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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BBWAA: NL MVP: Ryan Braun

Milwaukee left fielder Ryan Braun, whose slugging and clutch hitting helped the Brewers win the National League Central title, was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Braun, who turned 28 last Thursday, was listed first on 20 ballots and second on the rest of the 32, submitted by two writers from each league city, to score 388 points, based on a tabulation system rewarding 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third and on down to one for 10th. Braun led the league in slugging (.597), on-base plus slugging (.994) and extra-base hits (77) and ranked second in batting average (.332) and runs (109), fourth in RBI (111), tied for sixth in home runs (33) and seventh in stolen bases (33). He hit .351 in 148 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who flirted with the Triple Crown all season, received 10 first-place votes and was the runner-up with 332 points. Kemp topped the NL in home runs (39) and runs batted in (126) and was third in the batting race at .324 behind New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (.337) and Braun. Kemp also led the NL in runs (115) and total bases (353).

Repoz Posted: November 22, 2011 at 06:48 PM | 92 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, brewers

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   1. Moe Greene Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:06 PM (#3999597)
Boo!
   2. The District Attorney Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:06 PM (#3999599)
Oh, well. Closer than it would have been in the past, I wager. Braun was great too.
   3. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#3999604)
I guess it's not a travesty, but Kemp was better. He'll just have to solace himself with that 160 million dollars.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:11 PM (#3999605)
Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who flirted with the Triple Crown all season,


That's not really true is it? It seemed like we woke up one day in September and suddenly Matt Kemp had a genuine shot at the Triple Crown. And then, in fairly short order, he didn't.

If there'd been Triple Crown talk all season, he might well have won the thing (or at least gotten closer to Braun).
   5. DCA Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:15 PM (#3999609)
It seemed like we woke up one day in September and suddenly Matt Kemp had a genuine shot at the Triple Crown.

This. He was also 1 HR away from 40/40, which I guess is no longer mythical, but I surprisingly heard little/no mention of it.
   6. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:16 PM (#3999612)
Congrats to Ryan Braun, Miami Hurricane. Still: ####### voters and their weird ass playoff fetishes.
   7. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:16 PM (#3999613)
I had a feeling this might happen...
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:33 PM (#3999627)
Stunned

Glad for Ryan

And Walt Davis can pound sand
   9. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:34 PM (#3999628)
Two reactions:

1) Sentimental: Hooray for Ryan Braun! I was rooting for him to get the MVP. Milwaukee deserves it and Braun had a great, MVP-caliber season.

2) Objective: I think Matt Kemp was a better player this year, and insofar as context leverage matters, Kemp keeping the Dodgers afloat was very impressive. Kemp also played a good centerfield, and that matters a lot to me (even if I don't quite trust single season defensive statistics.)
   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:35 PM (#3999631)
Kemp would likely have been a better choice, but Braun is not a terrible selection.
   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:36 PM (#3999632)
As much as I enjoy watching Kemp play, I do think this season will stick out in his career like Beltre's 48 homer year

Not a Norm Cash type fluke but still several degrees beyond his norm
   12. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:36 PM (#3999633)
Lots of concepts at odds here.

Playoff Fetish > Big/Small Market imbalance = West Coast Bias
   13. phredbird Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3999644)
i guess i was listening to the westy coasty guys too much. i was pretty sure kemp would get it.
   14. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:44 PM (#3999646)
Oh, we came so close. We almost had a team whose attendance dropped by 18% from 2010 to 2011 despite having the MVP and the Cy Young winner.

In a related note, why was Dodgers attendance so bad in 2000? If it wasn't for 2000, this year would be the first time since 1918 that the Dodgers aren't one of the five best-supported teams in the NL. The 2000 team even had a winning record, though no shot at the playoffs. Were people just that uninspired by a starting rotation of Kevin Brown, Carlos Perez, Chan Ho Park, Darren Dreifort and Eric Gagne? Were people unimpressed by Gary Sheffield's and Todd Hundley's historic seasons?
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:46 PM (#3999649)
I didn't think Braun should win it, only because I think left-fielders should be ineligible for MVP voting.
   16. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:52 PM (#3999656)
Ryan Howard 10th is pretty hilarious too.
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:54 PM (#3999659)
Ryan Howard 10th is pretty hilarious too.


He had more RBI than Braun.
   18. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:54 PM (#3999660)
Biff

Wow

I had not looked at the entire list

That's incredible
   19. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: November 22, 2011 at 07:58 PM (#3999665)
Fine.

I still hate him.
   20. Jay Z Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:04 PM (#3999675)
A computer could have written half of these comments. And probably did.
   21. AJMcCringleberry Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:06 PM (#3999680)
That's not really true is it? It seemed like we woke up one day in September and suddenly Matt Kemp had a genuine shot at the Triple Crown

Yeah. Reyes was around .350 at the all-star break, slumped to around .330 in the middle of September, which happened to be the time when Kemp got hot to get up to .325. Then Reyes hit about .500 in the last week.
   22. Don Malcolm Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:09 PM (#3999684)
Neyer may be happy (or apoplectic...) to know that Roy Halladay received more votes for MVP than Clayton Kershaw.
   23. Monty Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:10 PM (#3999686)
A computer could have written half of these comments. And probably did.


