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Thursday, August 09, 2012

Jim Leyland: Miguel Cabrera deserves MVP over ‘Wonderboy’ Mike Trout

Did you hear the one about Jim Leyland wandering into the L.A. Hollyweed store…thinking he bought a pack of wraps?

Tigers manager Jim Leyland doesn’t have an MVP vote, but if he did, he’d vote for his man, Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera, he told WXYT 97.1 in Detroit. Leyland didn’t stop there, he said he’s afraid “Wonderboy” Mike Trout would take votes away from Cabrera.

“What’s going to be dangerous for Miggy, and I mean this respectfully, he could run into one of these ‘Wonderboy’ stories,” Leyland said (via the Detroit News). “Trout, he’s one of the best young players I’ve ever seen. At the same time, when you do it over a period of time, a little bit longer, I think that should have something to say about that. That should be part of it. Although this certainly is a great story with the Trout kid. He’s unbelievable.”

Cabrera has finished in the top five of AL MVP voting in each of the last three years, but never won it.

This year he’s hitting .323/.384/.586 with 29 home runs and a big-league best 95 RBI. Trout is hitting .345/.409/.597 with 20 home runs, 60 RBI and 36 stolen bases. He leads the majors in stolen bases and runs (87), and leads the AL in batting average.

Repoz Posted: August 09, 2012 at 08:13 PM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 09, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4204854)
go smoke a butt, old man.
   2. Esoteric Posted: August 09, 2012 at 08:34 PM (#4204859)
Leyland is wrong, but you can't fault the ol' guy for sticking up for his player. It's what he's supposed to do.
   3. Kurt Posted: August 09, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4204867)
Esoteric pretty much covered it.
   4. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 09, 2012 at 09:02 PM (#4204871)
he could run into one of these ‘Wonderboy’ stories

Wonderboy powers... activate!

Form of... an old goat!

Form of... esophagus phlegm!
   5. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 09, 2012 at 09:17 PM (#4204877)
Jim Leyland didn't necessarily call Mike Trout "Wonderboy", he said that Mike Trout was a "Wonderboy story". This could be a suggestion that Mike Trout is Roy Hobbs.
   6. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 09, 2012 at 09:22 PM (#4204879)
What is the secret of Trout's power?
   7. McCoy Posted: August 09, 2012 at 09:30 PM (#4204890)
Rhododendrons
   8. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 09:32 PM (#4204894)
“Wonderboy” Mike Trout


I thought the hip term was "wunderkind."
   9. Walt Davis Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:22 PM (#4204925)
Heck, he doesn't even lead in WAR by a M Cabrera.

Trout meanwhile already has the 2nd best season by a Trout and is on pace for #1. But he will probably have to wait until next year to move into the 2nd spot on the career Trout list.

If he does pass Dizzy's season this year, I think that will be all-time #1 fish season (unless I forgot about somebody).
   10. Walt Davis Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4204926)
I thought the hip term was "wunderkind."

I'm pretty sure Leyland is not hip.
   11. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4204952)
Cut Leyland some slack. You know he is dying for a cigarette.
   12. These Guys Suck Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4204979)
Props to #6. How about the power...to move you.
   13. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4204985)
Jim Leyland said that Mike Trout is Roy Hobbs Bat


That was the insulting part.
   14. JH (in DC) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:48 PM (#4204989)
So that means that Cabrera is Nastyman? That...actually seems about right.
   15.   Posted: August 10, 2012 at 12:10 AM (#4204998)
Leyland has a point, really. The difference between 112 games vs 89 games isn't nothing, and it should be factored in. It probably isn't enough, but it
   16. Dale Sams Posted: August 10, 2012 at 12:11 AM (#4204999)
If he does pass Dizzy's season this year, I think that will be all-time #1 fish season (unless I forgot about somebody).


Why do you make Tim Salmon cry?



...also sitting here on the edge of my seat to see what Shock was going to say.
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: August 10, 2012 at 12:22 AM (#4205008)
I think that will be all-time #1 fish season (unless I forgot about somebody).


Domestically maybe.

