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

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Most Meritorious Player: 2012 Results

Congratulations to 2012’s Most Meritorious Player, the Angels’ Mike Trout, who fell one vote shy of a unanimous victory.

                     1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   Pts
Trout, Mike          8       1                                                         133
Posey, Buster            6   2               1                                         119
Cano, Robinson           2   2   4   1                                                 113
McCutchen, Andrew            2   2   1   3       1                                      99
Cabrera, Miguel          1   1       4   1   1                 1                        95
Verlander, Justin    1           3   1           1             1    1              1    80
Molina, Yadier               1           1   2   2   2                        1         73
Braun, Ryan                          1       3       3    1    1                        70
Wright, David                            2       2        2    1                        53
Beltre, Adrian                                   2   2    2         2                   50
Headley, Chase                           1   2       1    1    1              1    2    50
Kershaw, Clayton                     1   1                2              2              39
Price, David                                                        3    1    1         17
Hill, Aaron                                      1                       2              14
Zobrist, Ben                                                   1    1                    9
Dickey, R A                                                         1    1               7
Gonzalez, Gio                                        1                                   7
Encarnacion, Edwin                                        1                              6
Cueto, Johnny                                                       1              1     5
Harrison, Matt                                                           1    1          5
Gordon, Alex                                                   1                         5
Cain, Matt                                                     1                         5
Cespedes, Yoenis                                               1                         5
Bourn, Michael                                                                1    2     4
Votto, Joey                                                                   2          4
Ruiz, Carlos                                                             1               3
Jones, Adam                                                              1               3
Mauer, Joe                                                                    1          2
Ramirez, Aramis                                                               1          2
Heyward, Jason                                                                     1     1
Medlen, Kris                                                                       1     1
Pujols, Albert                                                                     1     1

Total ballots: 9

The Senior Circuit’s MMP was the Giants’ Buster Posey. While Miguel Cabrera couldn’t repeat his MVP victory here, his team-mate Justin Verlander was the Most Meritorious PItcher. The top NL pitcher was Clayton Kershaw.

fra paolo Posted: January 08, 2013 at 02:00 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: January 08, 2013 at 08:42 PM (#4342463)
Posey was clearly the class of the NL. Verlander and Kershaw were top pitchers.
   2. DL from MN Posted: January 10, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4344125)
I was quite disappointed with the turnout for this election. I think it's critical to get a snapshot of contemporary opinion for the MMP project. I plan on running 2013 at the end of next season. I hope people are more prepared next time and we get more participation.
   3. Chris Fluit Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4344243)
Obviously, the records may change when we've filled in the 35-year gap, however, for now...

Mike Trout is the first MMP from the Los Angeles Angels. Dean Chance had previously won the pitching MMP in 1964 but no Angel position player had won an award until now. Mike Trout is also the first centerfielder to win the award since Mickey Mantle in 1962.

Justin Verlander joins Mark Fidrych ('76) as Tiger pitchers to win the pitching MMP. Denny McLain also took home the prize on behalf of the AL in '68 and '69 but was beaten out by Bob Gibson both years for the overall award.

Buster Posey is the second catcher and the third Giant to win the National League's MMP. Johnny Bench preceded him behind the plate while Mays & McCovey preceded him by the bay.

Clayton Kershaw may have been named the pitching MMP in the National League but he couldn't even crack the top ten in this year's ballot. That's the worst showing for the NL's top pitcher since Spahn and Drysdale each picked up one vote in 1961.
   4. DL from MN Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4344246)
Mike Trout is also the first MMP not HOM but that could change also.
   5. OCF Posted: January 10, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4344372)
Buster Posey is the second catcher ... to win the National League's MMP.

Ah, but there is that 35 year gap. I think there's a Mike Pizza year in there somewhere (the year Larry Walker was the MVP), although Bonds will have his say, as usual. And there's probably a Gary Carter year somewhere.
   6. DL from MN Posted: January 10, 2013 at 04:39 PM (#4344412)
I have Chris Sale as the best pitcher and Torii Hunter or Martin Prado as the best players to not receive a vote.
   7. Chris Fluit Posted: January 10, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4344567)
The 35 year gap will probably be filled in a few times by other Giants as well. I think a guy named Bonds has a chance.
   8. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: January 10, 2013 at 09:07 PM (#4344635)
I was quite disappointed with the turnout for this election. I think it's critical to get a snapshot of contemporary opinion for the MMP project. I plan on running 2013 at the end of next season. I hope people are more prepared next time and we get more participation.

