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There’s a chance this will be the first full season in baseball history without either a 40-home run hitter or a 20-game winner…
I mentioned one other player who could (and I suspect will) get some MVP consideration — that’s reliever Wade Davis. There’s precedents for relievers having absurd statistical seasons getting a lot of MVP love (and, in the case of Jim Konstanty, Willie Hernandez and Dennis Eckersley, actually getting the away). Davis is having an absurd statistical season. He went 38 straight appearances without giving up an extra base-hit, which is truly absurd. He has not given up a run since June. The trouble with Davis is that he will probably throw just 70 innings this year, which just isn’t much and (I suspect) willl prevent people from giving him the award. That said, I’m wagering he gets some real MVP consideration, especially if he keeps pitching like this through September. On the sabermetric side, he does lead all relievers in baseball with 3.2 WAR.
Is there any precedent for a middle reliever getting MVP votes?
Arthur Rhodes got a vote. So did Dave Robertson, Jesse Orosco, and Carlos Marmol.
Abreu has turned into a cross between a beast and a monster. If Trout continues to slip he might end up giving it away, even though the White Sox aren't any good.
Your 2014 AL MVP just homered to tie the Angels 3-3 in the 6th.
Josh Donaldson is hitting better than Gordon, and is darn good defensively too.
The Dodgers had the best pitcher and hitter in the league a few years ago, Kershaw and Kemp. I forget where they actually finished in the voting. IIRC Kemp was the subject of several of those "I cannot vote for a loser for MVP ... therefore Kemp is #2 on my ballot" articles.
At the moment, Alex Gordon is hitting .281 with 16 home runs and 59 RBIs. Nothing at all about that looks MVPish. He is not in the American League Top 10 in any offensive category, save hit by pitch. On this Royals team he does not lead the team in batting average, he’s tied with Omar Infante (yeah, Omar Infante) in RBIs, and he has just one more home run than Mike Moustakas, who spent time in the minor leagues this year.
Still, people chant “M-V-P.” And they SHOULD chant M-V-P. Why? Well, I think it really comes down to three reasons:
It doesn't seem to me that Elvis Andrus at SS has lost anything. Yet RField says that he's completely collapsed this year, is really dismal. His oWAR is about where it was last year, but he's lost three wins on defense. I can't see it. It may well be true, but I watch the Rangers a lot, and it's utterly invisible to me. In fact, I was assuming, since his offense is pretty stable, that he was still the same highly useful 3-4 WAR player as ever, but now he's well below average. I don't know whether to be grateful to the metrics for their insight or assume they're a hallucination.
Single season defensive statistics don't have much predictive value, that's why we use three seasons worth. But the balls that he caught this year are still the balls that he caught this year, even if he's not likely to catch them again next year.
He caught them but because of the issues of defensive metrics we don't really know if that means he's +18 runs or +12 or -1. There is just a lot going on and it isn't always so easy to figure it all out.
Is it possible that the defensive WAR formulas need to be re-calibrated to today's offensive environment? These numbers/rankings just don't seem sensible to me. They seem to be massively overvaluing outfield defense.
I have always wondered how you'd perceive a player's offensive ability if we didn't have access to stats all year.
But my point isn't the dWAR rankings, it's the absolute value. Even if we agree that Jason Heyward is the best defensive right fielder of all time, does that really turn a guy hitting .269/.350/.391 into the 4th most valuable player in baseball?
I know that WAR does not equal oWAR + dWAR, but Heyward's dWAR is 3.1, which suggests that his defense alone (playing exclusively in right field) has made him as valuable as Miguel Cabrera or Nelson Cruz or Melky Cabrera. It just seems unlikely.
My point... was not to make Gordon’s MVP case... but to point out WHY people in Kansas City want to view him as one. I thought that point was fairly clear, but I got a lot of response from, well, yeah, Mike Trout fans... Now, let me start by saying: I think at this moment Mike Trout IS the MVP of the American League. I’d vote for him. I think he’s the best player in baseball by a pretty fair margin and have written that many times.
That said, the Trout fan responses sound exactly like, yep, the responses I would get from Miguel Cabrera fans whenever I made the case that Trout deserved to be MVP. I mean, these responses are almost word-for-word like the Cabrera arguments in that for the most part they are not arguments at all. They are simple statements of opinion dressed up with certainty and incredulity to appear like facts... Trout’s still amazing. Utterly amazing. But let’s just be blunt about it: He’s amazing in fewer ways... Trout seems to be morphing into a somewhat different player. He’s hitting more home runs. He’s driving in my runs. He is becoming more like, well, yeah, the great Miguel Cabrera... Now, let me repeat this in case anyone missed it: I still think Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, and I still think he’s a worthy MVP. But blanket statements about him being so much better than Gordon or Donaldson are sounding pretty flat to me. Trout is not having as good a year as he did his first two. He’s not, at the moment, as dynamic a player as he was those first two. The Trout-Cabrera arguments for me were never about the two players – both so sensational – but about this idea of myth and reality, about the question of what the eyes see and what the eyes miss. Now, I’m feeling the same way about the Trout-Gordon-Donaldson arguments. WAR giveth. WAR also taketh away.
peralta has had several years running of good defensive performance.
Oh, and while looking that up...a possible explanation of why Gordon is having such a great year (spoiler alert: he isn't; Cespedes is the only one of the top 10 LF from last year getting any playing time this year, and he's been merely average).
If I'm the most beloved shortstop on Earth, by definition I ought to be the MVP even if I hit .100.
thanks. to me the writer is demonstrating that his critical thinking skills are just not in evidence. equating gordon the mike trout role from cabrera/trout mvp discussions is just silly. trout was an OBVIOUS mvp candidate war or no war
war is the ONLY thing making the gordon case. there isn't a fan in the world who even 5 years ago would have thought gordon was antyhing but a courtesy 10th place vote for mvp
I feel like the question I'm about to ask has come up within the last few years, but has any team as bad as the White Sox ever had both the MVP and Cy Young winner (Sale)
But it strikes me that shifts, and the tendency for bench players to back up multiple positions in either IF or OF, mean that in practice players are part of larger groupings than the refined value metrics see them as being.
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