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Yoenis Cespedes powers the Mets, but he's not the NL MVP

Thursday's Say Hey, Baseball discusses Cespedes for MVP, Yadier Molina's bat-breaking strength, and Stephen Vogt's poor, poor groin. Subscribe for your daily Say Hey!

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Yoenis Cespedes is great at baseball. He's got an incredible arm, can play center when forced to (as he has been with the Mets), and has enviable power that he's put to good use in New York. He helped sweep the Nationals, putting the Mets up seven games in the NL East, by hitting .429 with two homers, three doubles, and seven RBI, and is batting .312/.357/.675 for New York overall. The most key thing to remember, though, is that he's played in just 36 games: please stop anointing him as the potential National League MVP.

There is some precedent, sure: Manny Ramirez received enough votes to finish in fourth in 2008 after batting .396/.489/.743 with the Dodgers in 56 games, and CC Sabathia, in the same year, threw 130 innings for the Brewers after a midseason trade, finishing sixth in the MVP race and fifth for the Cy Young. If there were one MVP and Cy Young award each year, not one per league, there would be more merit to their cases (and Cespedes'). However, there are two, and Cespedes also unfortunately shares a league with Bryce Harper.

Yes, the Nationals are now likely out of the postseason chase, and that will make Harper's candidacy meaningless for certain segments of the voting class. However, he's still leading the league in all three slash stats, and at 201, has the kind of OPS+ that puts you on all-time best lists with Barry Bonds, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams. Harper is only the second 22-year-old ever to produce a season of this quality, with Williams the other in his .406 1941. While that alone should mean little to voters, it does give you an indication of the levels of play Harper is at. Cespedes has been great, yes, but let's not overstate it for dramatic effect at the ballots, okay? Harper is living history, regardless of where the Nats finish, and Cespedes is 100 games behind him.