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Monday, November 21, 2011

Peter Abraham: Explaining my MVP ballot

that had Zobrist 5th and Miggy 9th.

I do not put much stock in general character, disposition or loyalty as it’s impossible for me to get an accurate gauge of these qualities. These guys are what they are on the field, unless they’re proven cheaters.

In making my vote, I relied heavily on the statistics at Fangraphs.com, particularly WAR. I also spoke to players, managers, coaches or executives of 11 AL teams, other writers whose opinion I valued and many fans.

My personal opinion, and certainly many would disagree with this, is that value is also seen in the standings. If two players are similar statistically, I would favor the player on the better team. I believe it’s more impressive to put up good numbers when more is at stake.

5. Ben Zobrist (Rays): I was settled on the first four before the final few games of the season. Then the Rays won the wild card and I felt they should be represented fairly prominently on my ballot. Zobrist has been a quietly consistent and excellent player for Tampa Bay for several years now. He also had a WAR of 6.6 and started 33 games in right field in addition to his duties at second base.

9. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers): You have to give him credit for posting a .344/.448/.586 season after that DUI in spring training and all the subsequent controversy. He also hit 30 homers and drove in 105 runs. His WAR was fifth in the AL. You can certainly make a case he was just as valuable as Verlander. But Victor Martinez and Alex Avila provided the Tigers with plenty of pop, too.

Repoz Posted: November 21, 2011 at 08:49 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, media

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   1. The Essex Snead Posted: November 21, 2011 at 09:01 PM (#3998868)
So Miguel Cabrera wasn't as valuable as other AL players because he had other teammates that hit well?

Some things should be left to the imagination.
   2. valuearbitrageur Posted: November 21, 2011 at 09:06 PM (#3998877)
So Miguel Cabrera wasn't as valuable as other AL players because he had other teammates that hit well?


And he overcame ALCOHOLISM man!!!!!!!
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 21, 2011 at 09:08 PM (#3998880)
I appreciate him taking the time to explain his vote, and he is using modern stats to justify his decision. Kudos. But then he seems to abandon the stats when it pleases him. I'm no slave to the stats either, but some of the departures are just silly. Cano "held the lineup together." Verlander won games after a loss sixteen times! And the hilarious one is Gordon (who I am glad got any credit, but really deserved more support than he got)

Once I decided I could not in good faith vote for a third Red Sox player or another Yankee or Tiger, I looked for the next best player I had not voted for and settled on Gordon, who had a 6.9 WAR.


Well thanks for realizing there are 11 other teams in the league!
   4. valuearbitrageur Posted: November 21, 2011 at 09:10 PM (#3998884)
But every Yankees person I spoke to, and I asked a bunch of them, felt Cano was more valuable because how he held down a middle of a lineup that showed some cracks this season.


Let's play "you be the mediocre sportswriter!". Question #1

The middle of the yankees lineup would have fallen apart had not Cano

a) held it down.

b) took hold of it.

c) set the example.

d) patched the cracks.
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2011 at 09:16 PM (#3998895)
Let's play "you be the mediocre sportswriter!". Question #1

The middle of the yankees lineup would have fallen apart had not Cano

a) held it down.

b) took hold of it.

c) set the example.

d) patched the cracks.


Its a trick question! I did a quick count of da ringz and it shows that the lineup DID fall apart!
   6. Guapo Posted: November 21, 2011 at 09:26 PM (#3998910)
If two players are similar statistically, I would favor the player on the better team.


Because he had better teammates?
   7. Mark S. is bored Posted: November 21, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#3998918)
I was settled on the first four before the final few games of the season. Then the Rays won the wild card and I felt they should be represented fairly prominently on my ballot.