   18. something like a train wreck Posted: August 10, 2012 at 12:34 AM (#4205012)
#9 -- By WAR Dizzy edges out Graig Nettles (assuming the plural of non-fish sea creatures). An All sea creature team that would finish about 71 - 91
C Hank Conger
1B Sid Bream
2b Johnny Ray
SS Chico Salmon
3b Graig Nettles
OF Mike Trout, Kevin Bass, Tim Salmon
P. Steve and Dizzy Trout, Brian Bass, Norm Bass

   19. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 10, 2012 at 12:48 AM (#4205017)
P. Steve and Dizzy Trout, Brian Bass, Norm Bass


No Catfish?
   20. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 10, 2012 at 01:05 AM (#4205020)
Mike Trout is obviously having an MVP-worthy year by the stats and by the story (Angels' season turned around when he was called up), and if/when he wins the award I won't complain.

However, I do hope that Miguel Cabrera eventually wins one. Over the past decade (containing his entire career), Cabrera has probably been the second most productive hitter in baseball, and he's done it in a fantastically consistent manner, with "MVP-caliber" seasons virtually every year.

He's received MVP votes every single year of his career (including his 87-game debut), he's finished in the top 5 in voting five times, and he has 2.41 career MVP shares. But he still hasn't won an MVP because every year there seems to be someone who's a little better. (You could argue that he was "robbed" in 2010, but not in any of the other years.)

   21. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2012 at 01:07 AM (#4205022)
Why do you make Tim Salmon cry?

I didn't forget Salmon -- his best year was 6.9 and Trout is already at 7.

I'm not sure nicknames should count but Catfish did put up a 7.7 WAR which would put him 2nd on the fish WAR list for now.

I had no idea Nettles was a fish -- but never hit even 5 WAR so no worries there.

I suppose in the fine Ichiro tradition I should consider Randy Bass's NPB numbers. :-)
   22. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2012 at 01:09 AM (#4205024)
Over the past decade (containing his entire career), Cabrera has probably been the second most productive hitter in baseball

Tell it to Albert those years he was stuck in the same league as Bonds (and the GREAT Ryan Howard).
   23. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 10, 2012 at 02:27 AM (#4205034)
Tell it to Albert those years he was stuck in the same league as Bonds (and the GREAT Ryan Howard).

But Pujols does have 3 MVPs. (I know, it could easily be 8, and he's been superior to Cabrera in everything, especially defense and running.)

I wonder how many players have had decade-long runs like Cabrera's without winning a single MVP (or without already having won one). In his 10 years (actually closer to 9) he's hit .317/.394/.558 (150 OPS+), with 1739 hits, 306 HR and 1079 RBI. He's led the league in AVG, OBP, HR, RBI, 2B, and total bases, and has finished as high as 2nd in SLG, OPS, BB and runs. He's been on two playoff teams (three if you count Game 163).

The best example I could find (with minimal random research) is Carlos Delgado. From 1997-2006 he had 370 HR, 1160, and a 148 OPS+. He finished 2nd, 4th, 6th, 12th (twice), and 21st in the MVP voting in that decade, getting 0 votes in four of the years.

Hmmm.... David Ortiz, Lance Berkman, and Todd Helton all have MVP-free decades that compare favorably to Cabrera's. Johnny Mize did it with a war in the middle. Maybe Cabrera isn't particularly special. But he gets bonus points for never having a bad season (like Ortiz) or shortened season (like Berkman).
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: August 10, 2012 at 02:35 AM (#4205037)
The best example I could find (with minimal random research) is Carlos Delgado. From 1997-2006 he had 370 HR, 1160, and a 148 OPS+. He finished 2nd, 4th, 6th, 12th (twice), and 21st in the MVP voting in that decade, getting 0 votes in four of the years.

Hmmm.... David Ortiz, Lance Berkman, and Todd Helton all have MVP-free decades that compare favorably to Cabrera's. Johnny Mize did it with a war in the middle. Maybe Cabrera isn't particularly special. But he gets bonus points for never having a bad season (like Ortiz) or shortened season (like Berkman).


