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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Friday, November 04, 2016

Most Meritorious Player: 1998 Results

Congratulations to Mark McGwire, our 1998 Most Meritorious Player

Player Name	pts	ballots	1sts
Mark McGwire	170	12	8
Barry Bonds	139	12	1
Albert Belle	114	11	1
Greg Maddux	98	10	0
Kevin Brown	92	8	2
Roger Clemens	91	12	0
Alex Rodriguez	87	9	0
Sammy Sosa	84	10	0
John Olerud	84	11	0
Mike Piazza	77	9	0
Tom Glavine	50	7	0
Craig Biggio	35	6	0
Ivan Rodriguez	29	5	0
Andruw Jones	29	5	0
Pedro Martinez	27	6	0
Ken Griffey Jr	25	4	0
Greg Vaughn	23	4	0
Chipper Jones	20	4	0
N Garciaparra	19	3	0
Scott Rolen	19	4	0
Mo Vaughn	17	3	0
Barry Larkin	13	1	0
Al Leiter	13	2	0
Jeff Bagwell	10	2	0
Jason Kendall	10	2	0
Derek Jeter	9	2	0
Randy Johnson	9	2	0
Kenny Rogers	8	2	0
Gary Sheffield	7	1	0
Scott Brosius	6	2	0
Edgar Martinez	5	1	0
Moises Alou	5	2	0
A Galarraga	4	1	0
Jamie Moyer	3	1	0
V Guerrero	3	1	0
Bernie Williams	3	1	0
Trevor Hoffman	2	1	0
Rafael Palmeiro	1	1	0
DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2016 at 09:57 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2016 at 10:35 AM (#5345789)
Player #ballots
Bonds 11
Clemens 11
Maddux 7
Larkin 7
McGwire 7
Piazza 6
Griffey Jr 6
Glavine 5
Belle 5
R Johnson 5
E Martinez 5
Biggio 4
Bagwell 4
Ivan Rodriguez 3
Kevin Brown 3
Mo Vaughn 3
Sheffield 3
Palmeiro 3
   2. DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2016 at 10:43 AM (#5345795)
Players with the most years on a ballot
16 - Aaron, Mays
13 - Schmidt
12 - Henderson
11 - Mathews, F Robinson, Wagner, Mantle, Bonds, Clemens
9 - Mathewson, Carter, Lajoie, Seaver, Berra
   3. DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2016 at 11:15 AM (#5345831)
38 players with a vote crushes the previous high of 34 in 1989. Still, not a single vote for the 1998 AL MVP.
   4. Chris Fluit Posted: November 04, 2016 at 01:40 PM (#5345973)
38 players with a vote crushes the previous high of 34 in 1989.

The expansion to 15 players per ballot has a lot to do with that.
   5. Chris Fluit Posted: November 04, 2016 at 01:45 PM (#5345979)
Mark McGwire is your 1998 MMP! McGwire joins his fellow bash brother as an MMP recipient (Canseco won in 1988). Moreover, this is the 7th straight year that the MMP has gone to a National League (Bonds, Maddux and Piazza were responsible for the previous awards). That beats the previous mark of 6 when the Seaver, Carlton, Morgan and Schmidt led the way for the NL from 1971 to '76 (the AL's best stretch is 4 from '77 to '80).
   6. Chris Fluit Posted: November 04, 2016 at 01:48 PM (#5345981)
In a surprise development, Albert Belle won the AL MMP this year. Belle finished a distant 8th in the baseball writer's MVP vote back in the day. Belle beat out the last two AL MMPs Toronto's Roger Clemens and Seattle's Alex Rodriguez for the honors (6th and 7th respectively this year).
   7. Chris Fluit Posted: November 04, 2016 at 01:52 PM (#5345987)
As noted, Roger Clemens fell short of defending his crown for the AL MMP. However, he still picked up the consolation prize of the AL pitching MMP. This is Clemens' 7th victory, following '86, '87, '90, '91, '92 and '97. Ed Walsh, Early Wynn and Dave Stieb are currently tied for 2nd with 3 a piece (though the bulk of Walter Johnson's career has yet to be covered).
   8. Chris Fluit Posted: November 04, 2016 at 01:55 PM (#5345993)
In one of the closer battles this year, Greg Maddux outpaced Kevin Brown for NL pitcher of the year. Brown garnered 2 first-place votes but he was also left off of two ballots, making room for Maddux's broader support to seize the day. This is Maddux's fourth victory in this category after '92, '94 and '95.
   9. DL from MN Posted: November 04, 2016 at 02:00 PM (#5346002)
Brown was left off of FOUR ballots
   10. bjhanke Posted: November 05, 2016 at 06:51 AM (#5346381)
I took a look over my ballot because I knew I was one of the people who didn't put Kevin Brown on his ballot. I developed a dislike for Brown while he was playing (no idea why), and wanted to make sure I had given him his mathematical due. I discovered two things, one of which would make a very minor difference in the vote counts way down the line, and one of which involved Kevin Brown.