This was touched on a bit in the previous thread, but the barrier to entry for first-time voters seems quite high. The level of precision expected is pretty high for even semi-casual voters, and the structure of the project isn't immediately obvious.

FWIW from an outsider (who has considered submitting a ballot).
   9. DL from MN Posted: January 10, 2013 at 10:11 PM (#4344660)
I would like a broader spectrum of voters. We have attracted voters who want to calculate their own WAR system but using less precision is not an issue. The structure is pretty simple - rank the top X players in a given year.
   10. fra paolo Posted: January 10, 2013 at 10:35 PM (#4344673)
I have Chris Sale as the best pitcher

As I mentioned on my ballot, Sale was my 15th man until I park-adjusted Pujols. Sale had an excellent season, and I don't think I realised how good a season he was having until about August.

The level of precision expected is pretty high for even semi-casual voters, and the structure of the project isn't immediately obvious.

I really don't get the first part of this. I don't think we've had a single ballot rejected or severely challenged on 'precision' grounds. I'm also surprised at the fact that many of us have 'home-brewed' systems is intimidating. We never challenge one another's systems, either. So far it's been very much live and let live.

The second part could be valid, but I'd like to hear a suggestion as to how to make the project's structure more plain.
   11. Mr. C Posted: January 10, 2013 at 11:50 PM (#4344713)
Six months ago, I started voting for the Most Meritorious Player Awards. I had followed a couple of the previous elections as a "lurker", and felt somewhat intimidated about joining in. However, when I inquired about the process, I felt welcomed to join and have voted in every election since. As fra paolo said, my system has never been challenged and any questions about my choices have been asked an a respectful manner, simply wanting further clarification about my picks. If my situation is a typical example, I certainly would encourage anyone who is interested to get involved.
   12. fra paolo Posted: January 11, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4345050)
The second part could be valid, but I'd like to hear a suggestion as to how to make the project's structure more plain.

I've thought about this, and I wonder if we should replace the long list of rules with an executive summary of bullet points, and just link to an earlier thread saying the full rules are found there.

Eg:

1) Rank your 'n' top players in both leagues, in a systematic order.
2) Put in a line or two about why you've ranked them in this way. You can group players for a longer explanation.
3) Join the discussion of others' ballots.
4) After all the discussion is complete, copy your ballot to the voting thread, making any switches you care to include as a consequence of what ideas have emerged in the conversation.
5) Profit! (or have fun or something)

For full rules look at this thread (with a link).
   13. Rob_Wood Posted: January 11, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4345081)
Yes, I second the motion about marketing and messaging. Everybody can vote! Here's your chance to pick the real MVP's!!
   14. DL from MN Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4345122)
How about I just use this at the top?


For 1978, each voter should rank their top 13 players from both leagues combined.

Balloting will close at 4pm EST on XX February 2013.

Anyone can vote, even if you do not normally participate in Hall of Merit discussions. If have never participated in an MMP election, just post a preliminary ballot in the discussion thread by XX February 2013.

For detailed rules see <link>
   15. DL from MN Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:12 PM (#4345127)
I think the "prelim ballot" is enough requirement for new voters. We can give further instructions later.
   16. sunnyday2 Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4345134)
It's a shame that this project got zero momentum from the Hall of Merit project. I remember people were pretty jazzed up about the Hall of Merit. But we pissed around for at least a year about whether to do this or not do this, and how to do this, and by the time this got started, even the skeleton crew had left the closet.

Attracting new voters is one thing....

But I voted in the first X of MMP votes and have drifted off. I always said we should have started with the hard years, the 19C or the Negro League years, when there would have been more at stake. So we picked Mike Trout. Other people are doing that, or picking Miggy Cabrera. We're not plowing any new ground here. I can't get jazzed up to argue between Fred Lynn and George Brett. I could get jazzed up to argue Oscar Charleton versus Babe Ruth or Josh Gibson versus Lou Gehrig.
   17. DL from MN Posted: January 11, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4345159)
We could alternate going forwards and backwards. Would people want to run 1960 after 1978 or stick with 1979? I am personally more interested in redoing some of the awful selections from the 1980s (1985!!). I also think it gives us more insight into recent candidates. Pretty soon the candidates on the ballot will have won MMP awards.