Strictly considering work in the batter's box, I reckon Manny has them all beat.
   25. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:30 AM (#4205039)
Strictly considering work in the batter's box, I reckon Manny has them all beat.

Ah, good one! I knew I was forgetting someone obvious (if not dozens of them).

McGwire never won an MVP either, nor Edgar Martinez. But Edgar didn't have Cabrera's power and McGwire didn't have his batting average. (Batting average may be overrated, but it still factors into MVP voting, I think.) And both of them missed a lot of games with injuries.
   26. MM1f Posted: August 10, 2012 at 04:07 AM (#4205042)
“What’s going to be dangerous for Miggy, and I mean this respectfully, he could run into one of these ‘Wonderboy’ best player in baseball stories,”


But #2 is right, Leyland has to promote his guy, whether he believes what he is saying or not. And he probably does believe what he is saying. He should. He sees Cabrera get big hits every day. He should think his star is the best player in the league.
   27. MM1f Posted: August 10, 2012 at 04:13 AM (#4205043)
However, I do hope that Miguel Cabrera eventually wins one. Over the past decade (containing his entire career), Cabrera has probably been the second most productive hitter in baseball, and he's done it in a fantastically consistent manner, with "MVP-caliber" seasons virtually every year.


Agreed. This year he leads the league in Total Bases and Games Played (a grossly underrated stat in my book), is 2nd in oWAR and batting average, 3rd in OPS and WAR and top 10 in basically everything else and the thing is... it isn't one of his best years. This is probably his 3rd or 4th best year. This isn't like his unstoppable 2010 or 2011 years. This is basically a standard Miguel Cabrera season, and it is still MVP-caliber.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2012 at 04:37 AM (#4205045)
From 63-69, Santo hit 292/380/502 with 204 HR and 727 RBI, a 144 OPS+, 5 GG and put up one season of 9.6 WAR. That season he finished 4th in MVP. Cepeda won it and, on trad stats, it's reasonably legit.

In 1964 he hit 313 with 30 HR and 114 RBI (also leading the league in BB and OBP ... and triples!). He finished 8th that year. Ken Boyer won that year with worse numbers in all categories except 5 more RBI. Possibly something to do with the Cards winning the pennant while the Cubs were under 500. :-)

Aaron did win one at 23 then spent 14 years being the exact same player without ever finishing higher than 3rd.

Billy Williams had a couple of down years but hit 300/366/519 over 10 years, 141 OPS+ and had two 2nd place finishes -- robbed (ROBBED I tell ya) by Johnny Bench both times. :-) (In fairness, Williams never led the league in WAR)

While we're on the Miggy topic -- before the season started I said the 3B experiment would be a disaster and wouldn't last more than a couple of months. Well, the fancy stats say he's been average over there and it's obviously lasted more than two months so I'm willing to admit it's possible I was wrong. But, just like with Tom Glavine, I will eventually be right and that's the important thing.
   29. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 10, 2012 at 05:43 AM (#4205050)
McGwire never won an MVP either, nor Edgar Martinez. But Edgar didn't have Cabrera's power and McGwire didn't have his batting average. (Batting average may be overrated, but it still factors into MVP voting, I think.) And both of them missed a lot of games with injuries.


Muggy has a 156 OPS+ this year, McGwires career average was 163. Big Mac had 6 or 7 seasons at the plate better than Miggy's 2012, and at least 2 or 3 better than Miggys best year, and never won.

Miggy will never deserve an MVP because defense and base-running matter too.
   30. BurlyBuehrle Posted: August 10, 2012 at 06:28 AM (#4205051)

Miggy will never deserve an MVP because defense and base-running matter too.


That they matter is true, but is there any evidence to suggest that he is anything other than average - or at worst, slightly below average - in either of these categories?* Even assuming he is a below average defender and baserunner, he's still a tremendously "valuable" player based on his other talents - arguably the "most valuable player," no?

In short, to say he "will never deserve an MVP" based on defense and baserunning doesn't seem like a defensible position.

