It’s clear that—in sports—there’s a need to point out the best individual players despite the overwhelming message that a team’s collective effort trumps everything (points to Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Seahawks)
But, with the Most Valuable Player Awards being among the most coveted pieces of recognition in athletics, RSVLTS is here to count down the Top 10 Most Valuable Athletes of 2013. And, while it may not compete with the opinion of the Associated Press, it still is a part of the Yearbook13 event—where there is a chronicling of all the most notable, memorable, and otherwise monumental aspects of the fleeting year.
10. Yasiel Puig
While he didn’t win the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year Award—this young phenom unexpectedly catalyzed a trend of winning in the Dodgers Clubhouse that was expected to be—at best—sparse during the previous MLB season.
9. Jose Fernandez
The winner of the National League Rookie of the Year Award, Fernandez was a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable triple-digit loss season for the Miami Marlins. With a debut ERA of 2.19 and 12 wins, Fernandez accounted for nearly 20% of the Marlins’ 2013 victories.
8. Clayton Kershaw
Statistically, for a pitcher to be mentioned in the same breath as Sandy Koufax is implicit of approbation. Clayton Kershaw accomplished the aforementioned as he won his second straight National League Cy Young Award. Not to mention, he’s had the National League’s best ERA for three straight years—posting an ERA under 2.0 in 2013.
7. Max Scherzer
While the star laden roster on which he plays fell painfully short of achieving their potential in 2013, Scherzer was only one Detroit Tiger to be recognized for his individual performance. Posting an ERA of under 3 and a record of 21-3—the most wins in the Majors in 2013—Scherzer’s 2013 season was worthy of a Cy Young Award and, less notably, a spot on this RSVLTS list.
6. Calvin Johnson
With the final quarter of the 2013 NFL Season still to be played, the receiver everyone loves to call “Megatron” stats stand at 72 receptions, 1,299 yards, and 12 TD’s. Leading the league in receiving yards, Johnson accounts for 34% of Matthew Stafford’s passing yards. While another offensive superstar is likely to be a candidate for NFL MVP, it is entirely possible that the Wide Receiver of Transformers nomenclature could win the Offensive Player of the Year Award.
Expect to be continuously awestruck by the Wide Receiver trapped in a Defensive End’s body.
5. David Ortiz
Overall, Ortiz’s regular season won’t be remembered in the books of Major League Baseball lore. However, the manner in which he played in the postseason was simply otherworldly. Putting the team on his back in a Greg Jennings-esque manner, Ortiz won the World Series MVP award and capped a historic turnaround for the Boston Red Sox.
4. Andrew McCutchen
The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t been good in a long while. Prior to this season, the last time the Pirates saw postseason action was when America was under the Presidency of George H.W Bush—the dad of the previous president. To put it numerically, the Pirates hadn’t been to the playoffs in 21 years. A major contributor to this effort, McCutchen’s diamond-based heroics earned him the 2013 National League MVP Award.
3. Miguel Cabrera
In an era of baseball where the power hitter seems like an endangered species, Cabrera still holds the torch for sluggers the world over in their darkest hour. With a batting average of .348, 44 home runs and 137 RBI’s, Cabrera won the distinction of American League Most Valuable Player in 2013.
2. Peyton Manning
In 2012, everyone was skeptical about Peyton Manning’s career with the Denver Broncos. With many great quarterbacks being mediocre in the their latter years in uniforms that they aren’t remembered wearing, Manning would have to prove that his career with the Broncos would be more akin to Brett Favre’s 2009 Minnesota Vikings Season rather than Joe Namath’s brief career with the St. Louis Rams.
Well, if his MVP-worthy 2012 season wasn’t indicative of Manning’s continued dominance then 2013 certainly is—throwing 41 touchdowns with four games left to play. It is entirely possible that Manning breaks Tom Brady’s 2007-set record of 50 touchdowns in a season—a year when Brady took home the MVP Award.
1. LeBron James
2013, and all of its surrounding years pay evidence to one universal athletic truth: the sporting world belongs to LeBron James. With 2 straight NBA Titles, earning his second straight MVP Award—with a distinct chance to win his 3rd straight, and 5th overall, after the current season—and the nickname “The King”; it is clear that Mr. James reigns supreme in 2013.