So, he looks at what teams won and then picks players on that team, but not too many. And if he has good teammates he gets marked down, except when he doesn't.
   8. Gold Star for Robothal Posted: November 21, 2011 at 09:41 PM (#3998929)
I can definitely understand leaning toward voting for players whose teams performed well, especially if those teams outperformed expectations. I think there are not just intangibles that contribute to wins and losses, but also actual aspects of performance (defense, mostly, but also situational hitting and running) that can lead to wins. They aren't necessarily predictive year to year, or easily isolated and therefore quantified. But if you have a guy like Zobrist with strong hitting stats, but also other strengths (such as positional flexibility, plus fielding and baserunning prowess), it would make sense to lean toward Zobrist, especially if you feel that the Rays outperformed expectations. It's not that Zobrist is getting bonus points for having better teammates, but that one is hedging that Zobrist's less-easily-isolated-and/or-quantifiable strengths find their numerical expression in the win column. Of course, I think the Rays just barely underperformed their Pythagorean W-L by a game, and the Tigers overperformed. But I'm not necessarily talking about Zobrist vs Cabrera (I'd rank Cabrera higher personally), than about a possible justification for the writers' thought process that doesn't reduce it to snark or strawman.
   9. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: November 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM (#3998966)
Holy contradictions, Batman!

It's important to look at advanced metrics. Good.

Doesn't let off the field stiff get in the way of his vote. Great.

I see two similar players and the one on the better team gets the nod. OK.

Zobrist over Cabrera because Cabrera had good players helping him out. Errrr, what?

Cabrera sure was good considering that DUI in April. But....wait, you just said....

Cano held the team together (it really tied the room together?) with all those other stiffs on the Yankees. MAN.....For ##### sake!!!
   10. Scott Ham Posted: November 21, 2011 at 10:54 PM (#3998983)
I do not put much stock in general character, disposition or loyalty as it’s impossible for me to get an accurate gauge of these qualities. These guys are what they are on the field, unless they’re proven cheaters.


I seem to remember Pete Abe having a pretty strong dislike for ARod even before the steroids came to light. Is it just in award voting he decides he shouldn't show bias?
   11. The District Attorney Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:31 PM (#3999012)
I can definitely understand leaning toward voting for players whose teams performed well, especially if those teams outperformed expectations.
The emphasized above would be a reason to use... here's a blast from the past for ya... Win Shares!

That list, BTW, would be:

AL:
1. M. Cabrera 38
2. J. Bautista 36
3. Ellsbury 34
4. Cano 30
5. yes, Zobrist! 28
6t. A. Gonzalez, Pedroia, Avila, Verlander 27
10. Granderson 26

NL:
1t. Kemp, Braun 37
3t. Votto, Fielder 33
5. Berkman 30
6. M. Montero (???) 29
7. A. McCutchen 28
8t. J. Upton, J. Reyes, Pujols 26
   12. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:38 PM (#3999020)
The MVP is a vanity award describing the players that mattered most who were responsible for the narrative of the season. This voting all seems personally reasonable in that context. It has no effect on the games on the field.
   13. mex4173 Posted: November 22, 2011 at 01:05 AM (#3999065)
Isn't dinging Bautista for a second half decline and the Jays being 16 back double counting? If those games mean less then why does it matter if he was worse in them, he isn't going to make it up by himself. And the Tigers won the division by 15 games and Verlander had 7 fWAR and the Tigers could not have won the division with out him. Why would one then consider WAR at all, if it can miss on players that badly.
   14. 'Spos Posted: November 22, 2011 at 01:57 AM (#3999088)
...here's a blast from the past for ya... Win Shares!


Great. I'm in my thirties, using dialup and Mac OS9.
   15. AJMcCringleberry Posted: November 22, 2011 at 02:09 AM (#3999101)
He votes for Verlander because the rest of the Tigers weren't good enough to win without him.

He puts Cabrera ninth because, while he may be just as valuable as Verlander, he had other good teammates.

What?
   16. stevegamer Posted: November 22, 2011 at 05:39 AM (#3999267)
Not nearly as awful as many internet award ballots.

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