WRT to the full article, I get that Leyland has to defend his guy, but for him to say that Cabrera's performance in, say, 2010 or 2011, ought to impact the 2012 MVP race is beyond stupid. I realize this has been noted, but it is so colossally dumb that I had to say it again.

*A quick glance at BBref appears to support this conclusion.
   31. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 10, 2012 at 06:41 AM (#4205053)
Miggy will never deserve an MVP because defense and base-running matter too.

Deserve's got nothin' to do with it! :-)

We're not talking about the "Most WAR" award, but the actual MVP, the way it is voted on and has been voted on for decades. Generally, the award goes to the best (or most opportune) hitter in the league, and defense and base-running are very nearly ignored.

Frank Thomas won 2 MVPs, Ryan Howard's got one, Jason Giambi, Juan Gonzalez, Mo Vaughn, Justin Morneau...

At the moment, Miguel Cabrera is, by the eyes and even by the stats, a slightly below average defensive third baseman, but that's actually a point in his favor, IMHO. He voluntarily and enthusiastically moved to third so his team could add another big bat, and he quickly made himself approximately "adequate." I don't think any of the names listed above could have successfully moved to 3B in the middle of their careers.

Anyway, usually if a guy has a career like Cabrera has had, he wins at least one MVP (and I think he eventually will). Cabrera's triple-crown stats are routinely excellent, he's always near the top in RBI, he's always the best hitter on his team (and his teams are usually good but not dominant), he plays 150+ games, and he gets a large number of big/memorable hits. He does all the things that MVP voters traditionally have loved, but he just hasn't had the right timing.
   32. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 10, 2012 at 06:59 AM (#4205055)
How about this, Miguel Cabrera's Similar Batters through Age 28 (an extremely impressive list!):

1. Frank Robinson - Won first MVP at 25
2. Hank Aaron - Won MVP at 23
3. Ken Griffey - Won MVP at 27
4. Albert Pujols - Won first MVP at 25
5. Mel Ott - Never won an MVP
6. Joe Medwick - Won MVP at 25
7. Al Kaline - Never won an MVP
8. Mickey Mantle - Won first MVP at 24
9. Juan Gonzalez - Won first MVP at 26
10. Hal Trosky - Never won an MVP

I don't think Kaline's an especially good comp, as he was more of an all-around player (including excellent defense) but rarely had impressive power numbers. Trosky had some big years but not the extended run of consistency Cabrera's had.

Mel Ott, on the other hand, looks pretty similar from the numbers.
   33. something like a train wreck Posted: August 10, 2012 at 07:01 AM (#4205056)
If anyone has evidence to the contrary, I'll listen, but I think Cabrera is a good baserunner. He is not slow for what he is -- I would guess that he would beat Ortiz, Fielder or Howard by 40 feet in a trip around the bases, and he is a very good decision maker. Besides which, what in the name of Maury Wills does it have to do with MVP awards?
   34. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:31 AM (#4205076)
Aaron did win one at 23 then spent 14 years being the exact same player without ever finishing higher than 3rd.

He did finish 3rd six times. I'm reasonably confident that nobody else has done exactly that.
   35. stanmvp48 Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:38 AM (#4205077)
I wonder if there have ever been three players with the same last name in an All Star game before.
   36. AROM Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:44 AM (#4205080)
Assuming they aren't the same person, it would be interesting to see how often the MVP award goes to the WAR leader vs the OPS leader.
   37. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4205084)
I wonder if there have ever been three players with the same last name in an All Star game before.


The two times Vince DiMaggio went to the all-star game, his brothers (Joe, Dom) weren't in MLB (1943, 1944).

Jesus Alou never made an all-star game with Matty and Felipe.

Lonnie Smith made the all-star game in 1982 with Ozzie Smith (1981-1992, 1994-1996), but that was right before Lee Smith's run of all-star games (1983, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995), which also bracketed Dave Smith's two appearances (1986, 1990).

I leave it for someone else to examine Hernandez, Martinez, and Johnson.

