Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves was named National League Most Valuable Player Thursday, getting 28 of the 30 first-place votes. Mookie Betts of the Dodgers got the other two top votes.
Some Cubs got some downballot votes. Yu Darvish finished 14th, with a couple of votes as high as seventh place. Ian Happ, who had a great start to 2020 and was in the MVP conversation before fading, finished tied for 19th with one 10th-place vote.
Also tied for 19th were Max Fried, Dansby Swanson, Devin Williams and Ryan Tepera.
Ryan Tepera got a 10th-place MVP vote? Yes. Uh... why? Tepera had a decent season for the Cubs, posting a 3.92 ERA and 1.403 WHIP in 21 appearances. That was worth 0.2 bWAR. He had three holds.
That’s... not really MVP quality, not even 10th place.
Who bestowed this vote? Per the BBWAA website, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
So maybe Tepera impressed Hummel by pitching well against the Cardinals?
Nope. Tepera did strike out the side (Dylan Carlson, Paul Goldschmidt, Tyler O’Neill) in the second game of a doubleheader August 17, but then the Cardinals pounded him for three hits, a walk and two runs in 1⅓ innings in the first game of a doubleheader September 5.
So, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ on this one. Rick Hummel received the Spink Award from the Hall of Fame in 2007 and is a former president of the BBWAA, but I don’t understand why he would have given Tepera this vote.
Tepera will always have that on his baseball-reference profile, though.
UPDATE: Per Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago, Hummel’s vote was an accident:
“I’m sure the Tepera family is delighted, but there’s no way I would have voted for him. It was an accident,” said Hummel, whose 10th-place vote for Tepera was easily the shock of the National League MVP voting results released Thursday night that revealed a 1-2 finish for Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts.
“I fully intended to vote for Trea Turner [10th]. In fact, I remember wrestling with putting two guys in from a last place team,” added Hummel, who had Turner’s Nationals teammate Juan Soto eighth on his ballot.
Hummel, who retraced his steps Thursday night, discovered that Tepera’s name is just three spots above Turner’s on the drop-down menu of eligible players voters were able to use to fill our their ballots. He said the only explanation he can surmise is that he mistakenly clicked the wrong name in the window and then didn’t look closely enough at the confirmation email showing his votes.
It’s still a fun story.