Brown is in the same position as Roger Clemens, who just made my list. His WAR score is very high - 6th (Clemens is first - ahead of McGwire). But Win Shares has Brown at 35th, which is actually just one spot lower than Clemens. The difference of five slots in WAR made the difference between down ballot and off ballot. My guess would be that the other people who left Brown off their ballots had a Win Shares component in their analysis. I've been talking about the disconnect between the two systems regarding pitchers, probably to the point where everyone is sick and tired of it, but to me, this is one of the most interesting aspects of this project. Doing the rankings the way I do allows me to, en passant, compare the two systems. It is staggeringly clear that Win Shares likes starting pitchers much less than WAR, and pitcher placement on Win Share lists has been lower than position player placement for decades, and that the issue is getting worse, not better. Just to check, I found the Win Shares list for 2016, right where you told me it was, and copied it. In 2016, Win Shares does not have a single pitcher in the top FIFTY players. The highest pitcher placement is Max Scherzer, who is something like 52nd. Like I said, it's getting worse. Pitchers are pitching fewer and fewer innings, and those innings have had less and less leverage. This is overpowering the gain in FIP (three true outcome analysis).

The other thing I saw was that, rushing to complete the ballot as I was, I made a misread. I have Al Leiter 11th. He should not be on my ballot at all. When I was adding the Win Shares and WAR scores together, I misread Leiter's 48th place in Win Shares as 4th, a huge difference. WAR only has him ranked in a three-way tie for 23rd with Greg Vaughn and Curt Schilling. He is, in reality, nowhere near my ballot. My #11-#15 should read Andruw Jones, Greg Vaughn (8th in Win Shares), Roger Clemens (who would go into a tie on the results list with Kevin Brown, fittingly enough), Ivan Rodriguez, and Ken Grifffey, Jr. There are a lot of ties at this point in my list. IRod and Griffey are tied with Jeff Bagwell, while Kevin Brown is in another tie, just below those three, with Greg Maddux, for my #17 ballot slot, which is just off ballot.

In short, I need to do these ballots earlier. This month, I had the excuse of a two-week case of the flu. But, still. I'm doing these ballots using lists that I get a month before the ballot is due. I should just spend an evening early in the month, get the ballot done, and post it in the Discussion thread. That's going to happen this month. I'm embarrassed. - Brock
   11. A triple short of the cycle Posted: November 05, 2016 at 01:30 PM (#5346456)
Nothing to be embarrassed about, you put a tremendous amount of effort into this project and your posts are great to read. /HOM lurker
   12. Chris Fluit Posted: November 05, 2016 at 02:19 PM (#5346481)
Brown was left off of FOUR ballots

Right. I meant that Brown was left off of two more ballots than Maddux. Maddux was left off two, Brown four.
   13. DL from MN Posted: November 07, 2016 at 10:13 AM (#5347154)
I won't change the ballot results. With hindsight I'm sure several people would want to change a past vote.