   38. stanmvp48 Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4205085)
I got down through the "D"s in baseball-reference.com. Will get back to it.
   39. Tippecanoe Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:00 AM (#4205086)
I felt at the time like Pujols' first MVP award (in 2005) did use performance in prior years as a kind of tie-breaker. He and Derrek Lee were very comparable that year, with the edge to Lee in a number of key offensive categories including batting average, homers and OPS. But the voters -- who were not wrong -- showed a clear preference for Albert.
   40. RTSquared is not on the Rangers' DL...yet... Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:02 AM (#4205087)
I wonder if there have ever been three players with the same last name in an All Star game before.


Rodriguez, 2004. Alex, Francisco, Ivan.

First attempt :)
   41. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4205097)
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Eddie Murray. IIRC, he has the most MVP shares without ever winning the award.
   42. JJ1986 Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4205099)
96 All Star Game has Rodriguezes too (Henry being the third).
   43. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4205107)
Wade Boggs 1982-1991 .345/.435/.471 146 OPS+. Best MVP year was 6th
   44. TomH Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4205113)
Because MVP voters won't reward great OBPs unless accompanied by playing shortstop or stealing bases for a winning team.
Boggs had no MVP narrative. I mean seriously, they thought his teammate Mike Greenwell was more of a key in 88 than Boggs?
   45. Sweatpants Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4205121)
The 1989 NL team had Eric Davis, Glenn Davis, and Mark Davis.
   46. bunyon Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:57 AM (#4205127)
If anyone has evidence to the contrary, I'll listen, but I think Cabrera is a good baserunner. He is not slow for what he is -- I would guess that he would beat Ortiz, Fielder or Howard by 40 feet in a trip around the bases, and he is a very good decision maker.

I don't watch him enough to know if he's a good decision maker or not, so I'll take your word for it. But I'm glad you raise the point. Being a good base runner doesn't mean being fast, though it helps. To me it means doing the most with what you have. On an absolute scale, of course a fast SS who is smart will be a better base runner than a portly slugger who is smart. But by making good decisions and being clever, you get the advantage of a slugger without the loss of a bad runner.

Likewise with Cabrera's move to third. I didn't know what would happen but it wouldn't have surprised me if it had been an unmitigated disaster. That he has played a decent third base is a great statement to his value.

I really think these debates about who should win are good for learning but silly in and of themselves. If the race is so close that you're examining minutiae, or comparing apples and oranges, it doesn't really matter (to us, the public) who wins. I would say, if the season ended today, no one really has a beef with either of them. Now, if some reliever wins...
   47. ASmitty Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4205132)
I don't watch him enough to know if he's a good decision maker or not, so I'll take your word for it.


Cabrera is a very alert and intelligent baserunner. He is also predictably slow. But hey, he's third on the team in steals with four!

I think Cabrera's defense and baserunning are underrated, not in the sense that they're great mind you, but that they're better than most people assume. He also plays every single game, which is relevant. Trout is playing his ass off and is deserving of the MVP if he keeps it up, but I'm still comfortable calling Cabrera the best player in the AL.
   48. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4205139)
but I'm still comfortable calling Cabrera the best player in the AL.

Robinson Cano and Jose Bautista would like a word with you.

EDIT: And, obviously, there's the Mike Trout argument as well. Point is, I don't think there's a clear cut best player in the AL at this point, but it's probably one of those guys. Maybe even Pujols who I completely forgot about.
   49. ASmitty Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4205147)
Robinson Cano and Jose Bautista would like a word with you.


I'm going with body of work as well as current performance. The first is not relevant to the MVP discussion, but for my subjective rankings it is relevant. Also, I am biased.
   50. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4205165)
I'm going with body of work as well as current performance. The first is not relevant to the MVP discussion, but for my subjective rankings it is relevant. Also, I am biased.

I'm confused, are you talking about MVP or best player in the AL? If you're talking about best player in the AL, I think my point stands that those guys are all in the conversation. If you're talking about non-Trout MVP, I'm not sure what the case for Cabrera without even mentioning Cano is.
   51. ASmitty Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4205174)
I'm confused, are you talking about MVP or best player in the AL?