So's your ... [beep] ... mom.
   24. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:18 PM (#3999690)
I think this is a case where performance in the context of a playoff contender mattered. Braun's season, without the consideration of the positions they played, was more or less on a par with Kemp's, and I think more voters still feel comfortable with the idea of a significant "good team" bonus than feel comfortable with the idea of significant extra credit for playing a harder defensive position.

-- MWE
   25. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:20 PM (#3999691)
Worst possible ballot which might have been submitted:

1. Upton
2. Braun
3. Kemp
4. Howard
5. Kershaw
6. Kennedy
7. Morse
8. Axford
9. Montero
10. Fielder
   26. Rally Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:27 PM (#3999699)
I think more voters still feel comfortable with the idea of a significant "good team" bonus than feel comfortable with the idea of significant extra credit for playing a harder defensive position.


I wonder how much Kemp was hurt by Kershaw being the favorite for Cy Young. They were willing to give one award to a player on a .500 team but were not comfortable giving both Cy and MVP to Dodgers. I know it's a different set of people voting, but the MVP voters had to have a pretty good idea Kershaw was going to win.

Worst possible ballot which might have been submitted:


This would be worse:

1. Upton
2. BETANCOURT!
3. Kemp
4. Howard
5. Kershaw
6. Kennedy
7. Morse
8. Axford
9. Montero
10. Fielder
   27. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:35 PM (#3999711)
Prince finished third?

Geez.
   28. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:41 PM (#3999716)
Worst possible ballot which might have been submitted


It was tougher than usual this year, because only Braun, Fielder, Kemp, and Upton received Top 2 votes.

No random Michael Young appearances or anything.
   29. 3Com Park Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:49 PM (#3999721)
Jews now control baseball in addition to international banking.
   30. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: November 22, 2011 at 08:56 PM (#3999722)
No random Michael Young appearances or anything.

Yeah, I should do this for the AL vote, if no one has beaten me to it....
   31. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:08 PM (#3999730)
Worst AL MVP ballot possible:
1. Young
2. Granderson
3. A.Gonzalez
4. Longoria
5. Zobrist
6. Sabathia
7. Teixeira
8. V.Martinez
9. A.Cabrera
10.D.Robertson
   32. Christopher Linden Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:21 PM (#3999739)
Congratulations to Ryan Braun.

Regarding Howard, a few months ago I decided to compare his ratio of career MVP Shares to WAR with those of some other modern guys (last 30 years or so). Lapped the field. The #2 guy was Juan Gonzalez, for many years the poster boy for RBI-fueled undeserved MVP awards, and his number was like 30% below Howard's. Howard had twice the MVP Shares per WAR of A-Rod* and Bonds, and was 30-40% over Pujols. Just an unreal number.

*Jeter, BTW, scored poorly here, well below A-Rod. All the clutchy, jump-throwy-fist-pumpy, hustley pixie-magic dust MVP voters saw in him was not reflected in their ballots.

Happy Base Ball
   33. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:22 PM (#3999741)
Worst possible ballots for:

AL Cy Young
1. Verlander
2. Valverde
3. Haren
4. Romero
5. Robertson

NL Cy Young
1. Kennedy
2. Halladay
3. Kershaw
4. Cain
5. Vogelsong

AL Rookie
1. Ackley
2. Pineda
3. Walden

NL Rookie
1. Kimbrel
2. Espinosa
3. Barney
   34. Sweatpants Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:25 PM (#3999747)
Who's the all-time biggest surprise as MVP? I was not expecting Braun to win (this isn't in any way a knock on his performance - I just thought Kemp was going to win decisively), but there has to be a bigger one. Ivan Rodriguez in 1999?
   35. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#3999757)
Sweat

There have been a number of surprise winners.

Ichiro in 2001

Barry Larkin in 1995

Mo over Albert Belle

Terry Pendleton in the "F*ck You Barry" vote of 1991

Rollie in 1981

At least at first blush those come to mind
   36. stanmvp48 Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:33 PM (#3999759)
There is generally never a huge surprise because they usually telegraph when they are going to do something dumb. I always enjoy a discussion of the worst, however. Garvey, Vaughan, Jensen, Boyer, Pendleton?
   37. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:34 PM (#3999762)
Worst AL MVP ballot possible:
1. Young
2. Granderson
3. A.Gonzalez
4. Longoria
5. Zobrist
6. Sabathia
7. Teixeira
8. V.Martinez
9. A.Cabrera
10.D.Robertson


That's a different way of doing it. I was playing by the rules that we know certain guys were on every ballot, so they have to be included on the worst possible ballot which might have actually been submitted. Your way is fun too (and leads to even crazier looking ballots).
   38. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:38 PM (#3999766)
I don't think you can have a worst MVP discussion without leading with Don Baylor in 1979
   39. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:41 PM (#3999769)
Being a Dodger fan and probably reading Dodger-centric material, I had the notion that Kemp was more of a lock for MVP than Kershaw was for Cy. Did anyone in other parts of the country have that same impression?

I would have voted 1. Halladay, 2. Kershaw, and 1. Kemp, 2. Braun.
   40. stanmvp48 Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:44 PM (#3999773)
Andre Dawson, to flog a dead horse, as a reward for not walking. Willie McGee. Bell. I Rod, Juan Gone Tejada. Lots of bad ones. At least Braun clearly deserved to be at least second.
   41. Tuque Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:49 PM (#3999778)
I didn't think Braun should win it, only because I think left-fielders should be ineligible for MVP voting.

