Friday, November 15, 2013
More mindreading, which I didn’t like when Poz attempted to read the mind of anti-Pete Rose for the HOF folks, but I’ll throw it out there.
So here’s the explanation from Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, who voted Mike Trout 7th on his MVP ballot:
I am a strict constructionist re: “valuable”. If the award were Player of the Year, Trout would get my vote. I’m of the school that in order to have “value” you have to help your team be good, at least to the point of contending. The Angels didn’t truly contend. To fully develop that logic, players from non-contenders should not be listed on the ballot at all, but the BBWAA insists that we fill out all 10 slots, so I did, even though I did not think there were 10 worthy candidates from contending teams.
... Bill says he would have voted for Mike Trout had it been called the Player of the Year award. Others have said things like this too. “It’s not Player of the Year,” they say. “It’s most VALUABLE player. There’s a difference.”
OK, let’s pretend we could go back to the beginning and replace “MVP” with “POY.” Would people’s view of the award change? Would there be different winners through the years. I spent too much thought on this and decided: No way. Absolutely nothing would chance. If anything, I think it’s possible people’s view about the award would be even MORE slanted toward narrative and contending teams and so on.
Why? Look at those words. Player of the year. What do you think those words would mean to people if that was the actual name of the award? The word “best” is not in there. If anything that is more vague than Most Valuable Player. I can see the columns in my mind:
“So, you wonder why I voted Miguel Cabrera Player of the Year. Well, it’s right there in the name. It says ‘Player of the YEAR’ That means the player who had the biggest impact on the year. Who is that? Mike Trout? Playing for a team that did not even finish .500? Miguel Cabrera led his team to a division championship. That’s what a Player of the Year does.
“You will hear people say that the award should go to the player with the most value. They will come up with all those “value-based” statistics like VORP and BLURP and MORPY and PAJAMAS. But, notice, the award isn’t called the “Most valuable player” award. That might be Mike Trout. But it says ‘Player of the year.” And this year that’s clearly Miguel Cabrera.”
No, it’s not the word valuable. It comes down to this powerful feeling people have that one player should be able to do much more than one player can do. We like story lines. We like things that add up in our mind. We like to believe that if a player is TRULY great, he somehow will carry his team, any team, to victory — by himself, if necessary. It’s illogical, of course… But illogical or not, baseball is more fun with the idea that Miguel Cabrera put Detroit on his shoulders and took them to the playoffs while Mike Trout could not do the same in Anaheim. It doesn’t matter if the word is valuable or productive or worthy or crucial. It doesn’t matter if the award is called Most Valuable Player or Player of the Year or American Idol or The Oscar. Miguel Cabrera still would have won.
Interesting but I don’t really agree with Craig. We will never get to the point where we’ll be rid of harsh rhetoric in the MVP debate. We will always have people who think differently. There will always be a healthy supply of iconoclasts, no matter who makes up the “old guard”.
This is why we are where we are. This is why the rhetoric from some on the Trout side has turned, frankly, silly, what with references to “the intelligentsia” and “enlightened” people. They’re compensating. This is also why you see silly things like seventh place votes for Trout from the Old Guard/Cabrera folks. They’re compensating too. Everyone is so damn worried about their place in the world that they’ll say and do the silliest things in order to justify it. And, for the moment anyway, the Cabrera folks have a greater hold on the BBWAA, so their reaction — and Cabrera’s attendant solidification as MVP despite no triple crown and a full season from Trout — is worth more in the voting.
This dynamic won’t last forever, of course. For one thing, the people involved in it are generally pretty smart and reasonable people and, if they haven’t already figured out that these skirmishes are dumb, they will eventually. This happens with all proxy wars. They are mere footnotes to and offshots of the larger cold wars which encompass far greater and far more fundamental political and philosophical differences.
But those end too and a new way of organizing the world is eventually agreed upon. It happens with things as large and as important as nation-states. It’ll happen with something as small and relatively unimportant as the world of baseball journalism too.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Don Malcolm reveals who he thinks the writers are likely to pick based on past outcomes.
The nickel tour of what the Ptolemaic MVP is about is as follows: two-month snapshots of offensive data are captured, ranking points assigned to three counting stats (R, HR, RBI) and four rate stats (BA, OBP, SLG, OPS)....
What we have in the current Ptolemaic MVP method is something that is more likely to capture the thinking process of the BBWAA (though this year, we suspect it will be less accurate in its prediction than was the case in previous efforts).