The ASmitty official "Guy I think is the best Player in the AL Award"

I agree those guys are in the conversation. I just think Cabrera is my personal answer. When saying I was "comfortable" saying that, I didn't mean he was comfortably ahead of everyone, just that I felt my answer was a fine one. Cabrera is obviously one of the best players in baseball, has been so for the past decade or so, and shows no signs of slowing down. Cases can, are, and should be made for other people.
   52. Booey Posted: August 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4205325)
Anyway, usually if a guy has a career like Cabrera has had, he wins at least one MVP (and I think he eventually will). Cabrera's triple-crown stats are routinely excellent, he's always near the top in RBI, he's always the best hitter on his team (and his teams are usually good but not dominant), he plays 150+ games, and he gets a large number of big/memorable hits. He does all the things that MVP voters traditionally have loved, but he just hasn't had the right timing.


I still think the Manny comp someone mentioned above is the best one. It seems pretty unlikely to me that a player could average something like 38 homers and 125 rbi with a .320/.420/.600 line for 13 years (1995-2008, minus 2007), while playing for perrennial playoff contenders yet never win an MVP award. But that's exactly what happened. And he was never even robbed - the only years he really had a decent argument were 1999 and 2004.

(Note: I just guessed on the Manny averages. I may be off a little)
   53. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 10, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4205437)
If anyone has evidence to the contrary, I'll listen, but I think Cabrera is a good baserunner. He is not slow for what he is -- I would guess that he would beat Ortiz, Fielder or Howard by 40 feet in a trip around the bases, and he is a very good decision maker. Besides which, what in the name of Maury Wills does it have to do with MVP awards?


Well, if he's better than Ortiz, Prince, and Howard, he's gotta be good!

Look, I was a little too harsh on Cabrera, but he's still a below average (fangraphs has him -12 runs career, and negative this year) base runner, and defender. Historically voters have elected players based on their perception of overall value, which is a contributing reason Big Mac why never got an MVP.

Today, voters have lots more stats to assess value with, if they choose to accept them. Miggys 3rd in ALfWar this year, but way behind Trout, the tremendous value of his bat is diminished by those two areas, EDIT: even with what looks to be his standard UZR 3b level (-5). He definitely deserves bonus points for making the move to third, and playing competently, but he's got limited range.

He needs to finish with a monster offensive year this year to have a deserving chance at the MVP. This year so far, his offense is excellent, but not nearly as good as his monster seasons.

   54. Booey Posted: August 10, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4205461)
Historically voters have elected players based on their perception of overall value, which is a contributing reason Big Mac why never got an MVP.


Mac didn't win an MVP cuz the 1998 Cubs made the playoffs and the Cards didn't, and the voters decided to give it to Sosa as a consolation prize for losing the Great Home Run Race of '98.
   55. something like a train wreck Posted: August 10, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4205571)
Historically voters have elected players based on their perception of overall value, which is a contributing reason Big Mac why never got an MVP.


"Perception of overall value" is tautoloogically true, but you are suggesting that voters perception is meaningfully influenced by defense and base running. Other than the 50s obsession with shortstops and catchers, that seems obviously untrue.

His failure to win an award does not require complicated explanations. He has never been the best player in a single year. He is among the best every single year. Over the past 8 years, who would you trade him for, other than Pujols? (In other words, 8 years of Pujols for 8 years of Player X).
   56. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4205810)
that seems obviously untrue

Not exactly. The first criterion is unquestionably the bat and if a player dominates offensively he'll win (or if 2 dominate then 1 will win). But the MVP will go to a SS or 2B or C almost anytime the writers have a "chance" to give them one. Sandberg, Alomar, Kent, Larkin, Pedroia, Rollins, Tejada, Pudge, Ripken. You've got Caminiti, Yount (as a CF yes?) and Pendleton too.

As to MVP droughts ... criterion #2 is probably being on a winning team and similar narratives. Had the Cubs made the playoffs in 70 or 72, Williams might well have undeservedly won over Bench. That's also probably the 2nd condition under which a "defensive" player wins it.

Nobody seems to be talking about NL MVP. If the Pirates make the playoffs, it's McCutchen for sure. Looks like he's the favorite even if they don't.