I enjoyed this.

Also, I agree with 39, but maybe that's just my Dodger bias showing. I thought Kemp had it in the bag.
   42. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:55 PM (#3999784)
Worst NL ballot that could actually have been submitted, IMO:
Upton
Braun
Kemp
Howard
Berkman
Pence
Morse
Sandoval
Montero
Fielder

Worst AL:
Young
Granderson
Cano
Gonzalez
Kinsler
Cabrera
Teixiera
Verlander
Bautista
Ellsbury

-- MWE
   43. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:56 PM (#3999785)
Am I alone in just being completely blown away by discovering that Ryan Braun actually had a higher OPS than Kemp?
   44. mex4173 Posted: November 22, 2011 at 09:58 PM (#3999788)
Or Stargell '79
   45. Clemenza Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:04 PM (#3999793)
Did anyone in other parts of the country have that same impression?

My reading of the Milwaukee tea leaves was everyone, obviously, wanted Braun but most felt Kemp either was going to win or was, in fact, more deserving.
   46. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:13 PM (#3999797)
Davo

Braun was a slightly better offensive player or at minimum equivalent.

All of the discussions around Kemp highlight him playing an adequate centerfield versus Braun's below average left field.

And rightly so.
   47. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:17 PM (#3999799)
I was just really surprised. I mean, I knew by WAR Kemp was waaaaaaaay ahead--over 2 wins better than Braun. And since they're both good defensive outfielders who run the bases well....I just assumed Kemp must have been a much better hitter to make up that big of a difference.

I'm surprised he wasn't. It was just a ton of small advantages that make up a huge difference in the aggregate:

Kemp had 60 more PAs than Braun
Kemp played center, Braun played left
Kemp played in a pitcher's stadium; Braun in a hitter's park.

etc
   48. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:21 PM (#3999803)
Interestingly, the "Dodgers played in pitcher's parks versus bad offensive teams" narrative failed both in regards to Kershaw (didn't hurt his Cy win) and Kemp (didn't help him overcome Braun).
   49. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:22 PM (#3999804)
Roy Halladay finished ahead of Clayton Kershaw in the vote.

I will never ever ever ever understand this, and it happens just about every year. Well....I guess I could understand it if the two were extremely close, but the worse pitcher were a better hitter. (IE: I can understand a voter who considers a pitcher's ability to hit while casting his MVP ballot, but disregards it while making his Cy Young ballot).

But Kershaw hit better than Halladay. So how does your Cy Young pitcher finish behind another pitcher in the MVP vote?
   50. The District Attorney Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:26 PM (#3999805)
So how does your Cy Young pitcher finish behind another pitcher in the MVP vote?
His team wasn't as good.

(Another fun one is when closers finish ahead of starters in the MVP [but not the Cy] because "they're more like everyday players." That happens surprisingly often.)
   51. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:26 PM (#3999806)
Davo

Braun is not a good defensive player. At his very best he's average and that's a bit of a stretch.
   52. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:28 PM (#3999809)
I guess I'm not really entitled to complain about this, but I wanted to point out the Troy Tulowitzki - the Gold Glove shortstop, mind you - had a higher OPS than a first baseman and a rightfielder who finished ahead of him in the voting.

OUTRAGE!
   53. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:45 PM (#3999822)
Braun was a slightly better offensive player or at minimum equivalent.

All of the discussions around Kemp highlight him playing an adequate centerfield versus Braun's below average left field.


Yep. Also worth noting that Kemp played 11 more games (and started 13 more).
   54. valuearbitrageur Posted: November 22, 2011 at 10:47 PM (#3999824)
Kemp should have won in a walk. After all Braun was on a playoff contender and didn't have the pressure Kemp did to come to the park and perform every day.
   55. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 22, 2011 at 11:26 PM (#3999842)
But Kershaw hit better than Halladay. So how does your Cy Young pitcher finish behind another pitcher in the MVP vote?


An entirely different electorate, for starters.
   56. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 23, 2011 at 12:54 AM (#3999877)
That's a different way of doing it. I was playing by the rules that we know certain guys were on every ballot, so they have to be included on the worst possible ballot which might have actually been submitted. Your way is fun too (and leads to even crazier looking ballots).

Yeah, I messed that up.
So the "worst" AL ballot is (based on min/max/mandatory ballot appearance):

1. Young
2. Granderson
3. A.Gonzalez
4. Longoria
5. Zobrist
6. M.Cabrera
7. Teixeira
8. V.Martinez
9. Bautista
10. Ellsbury

You can leave Verlander off entirely as there was one ballot he didn't appear on, and Granderson finished lowest overall of those that got a 2nd place vote.
Cabrera, Bautista, and Ellsbury all have to appear on the ballot with Granderson, but can be slotted as low as possible.
After that, I filled it in with the lowest ranking person remaining at each ballot position.
   57. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: November 23, 2011 at 02:17 AM (#3999912)
If you don't require players listed on every ballot to be included in your theoretical worst ballot, it could be argued that the worst ballot that could have been submitted for AL MVP was the following:

1. Young
2. Young
3. Young
4. Young
5. Young
6. Young
7. Young
8. Young
9. Young
10. Young

I'm guessing it's the first time one player had the lowest WAR at each spot on the ballot among players receiving votes.
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: November 23, 2011 at 03:09 AM (#3999939)
I'm ok with Braun winning, yes I would have given it to Kemp and think that most of the voters are idiots for not doing that, but at least Braun had a quality season.
   59. Greg Pope Posted: November 23, 2011 at 04:21 AM (#3999964)
An entirely different electorate, for starters.