I'm up for juggling the schedule. Here's an example throwing in random years every 3rd ballot.

1978
1960
1948 (pulling these from an Excel random number generator)
1979
1959
1911
1980
1958
1989 (random forward or just earlier?)
1981
2013 (December 2013)
etc.

I don't like how that slows down the forward progress. I think I'd enjoy this:

1978, 1979, random, 1980, 1981, random, 1982, 1983, random, 1984, 1985, 2013
1986, 1987, random, 1988, 1989, random, 1990, 1991, random, 1992, 1993, 2014
1994, 1995, random, 1996, 1997, random, 1998, 1999, random, 2000, 2001, 2015
2002, 2003, random, 2004, 2005, random, 2006, 2007, random, 2008, 2009, 2016
2010, 2011, random, 1960, 1959, random, 1958, 1957, random, 1956, 1955, 2017
   18. fra paolo Posted: January 12, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4345609)
Would people want to run 1960 after 1978 or stick with 1979?

I have always supported our being synchronised with the Hall of Fame Veterans' Committee election. It means we have a slim chance at influence or attention. We missed an opportunity to go back in time, because this year's election is a 'post-1972' one, whereas last year could have covered pre-1947 players. So to me it makes sense to me to carry on from where we are, at least for a while.

I don't like the idea of randomly inserting years. If you want to split the calendar year between two eras, the VC one and one of our own, I'd suggest picking the peak five or six years of a HoM top-ten finisher, and doing MMPs for that. At least we'd be supporting our 'mother project' in that way.

What we should focus on is stability, making sure we keep doing at least one election every 3-4 weeks, although it may be we need to have a 'HoM/Christmas break'.
   19. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: January 12, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4345686)
I really don't get the first part of this. I don't think we've had a single ballot rejected or severely challenged on 'precision' grounds. I'm also surprised at the fact that many of us have 'home-brewed' systems is intimidating. We never challenge one another's systems, either. So far it's been very much live and let live.

My assumption has been that ballots don't get challenged because of the barrier to entry. Personally, I don't have an over-arching 'system' of ANY kind, so I haven't participated - not because I think I'd be rejected or challenged, simply because I already think my contribution wouldn't be worthwhile in comparison to what you've got.

The second part could be valid, but I'd like to hear a suggestion as to how to make the project's structure more plain.

I've thought about this, and I wonder if we should replace the long list of rules with an executive summary of bullet points, and just link to an earlier thread saying the full rules are found there.


When I said 'structure' I actually meant something even more basic - you all refer to ballot discussions and year-by-year agendas, and I just have no idea where this is coming from - what do I put into my browser to find out what's coming next? How do I know what to expect in terms of how often you all cover a season in this project? Stuff like that - the site architecture for lack of a better phrase of the MMP project seems opaque.
   20. DL from MN Posted: January 12, 2013 at 08:04 PM (#4345789)
what do I put into my browser to find out what's coming next?


http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/hall_of_merit

We have just been going in order year by year up to this point. 1979 comes after 1978.

How do I know what to expect in terms of how often you all cover a season in this project?


I'm not even sure what you're asking here. We're running each season once.
   21. Rob_Wood Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:10 AM (#4345967)
He might mean the schedule -- like each season takes 3 weeks.
   22. Chris Fluit Posted: January 13, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4346080)
My assumption has been that ballots don't get challenged because of the barrier to entry.


That may be true if you mean that existing voters don't want to drive fellow voters away because there are so few of us as it is. That's not true if you mean there are stringent criteria for devising your own system before submitting a ballot. When people refer to "their system," that's often a shorthand for saying "I use OPS+/ERA+ or Win Shares or baseball reference WAR or a combination thereof." You don't have to be Chone or DanR and develop your own system of WAR in order to participate. For example, one person's "system" is looking at all the major calculations of WAR, averaging them out and then submitting a ballot in the order of results. I tend to look at OPS+/ERA+ while making adjustments for playing time, position and defense (and then I look at WAR when I'm done to make sure that I'm not completely off-base). As I said in another thread, it takes me about an hour. That's not a huge commitment considering that we vote once every 3 weeks. On occasion, I've had other voters ask me about a ballot. Sometimes, they point out something I may have forgotten and I revise my ballot accordingly. Sometimes I stick to my guns. But it's generally pretty congenial around here.