Holy crap! Buster Posey has a 168 OPS+. 329/400/540. 4.7 WAR. He's got a good shot at 100 RBI. That's Javy Lopez territory. :-)

So they'll probably give it to Melky. :-)

EDIT: I forgot Chipper and Brett in the MVP list although certainly Brett and arguably Chipper win as best hitter anyway.
   57. tjm1 Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4205819)
Miguel Cabrera is the millionaire's Bobby Bonilla. He's too big to have the quickness to play anywhere but 1B, really, but he's willing (and I think, actually, eager) to play 3B, and he won't kill you there - he has soft hands and can throw pretty well - and he lets you get another big bat in the lineup that way.

The Tigers are lucky they have a bunch of strikeout pitchers this year. Fielder, Peralta, Cabrera in the same infield would be pretty tough on a groundball pitcher.
   58. Booey Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:58 PM (#4205842)
But the MVP will go to a SS or 2B or C almost anytime the writers have a "chance" to give them one. Sandberg, Alomar, Kent, Larkin, Pedroia, Rollins, Tejada, Pudge, Ripken. You've got Caminiti, Yount (as a CF yes?) and Pendleton too.


Not to nitpick, but Robby never won an MVP. And you can also include A-Rod with the MVP shortstops and third basemen.
   59. something like a train wreck Posted: August 11, 2012 at 06:20 AM (#4206014)
Walt--I overstated, though I think you do as well. At times voters take position into account, in the sense that they will sometimes choose a middle IF having a monster offensive year over a corner OFer having a slightly more monsterous year. Too often they equate "monster year" with RBIs on a winning team. Sometimes they reward the scrappy veteran leader/heart and soul of a winning team having a good year. And sometimes who the hell know what they are rewarding. I'm not sure that they give any weight to defense within a position -- the sweet fielding 1B does not have an advantage over his iron-gloved counterpart.
   60. tjm1 Posted: August 11, 2012 at 07:15 AM (#4206018)
I'm not sure that they give any weight to defense within a position -- the sweet fielding 1B does not have an advantage over his iron-gloved counterpart.


I think it's more subtle than that. I think when there are good defensive players at key positions - e.g. Ivan Rodriguez - that definitely counts in their favor. I'd imagine that if Caminiti hadn't been such a good fielder, he wouldn't have won his either. Pendleton, too. Ozzie Smith finished second one time, and got a lot of first place votes that year - that has to be the best example of the past 30 year of actual skill at the position mattering. Ozzie hit well for a shortstop that year, but only his defense within the position got him into the MVP race.
   61. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 11, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4206031)
Ozzie hit well for a shortstop that year, but only his defense within the position got him into the MVP race.


That and his team finishing first. The Cards lose 90 games and he isn't in the top 10.
   62. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: August 11, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4206061)
Domestically maybe.


What's Victor Starfin's WAR totals?
   63. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4206167)
But the MVP will go to a SS or 2B or C almost anytime the writers have a "chance" to give them one.


Unless that player is named Derek Jeter.
   64. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 11, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4206174)
But the MVP will go to a SS or 2B or C almost anytime the writers have a "chance" to give them one.



Unless that player is named Derek Jeter.


or Robbie Alomar. Or Mike Piazza. Or Alan Trammell.
   65. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: August 11, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4206221)
Or Robinson Cano. Or Nomar. Or A-Rod (a couple times).
   66. Loren F. Posted: August 11, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4206235)
Despite all the progress of the last 15 years, RBI are still a huge factor in MVP voting.
   67. cardsfanboy Posted: August 11, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4206267)
I wonder how many players have had decade-long runs like Cabrera's without winning a single MVP (or without already having won one). In his 10 years (actually closer to 9) he's hit .317/.394/.558 (150 OPS+), with 1739 hits, 306 HR and 1079 RBI. He's led the league in AVG, OBP, HR, RBI, 2B, and total bases, and has finished as high as 2nd in SLG, OPS, BB and runs. He's been on two playoff teams (three if you count Game 163).