Yes. It's important to keep in mind that there aren't really all that many people voting for the CY/MVP/ROY awards. It's not like the HOF where there are, what, several hundred (or a thousand)? The more people you have the easier it is to predict what they will do. With only 32 votes for this kind of thing, it's easy to get 5-6 whackos that throw off the voting.
   60. LionoftheSenate Posted: November 23, 2011 at 04:52 AM (#3999974)
5 yr ago this board would have been more focused on OPS than WAR. Braun is very worthy. Kemp was too.
   61. cardsfanboy Posted: November 23, 2011 at 04:58 AM (#3999978)
5 yr ago this board would have been more focused on OPS than WAR. Braun is very worthy. Kemp was too.


5 years ago ops+ was pretty much king, and there was always a positional adjustment. Braun isn't going to beat Kemp on the rate stats, factor in positional adjustments and 161 games played vs 150 and nobody on this board would have voted for Braun over Kemp 5 years ago, War or no War.
   62. LionoftheSenate Posted: November 23, 2011 at 05:30 AM (#3999986)
This board could be replaced by a computer program.
   63. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 23, 2011 at 05:36 AM (#3999988)
This board could be replaced by a computer program.

Tiffany Brissette's acting career is going to get just the jolt it has long needed.
   64. Rally Posted: November 23, 2011 at 06:04 AM (#3999991)
Willie McGee?

In 1985 at least, he was the best all around position player in the league. Led with 8.5 WAR. In batting runs alone he was third, just 9 back of Pedro Guerrero. It shouldn't be that hard to imagine that winning a gold glove in CF and going 56/72 on the bases easily puts him ahead of a guy whose best position should have been DH.

I know Dwight Gooden should have won the award. But at least they gave it to the best position player that year, unlike 1987 (Dawson ranked 38th) or 1996 (Gonzalez 42nd).
   65. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 23, 2011 at 07:26 AM (#4000002)
I have interacted with human imitating computers that made more sense than LotS.
   66. stanmvp48 Posted: November 23, 2011 at 01:05 PM (#4000026)
AROM. You are right about McGee I retract that. Nawrocki-if Tulowitski had not lost the last couple of weeks, he indeed should have finished as high as third and probably would have.
   67. Darren Posted: November 23, 2011 at 02:09 PM (#4000042)
5 yr ago this board would have been more focused on OPS than WAR. Braun is very worthy. Kemp was too.


Ten years ago, we would have all been going by height. I mean, as long as we're just making #### up.
   68. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: November 23, 2011 at 02:44 PM (#4000062)
I love the Hawk, but Dawson is probably the worst MVP in my lifetime.

He was a good choice, but Kirk Gibson's 1988 MVP with a .290/25/76 stat line still surprises me. Modern stats have him leading the league in WAR that year, but I'm still amazed that he outpolled Strawberry.
   69. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: November 23, 2011 at 03:15 PM (#4000078)

5 yr ago this board would have been more focused on OPS than WAR. Braun is very worthy. Kemp was too.


This, this and a whole lot of this. Sort of.

In general, the sabermetric community is way too quick to adopt new statistics. OPS+ relies heavily on park factors, and I'm not in love with those (especially for newer stadiums, though that's not in play here.) Does it properly adjust for an OBP-heavy OPS? It doesn't take into account speed. I didn't think it was conclusive then, and I don't think it's conclusive now.

The same is true for WAR. I have a very hard time relying on a stat which requires 3 years to have sufficient data in order to make a judgment on this year's production. I'm still unsure of the running component of the game being properly quantified. I have seen Jose Reyes massively disrupt pitchers. He once forced two balks and a meatball from Armando Benitez. Does that get measured in to Jose Reyes' production? I do think most elements of batting are quantified pretty well, though.

These stats are great, and the progress that's been made is terrific. I have a very hard time just looking at one or even a few stats and drawing a conclusion, though. There's a lot to this game, and I think we're not yet at the point where it's all been quantified or even can be. I think this has to be remembered. Cutting edge tech isn't always for the best. Range factor is not a good defensive statistic, and people swore by it. Well, when they thought that defensive position even mattered (remember that moment about 10 years ago? Just play Jeremy Giambi at shortstop!)

TL;DR: WAR & OPS+ should not be the basis for an MVP vote, but should be considered. In 10 years time, I think we'll look back on these conversations and think them primitive without MANVSF (More Accurate Newfangled Value Statistical Formula - designed by Adam Richman.)
   70. stanmvp48 Posted: November 23, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#4000089)
I think the Kirk Gibson vote has a lot to do with the fact that he joined the team and they were better than expected. Ditto Pendleton. Not logical but there it is.
   71. Darren Posted: November 23, 2011 at 04:39 PM (#4000159)
In general, the sabermetric community is way too quick to adopt new statistics. OPS+ relies heavily on park factors, and I'm not in love with those (especially for newer stadiums, though that's not in play here.) Does it properly adjust for an OBP-heavy OPS? It doesn't take into account speed. I didn't think it was conclusive then, and I don't think it's conclusive now.