   23. Chris Fluit Posted: January 13, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4346082)
I don't like the idea of randomly inserting years. If you want to split the calendar year between two eras, the VC one and one of our own, I'd suggest picking the peak five or six years of a HoM top-ten finisher, and doing MMPs for that. At least we'd be supporting our 'mother project' in that way.


I agree. I don't mind the idea of moving forwards and backwards on an alternate basis (ie. 1978, 1960, 1979, 1959, etc.). I also don't mind alternating between moving forward in the modern era and moving forward in a veterans era (ie. 1978, 1901, 1979, 1902, etc.). But I don't think you want to introduce an element of randomness. That has the potential to be confusing and yet another barrier to voter participation, when we're actually trying to eliminate those.

   24. DL from MN Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4346137)
How about two steps forward (78, 79) and one step back (1960)? We would be done with the post-war era and potentially getting into the Negro Leagues by 2016. We need to do some work to determine how many to elect for seasons before 1950.

I like fra paulo's idea of synchronizing with the HoF commitees but we've already done the HoM elections for those eras. Also, one thing this project has done is free me from caring as much about what the writers decide. I'd like to get MVP selections off our plaques and replace them with MMP results. I'd like to index future elections to team seasons. Make a clean break.
   25. fra paolo Posted: January 13, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4346339)
If the aim is to supplement HoM voting with this project, then I feel even more strongly about using the top ten returnees as a guide as to what seasons to cover in the MMP. I would rather not work backwards, though. I would rather do seasons in batches of five or six consecutive ones.

For example, Ben Taylor has been gaining ground in the last two HoM elections, and Cannonball Dick Redding has been in the top ten for a very long time. Their careers overlap somewhat, so I'd suggest doing something like 1919-24 if we needed a sequence of years to break with our current run.

I know it introduces problems of relating Negro League statistics with MLB ones, but we're going to have to wrestle with that sooner or later.
   26. DL from MN Posted: January 13, 2013 at 07:01 PM (#4346396)
Retrosheet has made it back to the 1940s. Who knows how far they'll be by 2016. The Negro league data keeps coming from seamheads as well. That makes me okay with waiting. I would be fine with tackling that era but I don't have time to do any heavy lifting (MLEs).

Regarding the VC, there are now three areas to cover:

Pre-Integration (1871–1946)
Golden (1947–1972)
Expansion (1973 to current year -20)

They've done the worst job with the 3rd category and it's the longest wait until Pre-Integration. Bill Dahlen is the clear favorite for the next time they meet (2016). We can knock off most of the Expansion era (73-94) by the time they meet if we pick up the pace. I'm fine with driving the "easy" part faster if everyone can keep up. Lately 6 weeks hasn't been enough time for voters.

Anyway, here's my latest proposal for the next 2 years - one election a month
1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2013
1960, 1959, 1958, 1957, 1956, 1955, 1954, 1953, 1952, 1951, 1950, 2014

We can discuss how to spend 2015 (1901-1911 + 2015?)

1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2016 (caught up with Expansion committee)
1949, 1948, 1947, 1946, 1945, 1944, 1943, 1942, 1941, 1940, 1939, 2017
(1912-1923 +2018?)
2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2019 (can fit an extra one in here) - 1939-2019 will be done
1924-1935 +2020
finish 1936-1938, who knows what

   27. Ardo Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:47 AM (#4346606)
Fun results. I didn't participate but would have voted 1) Trout 2) Posey [big gap] 3) Cabrera 4) McCutcheon 5) Verlander 6) Cano.

Amazing that we saw two historically great seasons in 2012, and neither one was by the Triple Crown winner.

Question for the peanut gallery: Given that RBIs are poor determinants of individual merit, has anyone led their league in BA and HR, but missed out on a Triple Crown because someone else led in RBIs?
   28. Chris Fluit Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4346642)
Anyway, here's my latest proposal for the next 2 years - one election a month
1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2013
1960, 1959, 1958, 1957, 1956, 1955, 1954, 1953, 1952, 1951, 1950, 2014
We can discuss how to spend 2015 (1901-1911 + 2015?)