First name to pop into my head (As always when a great consistent player is mentioned who never won an MVP) was Eddie Murray. First 10 years(1977-1986) in the league, MVP votes the first nine... .299/.375/.505/.880 143 ops+, 1679 hits, 275hr, 1015 rbi, 3 gold gloves, led in obp, hr, rbi, bb, has finished top two in slg, ops, runs, total bases, ops+, (misses out on average but eventually gets there in 1990)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Eddie Murray. IIRC, he has the most MVP shares without ever winning the award.

Is that still the case? But yes, it does surprise me that other names are being bandied about before him.

I felt at the time like Pujols' first MVP award (in 2005) did use performance in prior years as a kind of tie-breaker. He and Derrek Lee were very comparable that year, with the edge to Lee in a number of key offensive categories including batting average, homers and OPS. But the voters -- who were not wrong -- showed a clear preference for Albert.


I agree, I was thinking Lee deserved it more and I would have voted for Lee over Albert if I had a vote, but I think that there was a little tie breaking going on that year, but I think it was more about the team standings than it was as a bump for the previous year.

I don't watch him enough to know if he's a good decision maker or not, so I'll take your word for it. But I'm glad you raise the point. Being a good base runner doesn't mean being fast, though it helps. To me it means doing the most with what you have. On an absolute scale, of course a fast SS who is smart will be a better base runner than a portly slugger who is smart. But by making good decisions and being clever, you get the advantage of a slugger without the loss of a bad runner.


Agreed. I'm spoiled in St Louis in that two of the slower players of recent memory are also excellent baserunners (Pujols and Molina) (for those not paying attention, Yadier Molina has 11 stolen bases this year) and it always surprises me how often people immediately equate speed = good baserunner, even when you see it on a daily basis not being true. We have John Jay who is a horrible base runner for a guy with his speed yet people will still give him props for his running. I would almost rather have Molina on the base paths than Jay(maybe not really but it feels like that sometimes)

I really think these debates about who should win are good for learning but silly in and of themselves. If the race is so close that you're examining minutiae, or comparing apples and oranges, it doesn't really matter (to us, the public) who wins. I would say, if the season ended today, no one really has a beef with either of them. Now, if some reliever wins...


I absolutely love the debates for the awards.

   68. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 11, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4206272)
'm surprised no one has mentioned Eddie Murray. IIRC, he has the most MVP shares without ever winning the award.


Is that still the case? But yes, it does surprise me that other names are being bandied about before him.


Yes it is

Murray is first, Piazza second, Manny 3rd.
   69. AROM Posted: August 11, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4206288)
"Miguel Cabrera is the millionaire's Bobby Bonilla. He's too big to have the quickness to play anywhere but 1B, really, but he's willing (and I think, actually, eager) to play 3B, and he won't kill you there - he has soft hands and can throw pretty well - and he lets you get another big bat in the lineup that way. "

Theoretically, but in reality it it has accomplished is getting Delmon Young's bat in the lineup. Still, this move has worked out well for the Tigers, much better than I expected. Cabrera's eagerness to play 3rd is the key. He's noticeably in much better shape this year, I remember last October thinking he looked like a whale. And as bad a fielder Prince is, playing 1B is probably better for him long term than DH. It's good to have goals and motivation.

In an APBA game I would have split 1b/DH with those two, kept Inge at third, and cut Young. Thinking the defensive gain more than offsets the difference between Young and Inge on offense. But in APBA you aren't as worried about your great hitters topping 300 pounds without proper activity.
   70. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: August 11, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4206414)
I really think these debates about who should win are good for learning but silly in and of themselves. If the race is so close that you're examining minutiae, or comparing apples and oranges, it doesn't really matter (to us, the public) who wins.


If the candidates for the award are truly that close, it has to come down to minutiae. A friend of mine used to give seminars on how to get college scholarships. One of the things he pointed out was when you have 1,000 candidates for one scholarship, the panel making the decision often cuts the thousand down to twenty fairly easily. But after that, there's not a dime's worth of difference between the applications. At that point it often comes down to things like neatness, word usage and even comma placement.

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