Yes, those are some of the possible shortcomings of the stat. WAR attempts to fix some of those. But even before WAR, OPS and OPS+ were starting points. People could easily look at Kemp's tiny OPS deficit and realize that him being a good defender more than made up for it.

The same is true for WAR. I have a very hard time relying on a stat which requires 3 years to have sufficient data in order to make a judgment on this year's production.


The alternative is using your eyes, which have much smaller sample sizes to go on, or scouting consensus, which is very hard to actually obtain. In my mind, it's the best we can do right now.

And remember, single-season hitting stats are not very reliable either, and nobody seems to mind using them as is. For example, nobody is going to look at Kemp's 2012 HR total and say that, when evaluating him for MVP, we should knock off a bunch of those because they don't reflect his true talent level.
   72. Booey Posted: November 23, 2011 at 05:50 PM (#4000210)
I love the Hawk, but Dawson is probably the worst MVP in my lifetime.

He was a bad choice, but remember that stats like WAR and OPS+ didn't exist at the time. At least he led the league in homers and RBI's, so you can kinda understand where they were coming from (even though they were still wrong).

The biggest "WTF were they thinking?" winner I can remember was Justin Morneau in 2006. He didn't lead the league in anything and there were several clearly better offensive players that year, even using traditional statistics. His numbers weren't even all that special for a first baseman in the sillyball era. Hell, he wasn't even the best player with the initials JM on his own TEAM. But he hit well in September and a few dumb a$$ writers started a bandwagon for him that somehow caught on and the rest is history. I still shake my head about this one.
   73. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: November 23, 2011 at 06:42 PM (#4000269)
@70, Darren:

Honest question: is it that hard for, say, Pete Abraham to call up a scout or three that he knows and say "What do you think of Matt Kemp's defense?" It wouldn't seem that hard to me, considering the degree of access that most writers have (or had.) I'll grant that I could be entirely wrong about this.

And remember, single-season hitting stats are not very reliable either, and nobody seems to mind using them as is. For example, nobody is going to look at Kemp's 2012 HR total and say that, when evaluating him for MVP, we should knock off a bunch of those because they don't reflect his true talent level.


Does it matter that Kemp had a fluke season, though? Those home runs happened, runners were driven in, and games were won. Kemp actually provided that value. I have absolutely no problem rewarding a player for what I suspect to be a fluke season. I don't think it's reasonable to use regressed statistics to determine end of season awards, particularly for position players.
   74. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 23, 2011 at 07:27 PM (#4000313)
The biggest "WTF were they thinking?" winner I can remember was Justin Morneau in 2006.


Triple crown stats, AL playoff teams 2006, "hitting positions"
.321-34-130
.278-31-98
.284-24-109
.270-39-114
.254-35-95
.290-35-121
.253-37-113
.298-24-104
.347-13-84

middle infielders plus catchers
.347-13-84
.277-23-93
.342-15-78
.343-14-97
.300-13-69
.320-19-85

OK, many voters look just to playoff teams, or look to playoff teams first
Morneau lead in ribbies, Mauer in average, and Thomas in HR
Morneau beat Mauer in HR and RBI- by wide margins, he beat Thomas in Average and RBI- by reasonably large margins

Mauer's other problem is that his "case" looks a lot like a trio of middle infielders- two Yankees and a Tiger
The voting went Morneau, Jeter, and Ortiz (non playoff team, but Ortiz hit .287-54-137- I suspect that if the Sox had made the playoffs, he'd have bled off some of Morneau's votes and Jeter would have won.

As it was I think Morneau finishing 1st or 2nd was quite predictable, not right, but quite predictable
   75. Walt Davis Posted: November 23, 2011 at 07:27 PM (#4000314)
And Walt Davis can pound sand

Only if it buys me dinner first!

Don't know what I ever said about Braun that has got HW riled enough to flood my field.

After his rookie debut, lots of people were doing the "if he hits like this at 23, imagine what he'll do in his prime" silliness. HW usually doesn't engage in that level of silliness so I don't imagine we were engaged on the topic then. What I pointed out in those days were Braun's unsustainable on-contact numbers in 2007 and his reasonably high K-rate at the time. Now I can't find those threads (me and BBTF's search engine don't get along well) but I no doubt noted that once he returned to more sustainable on-contact production, if he maintained that K-rate, he wouldn't be the sort of hitter he was in 2007 or particularly close. I presumably pointed out that, if he were to reduce his K-rate, that would probably come at the expense of his on-contact numbers, especially his power. I suspect I said those things because those are the sorts of things I say about every hitter with ridiculous on-contact numbers and high-ish K-rates.

It is of course possible I over-stated the case and said Braun would never have a better season than 2007. Well, he did just top it in OPS+ for the first time, so if I said that, I was wrong ... mainly because I should know better than to not state things probabilistically.

In 2007, Braun hit 431/844 on-contact. It was not rocket science to claim that was not his true talent level. I generally suggest guys like that are more likely to hit something like 360/720 which is still damn good. At the time Braun was K'ing 1 per 4 AB and if you hit 360/720 on-contact while K'ing 1 per 4 you'll hit 270/540 which, combined with his low walk rate, is very good but not great.