I like that plan.
   29. DL from MN Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4346818)
Thanks for the second. Any opposed? The plan is:

1978-1988 +2013
1950-1960 +2014
1901-1911 +2015
1989-1999 +2016 (1972-1996 covered for Expansion VC)
1939-1949 +2017 (1947-1972 covered for Golden VC)
1912-1922 +2018
2000-2011 +2019 (modern era covered)
1923-1929 +2020
1930-1938 +2021 (1901-2021 finished in 10 years)

I think I'd rather run 2014 as 1950-60 forward time than 1960-50 backward time.
   30. Mr. C Posted: January 16, 2013 at 12:21 AM (#4347944)
Ardo

I only checked the most obvious person: Babe Ruth. He led the league in two of the three categories seven times. Six of the seven times he led the league in both RBIs and HRs. The only time in his career, that he led the league in BA (1924), he also led the league in HRs, but failed to lead the league in RBIs; so no triple crown for the Babe.
   31. Ardo Posted: January 16, 2013 at 02:19 AM (#4347964)
Thank you, Mr. C. I did the research myself, and there are five BA+HR/no RBI crowns, none since Pearl Harbor.

1894 NL: The first year at 60'6''. Hall of Merit perennial candidate Hugh Duffy hits .440 and also leads the NL in home runs. Sam Thompson edges Duffy 147-145 for the RBI crown.

1912 NL: Hardy Richardson leads in BA and HR. His 99 RBI are third to two other middle infielders: Honus Wagner (102) and the Braves' Bill Sweeney (100).

1924 AL: Ruth leads in BA and HR, winning his only batting title. Goose Goslin's 129 RBI for the world champion Nats lead Ruth by eight.

1939 NL: Johnny Mize hits .349 with 28 HR, but his 108 RBI fall short of his own teammate Ducky Medwick (117) and pennant-winning Cincinnati's Frank McCormick (128)

1941 AL: Ted Williams (.406) also hits 37 HR. Joe Dimaggio (56-game hit streak) leads the AL with 125 RBI. Williams's 120 RBI are only good for 4th, as Jeff Heath totals 123 and Charlie Keller notches 122.
   32. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 16, 2013 at 03:43 AM (#4347979)
1912 NL: Hardy Richardson leads in BA and HR. His 99 RBI are third to two other middle infielders: Honus Wagner (102) and the Braves' Bill Sweeney (100).


That should be Heinie Zimmerman.
   33. fra paolo Posted: January 16, 2013 at 09:47 AM (#4348007)
Given that RBIs are poor determinants of individual merit

I don't agree with this statement. It's not that they are poor determinants of merit, it's that the RBI number can't be taken at face value. For some players, on some teams, in some seasons, RBI might be an excellent reflection of merit.

I think I'd rather run 2014 as 1950-60 forward time than 1960-50 backward time.

As long as we're going forwards, I can support that plan. I absolutely refuse to go backwards.
   34. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 16, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4348209)
I would like a broader spectrum of voters. We have attracted voters who want to calculate their own WAR system but using less precision is not an issue. The structure is pretty simple - rank the top X players in a given year.


You might think about partnering with another stat-oriented site or two to attract an audience. If you get get the Fangraphs guys to write a post or two about the project, you might attract a few more voters.

I was going to do it this year, but if I recall I was travelling over the deadline.
   35. caiman Posted: February 08, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4365825)
From Mike Gimbe:

My apologies for the late entry, but I only became aware of this thread today. I don't know if anyone will see my comment at this late date, but I feel it is important to list the top RPA rated batters, in total run value, from 2012. This is a total run value, not a value above the average batter, but with a minimum .150 RPA rating.

AL:
1. Mike Trout 141.35 runs
2. Edwin Encarnacion 114.99 runs
3. Robinson Cano 107.68 runs
4. Miguel Cabrera 107.02 runs
5. Shin-soo Choo 106.90 runs
6. Prince Fielder 106.61 runs
7. Ben Zobrist 106.53 runs
8. Adrian Beltre 98.68 runs
9. Josh Hamilton 95.44 runs
10. Josh Willingham 95.18 runs

NL:
1. Andrew McCutchen 131.94 runs
2. Chase Headley 125.15 runs
3. Ryan Braun 112.46 runs
4. Buster Posey 109.86 runs
5. Matt Holliday 106.37 runs
6. Jason Heyward 103.65 runs
7. Angel Pagan 99.16 runs
8. Melky Cabrera 91.93 runs
9. Giancarlo Stanton 87.77 runs
10. Yadier Molina 86.35 runs

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