's how many fantastic players there were hitting the baseball in the NL this season.

After Stanton, Cinicinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto finished second, earning the same amount of first-place votes and losing out to Stanton by just one point. Then came Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon and Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon ahead of Bryant.

But there was someone who thought Bryant deserved to repeat as the NL MVP. Yes, Bryant earned a first-place vote — as did everyone else mentioned besides Rendon, for that matter — causing a bit of a social-media stir considering the Cubs third baseman, despite his great season, perhaps wasn't as standout a candidate as some of the other guys who finished higher in the voting.

So the person who cast that first-place vote for Bryant, MLB.com's Mark Bowman, wrote up why he felt Bryant deserved to hoist the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award for the second straight year.

"In the end, I chose Bryant because I believe he made the greatest impact, as his second-half production fueled the successful turnaround the Cubs experienced after the All-Star break," Bowman wrote.

"Though I don't believe the MVP must come from a playoff contender, in an attempt to differentiate the value provided by each of these three players (Bryant, Votto and Stanton), I chose to reward the impact made by Bryant, who produced the NL's fourth-best OPS (.968) after the All-Star break, when the Cubs distanced themselves from a sub-.500 record and produced an NL-best 49 wins."

It's easy for Cubs fans and observers to follow that logic, as the Cubs took off after the All-Star break following a disappointing first half. As good as Bryant was all season long, his second-half numbers, as Bowman pointed out, were especially great. He hit .325 with a .421 on-base percentage and a .548 slugging percentage over his final 69 games of the regular season, hitting 11 home runs, knocking out 21 doubles and driving in 35 runs during that span.

Perhaps the craziest thing about this year's MVP race and Bryant's place in it is that Bryant was just as good if not better than he was in 2016, when he was almost unanimously named the NL MVP. After slashing .292/.385/.554 with 39 homers, 102 RBIs, 35 doubles, 75 walks and 154 strikeouts in 2016, Bryant slashed .295/.409/.537 with 29 homers, 73 RBIs, 38 doubles, 95 walks and 128 strikeouts in 2017.

Of course, the competition was much steeper this time around. But Bryant was given the MVP award in 2016 playing for a 103-win Cubs team that was bursting with offensive firepower, getting great seasons from Anthony Rizzo (who finished third in 2016 NL MVP voting), as well as Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist. While the Cubs actually scored more runs this season and undoubtedly turned it on after the All-Star break on a team-wide basis, Bryant was far and away the best hitter on the team in 2017, with many other guys throughout the lineup having notably down years and/or experiencing down stretches throughout the season. Hence, making Bryant more, say it with me, valuable.

So Bowman's argument about Bryant's impact on the Cubs — a team that still scored 822 runs, won 92 games and advanced to the National League Championship Series — is a decently convincing one.

Check out Bowman's full explanation, which dives into some of Bryant's advanced stats.

HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet

HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet

In the latest edition of HandiKapping presented by Xpressbet, NBC Sports Chicago's David Kaplan makes his picks for the weekend.

Kap made his picks with the help of Eddie Olczyk this week.