But Braun did reduce his K-rate every year ... and look at the ISOs:

07 310
08 268
09 231
10 197

Or, from 2008-10, Braun hit 374/661 on-contact. So I under-rated him on BA and over-rated him on power but I fail to see how I missed by any substantial margin. The OPS+ was 136 (compared to 154 in 2007). The drop in power is at least partly explained by the GB/FB ratios: .68 in 07, .63 in 08, .9 in 09 and .94 in 10. HR/FB rates declined substantially: 19.2 in 07, 14.6, 14.1, 11.2 with corresponding drops in HR% (from 6.9 to 3.7). What did improve dramatically was his K/PA rate from 22.8 to 15.4 which is quite impressive. Braun is an excellent example of what I drone on about -- the importance of K-rate (and BA) for hitters and what it means for sustainable long-term production -- he's just helpfully served as an example in a different way than I expected. :-)

2009 gives us one example because I did find in my search, the 2009 ZiPS preview thread (oddly, I didn't comment in the 2008 ZiPS preview thread so the initial Braun feud must have happened elsewhere).

As to Mr. Braun ... put me down for the under. ZiPS seems to have forgotten its nonlinearity this offseason -- first it was projecting Howie Kendrick to put up a Cobbian BABIP, now it's projecting Braun to hit 385/781 on contact

In 2009, Braun hit 395/681 on-contact. So ZiPS got the BA bit right but I won big on SLG. ZiPS projected him to 45 HR, he hit 32. ZiPS also projected him to a 320 BABIP when he actually put up a 353. But declining offensive context, ZiPS only over-projected the OPS+ by about 5 points. Neither ZiPS nor I predicted another big improvement in K-rate. So neither ZiPS nor I got him right in any detail but he did come under ZiPS and he didn't hit for incredible power so I still don't see that I was way off (neither was ZiPS). (As to Kendrick, ZiPS projected about a 370 BABIP, he actually put up a 338, then 313, then 338 so I'm claiming a clear win on that one. :-)

Now this last year Braun may have put it all together. There was another drop in K-rate and the ISO returned to 265. He hit 398/715 on-contact. If he keeps that up at this K-rate, he'll be a top 5 hitter for the next few years at least. And if he keeps hitting for this kind of power, the walks will increase as well.

But, still, we have not seen the Braun of 2007 again. He hit 34 HR in just 492 PA that year. His career high is 37 in 663 PA in 2008. This year he hit 33 in 629. He has been a very good hitter and this year an elite hitter because he did pretty much exactly what I said he had to do to pull that off -- reduce the K-rate without losing too much of his on-contact ability. It's true, I would not have (and maybe did not) put his chances of reducing his K-rate so dramatically very high and, to his credit, the poster Beano Cook (and for all I know HW but not ZiPS) did foresee him dropping his K-rate substantially.

Still, my memory of what I've claimed about Braun:

a) his 2007 on-contact rates were unsustainable -- he hasn't come close to them since.

b) his 2007 K-rate was high enough that, given more reasonable on-contact rates, he'd have been a good, not excellent hitter -- true. Even his recent 398/715 rate at 1 K per 4 AB tops him out at 299/536 which would have taken 100 points off his OPS and an OPS+ around 135.

c) that reducing his K-rate would probably cost him power -- it has at least until this year. It has not had the impact on his BA on-contact that I would have expected so I was wrong about that.

I'm not claiming brilliance here -- I think the claims I made are blindingly obvious in fact. But can somebody fill me in on what I said that was so insulting or what I claimed that was so laughably wrong? I have been known to let my rhetoric get away from me so I can believe I claimed something with more confidence than I should have but it would be nice to see the actual quotes if anybody can find them.

Going forward ... well, this was about his best overall season so, in that sense, we have to assume his true talent is below this level. On the other hand, in one of my Pujols posts, I nominated Braun as one of the few I wasn't confident Pujols would hit better than over the next few years precisely because the power return could be for real and that power will lead to more walks and we could have a guy who will regularly OBP around 400 and slug around 550-600 for the next few years.

Still in all, Braun just had his best year with a 166 OPS+; Pujols' career OPS+ is 170 and he's never been below 150, so let's not get carried away (not that anybody is). Braun is a very good hitter and probably in the top 6 (Pujols, Cabrera, Bautista, Votto, Gonzalez) but he hasn't yet really had the same season back-to-back yet so I don't think anybody should be too confident in projecting him. What I am confident in saying is that, given the sweetheart contract he signed, he's likely to be one of the more valuable players over the next several years.

(That is, there's been a steady improvement in K-rate balanced in part by a steady, until now, decline in power with, in any given year, big but probably random bounces in things like BABIP and LD% during a time of a substantial shift in the broader offensive context. It just happens that, for Braun, from one season to the next there are 4-5 things changing substantially so it's extra difficult to pin down which changes are likely real and which are not.)
   76. stanmvp48 Posted: November 23, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#4000323)
Re: Morneau. Most RBIs on a team that made the playoffs. Predictable and illogical.
The worst example of this was Mo Vaughan. Tied in RBIs with Belle and both teams made it the playoffs. Even though Belle's team won a lot more games and Belle was better in every other stat, it was considered a two man race and they gave it to the guy the didn't hate.


