This is truly incredible. We will forever be able to say – only slightly exaggerating – that Chicago Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera was nearly an MVP finalist in 2020.
The NL MVP votes just came out, and while it is good and fine and interesting that Freddie Freeman won easily, and is also very cool that Yu Darvish and Ian Happ got down-the-ballot votes, RYAN TEPERA IS THE STORY:
Tepera, 33, was one of the Cubs flyer relief signings this year, and with the addition of a new cutter, looked absolutely dominant early on. From there, he kinda trailed off, ultimately finishing the season with a solid, not necessarily spectacular, campaign. The 34.8% K rate was awesome, but the BB rate spiked to 13.5%. His ERA- was 12% better than league average, his FIP- was 25% better. Like I said: really solid, but not overwhelmingly so.
But Rick Hummel out of St. Louis gave Tepera that final spot because reasons. AND I APPLAUD HIM FOR DOING SO BECAUSE THAT’S WILD.
As for Yu Darvish, he showed up on six ballots (fewer than Trevor Bauer’s 13), and Ian Happ got a final spot vote from Joe Frisaro out of Miami.
ALL HAIL RYAN TEPERA, BORDERLINE MVP CANDIDATE:
— Connor Kurcon (@ckurcon) August 29, 2020
Ryan Tepera's stuff is filthy 😷 pic.twitter.com/8xNCBlPRrl
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) August 18, 2020
This was enough to earn the 10th place vote imho https://t.co/Xlznqidpu6
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) November 13, 2020
UPDATE: Officially, this was a mistake. But I reject any suggestion that an MVP vote for Ryan Tepera was anything but earned:
The Hall of Fame writer who accidentally cast a vote for Tepera was as surprised as anyone: “Especially for somebody voting 40 years on this, that would be a stunning development. People would think I’ve lost my marbles."
So what happened? 👇https://t.co/Y94BhSHloh
— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) November 13, 2020