Biggest MLB MVP Snubs of the Decade

Matt Kemp
Matt Kemp was snubbed of the MVP in 2011 despite his brilliant season with the Dodgers. | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In honor of the decade coming to a close in less than two weeks' time, it's only fitting that we highlight some of the MLB's most egregious MVP Award snubs, right?

While voters did the baseball landscape right in some years, they woefully miscalculated in others. Let's dissect each year's worst decision in either league, spanning from 2010-2019.

2010: NL

Winner: Joey Votto

Snub: Carlos Gonzalez

People forget that CarGo was one of the most feared hitters in the game for an impressive stretch of seasons, and 2010 marked one of his best campaigns. The then-Rockies outfielder hoisted the NL batting crown with a .336 average while clubbing 34 home runs alongside 117 RBI. He led the NL in hits with a whopping 197, scored 111 runs, and impressively swiped 26 bases.

We aren't saying that Votto didn't muster a superb season for the Reds, but it's become apparent that the voters awarded Votto extra brownie points because Cincinnati made the playoffs and Colorado did not. For the year, Votto hit .324 with 37 dingers and 113 RBI. He did, however, lead the NL in OBP, SLG, and OPS, but CarGo's tallies weren't far off.

By every stretch of the imagination, Gonzalez deserved the MVP Award in 2010. He finished third.

2011: NL

Winner: Ryan Braun 

Snub: Matt Kemp 

It’s almost impossible to argue that Justin Verlander didn’t deserve the AL MVP Award this season. After all, he amassed a 24-5 record alongside a 2.40 ERA, 0.920 WHIP, four complete games, and 250 strikeouts. 

One could, however, pick a bone with Ryan Braun being awarded the hardware in the NL over Matt Kemp. Braun’s numbers -- .332/.397/.597 with 33 home runs, 111 RBI, 33 stolen bases, and a league-leading .994 OPS -- were exceptional. But Kemp’s were better. 

The then-Dodgers outfielder led the league in home runs (39), RBI (126), runs scored (115), OPS+ (172) and total bases (353) all while posting an imposing .324/.399/.586 slash line. 

If you ask us, Kemp was snubbed. 

2012: NL

Winner: Buster Posey 

Snub: Ryan Braun 

Once again, the AL got it right with giving the award to Miguel Cabrera, who hit .330 with 44 home runs, 139 RBI, 205 hits, and a .999 OPS. 

This time around, the NL MVP should have been given to Braun, who lost out to Giants catcher Buster Posey, who led the league in batting with a .336 mark, mashed 24 dingers, drove in 103 RBI, and posted a league best 171 OPS+. 

Braun, on the other hand, hit .319 alongside a league-leading 41 home runs, and 119 RBI. His 108 runs, 198 hits, 30 stolen bases, .595 SLG and .987 OPS were all superior to Posey’s marks.

2013: NL

Winner: Andrew McCutchen

Snub: Paul Goldschmidt

What makes this blunder all the more shocking is the fact that McCutchen received 28 of 30 first-place votes, and the other two went to Yadier Molina! Goldy's efforts didn't even receive a first-place vote!

To put it simply, Goldschmidt led the league in home runs (36), RBI (115), SLG (.551), OPS (.952), OPS+ (160), and total bases (332).On the other hand, McCutchen hit .317/.404/.508 with 21 home runs and 27 stolen bases for the Pirates.Though great numbers, voters fell in love with the fact that he led Pittsburgh to their first appearance in the postseason since 1992.

Cinderella stories are not what the MVP Award is about! Say it louder for the people in the back!

2014: None

That’s right, folks. 2014 marked a campaign where we agreed with both MVP winners: Clayton Kershaw in the NL and Mike Trout in the AL. 

Kershaw, the first hurler to hoist the award since the aforementioned Justin Verlander in 2011, was dazzling for the Dodgers in 2014. The star left-hander led the league with 21 wins, a 1.77 ERA, six complete games, a 1.81 FIP, an 0.857 WHIP, and 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings. That’s straight up domination. 

Trout, on the other hand, received all 30 first-place votes, and rightfully so. The Angels superstar hit .287/.377/.561 with a .939 OPS, 36 home runs, 111 RBI, and 115 runs scored. 

2015: AL

Winner: Josh Donaldson 

Snub: Mike Trout 

Even when the AL “screws up,” they probably made the right decision in the end. We wouldn’t exactly label this a snub, but we don’t fault Angels fans that view their star outfielder as deserving...annually.

Donaldson enjoyed a breakout season for the Blue Jays in 2015, mashing 41 homers, and driving in a league-best 123 RBI. His .297/.371/.568 slash line was equally imposing. Trout, however, hit .299/.402/.590. Those tallies are better than Donaldson’s. His 9.4 WAR was almost a full figure higher than Donaldson’s 8.5 mark. 

The fact that Trout only received seven first-place votes, compared to Donaldson’s 23, is stunning. This should have been a closer race. 

2016: None

NL: Kris Bryant -- led the league with a 7.67 WAR and was the only NL player to be named in the top-10 of that category. He also ranked third in the league with 39 home runs, sixth in RBI (102), and fourth in OPS with a .939 tally.

Daniel Murphy logged a superb season with the Nationals, but Bryant receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes tells you all you need to know. 

AL: The only qualm we have here is the fact that Mookie Betts, who would eventually get over the MVP hump, deserved more than nine first-place votes. His 9.7 WAR is still mind-boggling, but he simply fell victim to Trout’s all-time greatness.

Sometimes you just gotta tip your cap.

2017: NL

Winner: Giancarlo Stanton 

Snub: Joey Votto

For starters, Votto’s .320 batting average was staggeringly higher than Stanton’s middling .281 mark. Where Giancarlo really seduced the voters, however, was by smacking 59 home runs and driving in 132 RBI. 

However, Votto’s .454 OBP (which led the league), .578 SLG, and 1.032 OPS were all better than Stanton’s. Further, Votto mustered 11 more hits than the Marlins outfielder. 

This went down as one of the most tightly-contested races in MVP history, and one could certainly argue that Votto earned the award.

2018: None

NL: Christian Yelich -- slashed .326/.402/.598 with 36 homers, 110 RBI, 1.000 OPS, 22 stolen bases, and 118 runs scored.

AL: Mookie Betts -- led the AL in average (.346), SLG (.640), and runs scored (129) while clubbing 30 home runs and mashing 180 base-knocks. This marked one of the rare seasons where a player was comprehensively better than Mike Trout, and Betts deserves massive credit for that. 

2019: None

You could make the case for DJ LeMahieu (or Alex Bregman) in the AL, but we adore the WAR stat, and Mike Trout's would have run away with it if not for his season-ending injury.

Elsewhere, if not for Christian Yelich's knee injury, Cody Bellinger winning the NL MVP could have gone down as a snub, but Yelich appeared in just 130 games whereas Cody Love played in 156.

In the end, durability proved to be the deciding factor.

There you have it, ladies and gents. Let’s hope the next decade provides more deserving nods, but we wouldn’t count on it.