Regarding Win Shares, I think how it treats starting pitching is just wrong. It treats the 9th inning as more valuable than the first inning which gives relievers too much credit and starters too little. If you use ordinals for starting pitching for the two different systems and then combine them back into your ballot with the position players I think you'll be more satisfied with the result.
   14. DL from MN Posted: November 07, 2016 at 10:16 AM (#5347156)
I was a little surprised by the lack of support for Alex Rodriguez. I thought he was the clear AL MMP and expected a couple first place votes.
   15. bjhanke Posted: November 09, 2016 at 01:56 AM (#5349578)
Actually, I am satisfied with the pitching result, because I agree with Win Shares' approach. My personal belief is that the MAIN thing driving pitcher rankings down compared to position players is the drop in the number of innings that starters pitch, a trend which has been going on since 1879 (Will White), when the schedules finally got large enough that one pitcher could not pitch every inning. The leverage thing is there, but it's a secondary factor to me. I do remember that, in The New Historical and Win Shares, Bill complains about the awards given out to closers, because he thinks they are overrated. There is also a paragraph about pitchers not winning MVP awards any more. Bill says that this is primarily because they stopped deserving them, about the time of Tom Seaver. I agree with him. The main thing that is adding value to pitchers is the increase in strikeouts. The trouble is that strikeouts don't account for all the outs a pitcher gets, while Innings Pitched does exactly that. So, unless the drop in IP is much slower than the increase in Ks, the pitcher is going to have less value, and that is all before leverage. One thing that I think drives the whole thing is that baseball is about half offense, a third pitching, and a sixth fielding. An individual hitter is responsible for about 1/9 of the offense, or 1/18 of the game, just based on hitting. And then most of them pick up value with their gloves. When your team's starters were pitching so many innings that they ate up much more than 1/9 of the pitching, they could compete for MVPs. In fact, back in the 1870s and 1880s, when pitchers could accumulate half or more the team's IP, pitchers won almost all the MVP awards. But pitchers don't do that any more, or anything close to it. Pitchers have also lost fielding value over time, because they don't make as many discretionary plays as they used to. This is also why great fielders don't win MVPs unless they can also hit. They are only responsible for 1/6 of the game, and there are, well, 8 1/2 of them, with the 1/2 being the pitcher. It's just very very hard for pitchers to compete when their arena of opportunity is 2/3 (1/3 divided by 1/2) of the arena of opportunity for hitters. Fielders have it even worse: 1/6 divided by 1/2 = 1/3. If you're Ozzie Smith and you want to win a MVP, you'd better learn how to contribute to the offense. If you're a starting pitcher, you'd better get your workload over 300 IP. No one pitches 300 IP any more. So, that's my argument. I think that WAR's rankings of pitchers are far too high for the IP they accumulate. I have no idea what WAR is doing that produces that. But I am convinced that Win Shares has it right because my analysis of baseball history supports that. Of course, everyone's opinion will vary. - Brock
   16. DL from MN Posted: November 09, 2016 at 01:35 PM (#5349996)
The increased size of the pitching staffs has made replacement players worse, especially considering a second lefthanded specialist reliever who throws 20 innings in the big leagues on the AAA shuttle versus a starter who throws 200. Those are the types of pitchers who can get significant innings in the regular season but can't even make a playoff roster, let alone get into a playoff game. Looking over the Twins roster, Phil Hughes had approximately a 0 WAR with an ERA of 6 in 60IP. The league average RA9 was 4.9 last season.

Also on your 1/3 and 1/6 split - strikeouts alone were 19096 outs in 21611 innings (American League). That's 29.5% of the outs that the defense (other than the catcher) had NOTHING to do with. That would mean pitchers are only 4% responsible for the rest of the outs.

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