Off hand Morneau's season reminds me of Mattingly's MVP year.
   77. SoSH U at work Posted: November 23, 2011 at 08:22 PM (#4000353)
Even though Belle's team won a lot more games and Belle was better in every other stat, it was considered a two man race and they gave it to the guy the didn't hate.


While Belle likely wins if he isn't a sociopath (since the race was so close), it wasn't quite that simple.
   78. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 23, 2011 at 08:58 PM (#4000373)
Walt

Nice spin Cubs fan

You had Braun as the next Mark Grace of left field
   79. Booey Posted: November 23, 2011 at 09:35 PM (#4000390)
OK, many voters look just to playoff teams, or look to playoff teams first
Morneau lead in ribbies, Mauer in average, and Thomas in HR
Morneau beat Mauer in HR and RBI- by wide margins, he beat Thomas in Average and RBI- by reasonably large margins

As it was I think Morneau finishing 1st or 2nd was quite predictable, not right, but quite predictable


I understand giving a guy a slight bump for making the playoffs, but only if his numbers are just slightly behind a similar player who didn't (i.e. Braun vs Kemp). But even ignoring catchers and shortstops like Mauer and Jeter and guys with high percentages that missed a lot of games like Hafner and Manny and only focusing on pure offensive seasons, Morneau was WAY behind Ortiz (3rd) and Jermaine Dye (5th), and right on par with Vlad Guerrero (9th) and Paul Konerko (22nd!). And while none of those guys made the playoffs, all played for winning teams, so it's not like they were toiling away for bottom dwellers.

Morneau - .321-34-130/.375/.551 (96 wins)
Ortiz - .287-54-137/.413/.636 (86 wins)
Dye - .315-44-120/.385/.622 (90 wins)
Vlad - .329-33-116/.382/.552 (89 wins)
Konerko - .313-35-113/.381/.551 (90 wins)

Should an extra 6 or 7 wins for your team be enough to give a guy the MVP when guys with identical numbers finish 9th and 22nd? Again, I can live with them giving the 2nd or 3rd best player the award for making the playoffs (Braun), but not the 9th or 22nd best.


Off hand Morneau's season reminds me of Mattingly's MVP year.

But Mattingly had 145 rbi's, which not only led the league, but it led the entire decade (again, I'm not saying I agree with their decision, but I at least understand it). It was the highest total between 1977 and 1996, actually. Morneau's 130 in the sillyball era was nothing special (well, it finished second that year, but a lot of years in the previous decade it wouldn't have cracked the top 5).
   80. stanmvp48 Posted: November 23, 2011 at 11:09 PM (#4000436)
Above: I think Rickey's run total led the decade as well and perhaps a longer period. Which caused the other. Who was the more valuable player on the team? How about Brett who had to drive in Willie Wilson?
   81. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 23, 2011 at 11:22 PM (#4000442)
well, it finished second that year, but a lot of years in the previous decade it wouldn't have cracked the top 5


Sure, but Morneau's only competition for the 2006 MVP award was other 2006 seasons. Looking at triple crown stats in #74 and #79, the only guy challenging Morneau in RBIs is Ortiz who (a) played on a non-playoff team, (b) was a DH, which some voters hold against guys, and (c) had a batting average 34 points below Morneau. I, like everybody else on this site, agree that Morneau didn't deserve that award, but I can see the superficial case and I think in #79, for example, you have to at least move from BA to OBP (and SLG) to see the obvious superiority of the rest of the guys listed there.
   82. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 23, 2011 at 11:49 PM (#4000453)
Mattinglys mvp was similar to morneau in that they both beat out better teammates by virtue of having nicer looking traditional stats
On the otherhand mattingly was quite a bit better in his mvp season than morneau was in his
   83. Booey Posted: November 24, 2011 at 12:21 AM (#4000460)
Above: I think Rickey's run total led the decade as well and perhaps a longer period. Which caused the other. Who was the more valuable player on the team? How about Brett who had to drive in Willie Wilson?

True, but the next time the writers view runs scored to be on par with runs batted in will be the first. And I agree that both Henderson and Brett were better than Mattingly in 1985. But again, giving the MVP to the third best player in the league isn't as much of a travesty as giving it to a player who may not have cracked the top ten.

well, it finished second that year, but a lot of years in the previous decade it wouldn't have cracked the top 5


Sure, but Morneau's only competition for the 2006 MVP award was other 2006 seasons.


Yeah, but all I meant by that was that Mattingly's RBI total REALLY stood out compared to his era, whereas Morneau's didn't. Mattingly winning MVP in 1985 would've been like Manny winning in 1999. Even for a HOF caliber slugger having one of his best years in the height of the silyball era and hitting cleanup on a team stacked with fast, high average top of the order guys, 165 rbi's in 147 games is a lot (most since 1938, actually). I'm actually surprised Manny didn't win in 1999, considering that his team won their division and the writers didn't like voting for pitchers like Pedro (again, I'm not saying that Ramirez SHOULD have won).
   84. cardsfanboy Posted: November 24, 2011 at 02:29 AM (#4000491)
It doesn't take into account speed. I didn't think it was conclusive then, and I don't think it's conclusive now.


was there any speed difference between Kemp and Braun? I know Kemp fans for some reason like to cite Kemps speed while completely and utterly neglecting Brauns. For the record. Kemp was 40 out of 51 in sb attempts, Braun was 33 out of 39... we aren't talking about a massive ignoring of the speed difference here.