Posted: November 14, 2013 at 12:02 PM | 4 comment(s)
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Could be worse.
Awards will be announced next week with daily announcement shows at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network, beginning with Rookie of the Year awards on Monday, Managers of the Year on Nov. 12, Cy Youngs on Nov. 13 and MVPs on Nov. 14. Voting was conducted by BBWAA members prior to the end of the regular season, so postseason performances do not count.
Here are the finalists as announced Tuesday on MLB Network, each category listed in alphabetical order:
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, Mike Trout…
NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina…
AL Cy Young: Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma, Max Scherzer…
NL Cy Young: Jose Fernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright…
AL Manager of the Year: John Farrell, Terry Francona, Bob Melvin…
NL Manager of the Year: Fredi Gonzalez, Clint Hurdle, Don Mattingly…
AL Rookie of the Year: Chris Archer, Jose Iglesias, Wil Myers…
NL Rookie of the Year: Jose Fernandez, Shelby Miller, Yasiel Puig
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
“YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Terry Bradshaw joins the cast of Duck Dynasty”. Bad guess!
... I was a [Mike] Trout guy last year, but generally I prefer my MVP to contribute to a winning effort. Yes, the criteria states that the winner “need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.” But playing for a contender involves a different kind of pressure. And the Angels were cooked by June.
That said, I clearly see the other side — why should voters penalize Trout for owner Arte Moreno’s misguided decision-making? I’m also starting to wonder: If Trout again finishes second, what exactly will he need to do to win the award?
[Miguel] Cabrera is the favorite because of his remarkable offensive performance and the Tigers’ first-place standing. But I’m finding it more and more difficult to mount a case against Trout.
Andrew McCutchen not only has the best narrative as the face of the feel-good Pirates, but he also leads the NL in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), satisfying the more sabermetrically inclined… My bigger concern, frankly, is a potential snub of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina… I’m leaning toward McCutchen. But I’m not all the way there yet.
AL CY YOUNG
As I wrote last week, it’s close between [Max] Scherzer and the Rangers’ Yu Darvish, with the White Sox’s Chris Sale not far behind… This one is not decided yet.
NL CY YOUNG
It’s Clayton Kershaw, and not by a little.
No player in the award’s 66-year history has won the honor after getting traded in the middle of a season.
Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias should be the first… his .773 OPS is second among to AL rookies to Wil Myers’ .825… He also plays better defense than Myers and has appeared in more games, leading to a higher WAR.
Yasiel Puig’s .960 OPS grabs your attention, as does the rest of his jaw-dropping game. But Puig didn’t join the Dodgers until June 3. Fernandez, second in the majors in ERA, is the pitching equivalent of Puig — and he has been with the Marlins all season... Fernandez is the easy choice.
I suspect the Red Sox’s John Farrell is going to win, and I’ve got no problem with that… Still, I’m not sure any manager is more deserving than the Yankees’ Joe Girardi… If Terry Francona gets the Indians to the postseason, all bets are off.
Clint Hurdle, Clint Hurdle and Clint Hurdle again.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Perhaps more impressive from a traditional standpoint, Kershaw’s ERA would rank fifth among qualified pitchers since the 1969 expansion and rules changes. As it is, three of the four above him pitched in strike-shortened seasons and compiled innings totals he’ll soon surpass if he hasn’t already.
Let’s first look at his competition. Kershaw’s pitching-only WAR is better than that of the top three position players: the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen (6.6), the Brewers’ Carlos Gomez (6.4) and the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt (5.7). If you include Kershaw’s hitting (.156/.217/.250), his total becomes 7.4, which only increases his lead in that stat. McCutchen, who has hit .321/.399/.512 with 17 homers and 26 steals, is by far the top challenger when one considers the potential narratives that could sway a certain segment of voters: he’s the only one of that trio playing for a first-place team, he’s doing so for the one that has had 20 consecutive losing seasons, and his second-half performance thus far (.374/.459/.626 with seven homers) has been off the charts. That said, while the Pirates are in good shape to make the playoffs, any fall from first place behind the Cardinals or Reds in the NL Central could compromise his chances, as could a cooling off from his torrid pace.
Somewhat bizarrely, of the 10 pitchers to win MVP since 1956, only three of them even ranked as the best *pitcher* in their league by WAR. Guess which three; answer after the jump.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
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