Tom Tango's recent blog post on the arguments against Joe Mauer for MVP is a pretty good read, which is hardly surprising given the author. Buried inside that post is the following nugget:
However, if you bring clutch into the discussion, all of a sudden, you are introducing Franklin Gutierrez, who has been sensational in the clutch.
Well that's interesting. Guti's been a good approximation of a league average hitter this year, which combined with his outstanding outfield defence has put him on pace for a five WAR player. Now, a five win guy is an All-Star calibre player, and Guti's year has been by all accounts a total success. But might he be even better? bRAA considers his batting statistics without context: a walk off grand slam is worth the same as a solo home run in a blowout. Most of the time, this is close enough to reality that it doesn't effect things one way or another. However, in Franklin Gutierrez's case, most of his offensive contribution has come with the game on the line. How much?
According to Fangraphs, he's been clutch enough to add something like three wins to his line this year.
Three wins from clutch hitting? Holy crap. That's enough to take Guti from being a league average bat and the best defensive outfielder in the world to being Justin Upton's bat combined with the best defensive outfielder in the world. Three clutch wins is the best in the American League by more than a win and a half.
Guti's not just been a five win player this year - what he's done for the team pushes him up to almost eight(!). That's... I have no more words to describe how good he's been.
Oh course, it's worth noting that his defence probably won't hold up, and that clutch hitting isn't a skill. So while it's nice to have what appears to be a legitimate MVP candidate on the team, one wouldn't really expect him to provide nearly the same value next year.
Still. Eight wins. Eighty runs! Thanks to Tango for pointing this out.