War takes into account speed, but anyone worth an effort can look at the numbers and see there is literally no noticeable speed difference between the two, we aren't talking about comparing between albert pujols and Kemp.
   85. cardsfanboy Posted: November 24, 2011 at 02:34 AM (#4000492)
He was a bad choice, but remember that stats like WAR and OPS+ didn't exist at the time. At least he led the league in homers and RBI's, so you can kinda understand where they were coming from (even though they were still wrong).


yes but obp had long ago been already accepted by general managers, field managers and teams as the single most important offensive stat, just because a moron with a writers badge doesn't realize this, doesn't mean it isn't true.
   86. Booey Posted: November 24, 2011 at 06:40 AM (#4000572)
He was a bad choice, but remember that stats like WAR and OPS+ didn't exist at the time. At least he led the league in homers and RBI's, so you can kinda understand where they were coming from (even though they were still wrong).


yes but obp had long ago been already accepted by general managers, field managers and teams as the single most important offensive stat, just because a moron with a writers badge doesn't realize this, doesn't mean it isn't true.


Oh, I agree. Dawson was a very bad choice. I just meant that his selection was slightly more understandable than Morneau's because Hawk led the league in 2 of the 3 offensive categories lazy voters value most. Morneau didn't really come close to leading in anything, and his triple crown stats (again, the first thing casual fans and voters notice first) didn't stand out from a half dozen or more other offensive seasons in his league.
   87. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: November 24, 2011 at 07:11 AM (#4000579)
And remember, single-season hitting stats are not very reliable either, and nobody seems to mind using them as is. For example, nobody is going to look at Kemp's 2012 HR total and say that, when evaluating him for MVP, we should knock off a bunch of those because they don't reflect his true talent level.

Wait a minute -- when we say that defensive stats don't work in a single season, it's not because the player's actual performance deviates from his true talent. It's because of noise in our estimates of opportunities. Pretty much every defensive metric is based on estimating opportunities (or some baseline "average" performance), and these estimates are noisy. We know the noise can be quite large relative to the signal in the short term.

We make some estimates/assumptions with batting stats (about park factors, quality of competition, etc.), but don't suspect as much noise.
   88. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 24, 2011 at 08:01 AM (#4000587)
It's worth remembering with the Dawson MVP that he was in many ways the big story of the 1987 baseball season, or at least was a central figure in it. Dawson basically was one of the main people responsible in bringing the collusion to light, being the biggest name guy who managed to switch teams and did so by very publicly offering to take a below-market one-year deal with the Cubs just to get off the turf and into Wrigley. The Cubs, backed into a corner by the ridiculously generous offer, had no choice but to break ranks and snap him up.

This very public pre-season negotiation, followed by some more public accusations by the players union put collusion front and center for the year, and Dawson's ultimately failed quest to be the first guy to hit 50+ homers in a decade (and only the 2nd one since Willie Mays in 1962), kind of made Dawson the highest profile player of 1987. And that probably helped his MVP vote total a lot.

For me though, despite being a 16 year old Chicagoan, 1987 was the Year of Eric Davis. Haven't seen anything like it before or since. This game in particular:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN198709040.shtml

I won't forget. The final play of the game says "Flyball: CF", but what it should say is "OMG Eric Davis might be dead," but he held onto the final out anyway. One of his more famous encounters with an outfield wall. He was my '87 MVP.
   89. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2011 at 01:34 PM (#4000609)
As has been stated many times, that the voters (writers) blather endlessly about defense, baserunning and the "little things" and yet vote for Dawson over Ozzie Smith is the height of crazy.

Make up your minds!
   90. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 24, 2011 at 01:49 PM (#4000613)
Davis was awesome. If he hadn't gone 0-17 to finish the season, which cost him a .300 BA, a .400 .OBP, and a .600 SLG, he might have pulled off the MVP....but probably not.
   91. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 24, 2011 at 02:14 PM (#4000619)
Re 85
Really?
I root for a team whose prior gm once famously said this about OBP
"We don't look at that"
And judging by how he ran things he was not kidding
Sabrmetric stats continue to gain acceptance but I think many here overestimate that exceptance both currently and in the not so distant past
In 1985 when bill james asserted that Henderson and brett were better than mattingly. Well that was an extreme minority position at the time that vote was not controversial
In 1974wben garvey won that vote was not controversial either
   92. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 24, 2011 at 03:09 PM (#4000626)
Dawson basically was one of the main people responsible in bringing the collusion to light, being the biggest name guy who managed to switch teams and did so by very publicly offering to take a below-market one-year deal with the Cubs just to get off the turf and into Wrigley. The Cubs, backed into a corner by the ridiculously generous offer, had no choice but to break ranks and snap him up.


It wasn't just a "ridiculously generous offer." Dawson gave the Cubs a blank, signed contract, and told them to fill in the dollar amount. Dawson '87 was in some ways like Gibson '88; they were both among the biggest stories of the year before the season even started.

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