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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reggie Jackson: Miquel Cabrera clearly the MVP

Reggie WAR: Chocolaty covered caramel, peanuts, and filled with loads of bullshiit.

Reggie Jackson said he doesn’t see a debate where the AL MVP award is concerned.

“MVP conversations are for people who don’t understand the game,” Jackson said Wednesday at Comerica Park. “And those conversations are for people who don’t know what a Triple Crown means. They don’t understand the greatness of what Miguel Cabrera has done this year.”

...“W.A.R. evaluates the average player well but does not work in evaluating the great players,” Jackson said. “People under 40 tend to see the MVP as being Trout with the W.A.R. ratings. But people over 40 understand the Triple Crown that Miguel won this year, and know just how impressive that is.”

...“Cabrera is a pure hitter, just the purest hitter,” Jackson, 66, said. “You can see how it all begins by looking into his eyes before an at-bat. There is a determination and the thought of constant adjustments going through his mind that you can see.

“He is going to get the barrel of the bat on the ball. He lines up to hit a line drive to right-center, and he only very rarely tries to hit a homer, and when he lines up to squarely hit the baseball, there are not many who can stop him.”

Jackson, now an executive with the Yankees, also is impressed with his play since moving from first base to third base this season.

“I really enjoy watching him play defense,” Jackson said. “He gets around pretty good and he’s a giant. Watch him move for a guy who is at least 270 pounds!”

Repoz Posted: October 17, 2012 at 11:40 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, sabermetrics

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   1. Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: October 18, 2012 at 12:13 AM (#4275005)
You can see how it all begins by looking into his eyes


:)
   2. Bruce Markusen Posted: October 18, 2012 at 12:33 AM (#4275013)
Clearly the MVP, but not a Hall of Famer.
   3. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: October 18, 2012 at 12:34 AM (#4275014)
Here I was convinced that Trout was the MVP, but thank goodness Reggie! cleared it up for me.
   4. Into the Void Posted: October 18, 2012 at 12:38 AM (#4275015)
Yeah, Cabrera is a joy to watch on defense, especially compared to Trout.
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:10 AM (#4275027)

Nothing more to be learned about pure hitting than from a career .262 hitter who never hit above - let's pick a number - .300.

No wonder Reggie is impressed.

Plus Reggie is a career .227 hitter in the ALCS over a mere 163 AB, so this is a good time frame for him to be impressed with a slugger...

   6. silhouetted by the sea Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:14 AM (#4275030)
The new market inefficiency is a scout who can see a pure hitter just by looking into his eyes.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:17 AM (#4275049)
In fairness ...

Cabrera is a pure hitter, just the purest hitter

Not much to disagree with there.

“He is going to get the barrel of the bat on the ball. He lines up to hit a line drive to right-center, and he only very rarely tries to hit a homer, and when he lines up to squarely hit the baseball, there are not many who can stop him.

This may not be true but it sounds about right.

just how impressive that is.

And it is.

Jackson, now an executive with the Yankees, also is impressed with his play since moving from first base to third base this season.

While I didn't witness Cabrera at 3B, if the fancy defensive numbers are to be believed, I am also impressed (stunned might be more accurate) with how well Cabrera played 3B this year.

The issue of course is that, for this season at least, Trout wasn't much worse of a hitter and added lots of running and defense. God forbid I should RTFA, did the reporter bother to ask Reggie a question along those lines.

There's no question Cabrera had an MVP-caliber season. But there's also no question that Trout had an MVP-caliber plus season. What Cabrera did is impressive. But of course whatever the guy who finished second to Bolt at the Olympics did was impressive ... still only good for silver.
   8. JoeHova Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:25 AM (#4275050)
“MVP conversations are for people who don’t understand the game,” Jackson said

This is an odd thing to say.
   9. Swedish Chef Posted: October 18, 2012 at 03:01 AM (#4275053)
Jackson, now an executive with the Yankees

So where does he fit in on the org chart? Special assistant in charge of the objective pipe?
   10. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: October 18, 2012 at 04:08 AM (#4275060)

While I didn't witness Cabrera at 3B, if the fancy defensive numbers are to be believed, I am also impressed (stunned might be more accurate) with how well Cabrera played 3B this year.


All those threads at the beginning of the year where folks would claim - with 100% certainty of course - that Cabrera would never make it out of April at third and if he did the crappy defense would surely torpedo the Tigers chances were fun. Stuff like "Cabrera will cost the Tigers 40 runs on defense, easily wiping out the upgrade from Inge to Fielder in the lineup" were tossed around as fact. Ah, this place is awesome.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: October 18, 2012 at 05:15 AM (#4275063)
And I was one of those ... well, I don't think I ever said 40 runs but, yes, I thought it would be a disaster. Heck, I'm still thinking it will be a disaster next year.

And, as it turned out, the Tigers DHs, RFs and LFs were so terrible that the team would have been as well or better off with Cabrera at DH and Inge at 3B.
   12. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 18, 2012 at 05:38 AM (#4275065)
While I didn't witness Cabrera at 3B, if the fancy defensive numbers are to be believed, I am also impressed (stunned might be more accurate) with how well Cabrera played 3B this year.

Even though the Tigers are "my team," I only got to watch maybe 200 defensive innings during the regular season on MLB.tv because I'm on the other side of the world and most of their games took place while I was asleep or at work.

I know that eyes can be deceiving, which is why we have numbers, but just watching Cabrera at 3B, I think he actually looks pretty good. You wouldn't mistake him for a Gold Glover, but you also wouldn't think he was some "fat, slow first baseman who was a butcher even at the easier position," as seems to be the conventional wisdom here. He pretty much looks like he's been playing third base his whole career -- he handles plays in every direction, he doesn't make "clumsy" errors (like Fielder at 1B), he starts a lot of double plays, and he generally seems to have good awareness. As Reggie notes, he's a giant and he's not particularly rangy, but he's graceful for a big man and his arm, from what I've seen, is strong and laser-accurate. I mean, Fielder rarely even needs to move his glove when he receives throws from Cabrera (which is a good thing, because Fielder's actual defense seems to match Cabrera's reputation).

When everything is tallied up, Cabrera might not make as many plays as others at his position, but he's certainly not embarrassing himself out there visually, and he only made 13 errors. It's worth noting that the "average" major-league 3B is a helluva defensive player. It's a tough position and not a lot of major-leaguers can handle it, even if they're defensive whizzes at other positions. So even if the numbers and the observational consensus say conclusively that Cabrera is "below average" at third, he's still doing -- in my opinion -- a very good job.

And no, Harvey's, I'm not arguing for Cabrera to win the MVP over Trout! :-)
   13. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: October 18, 2012 at 06:36 AM (#4275071)
They have different strengths and weaknesses but I have the same impression watching Cabrera at third as I have had watching Chipper Jones, that is: Not great but he's good enough over there. It's not a problem.
   14. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 18, 2012 at 07:03 AM (#4275076)
Exactly. Unless we're in the Lake Wobegon league, there will always be "below average" defensive third basemen. That doesn't necessarily mean they're bad or harmful to their team's fortunes. There's a difference between Miguel Cabrera playing third and, say, Frank Thomas playing third.
   15. zack Posted: October 18, 2012 at 08:42 AM (#4275111)
What I want to know is how often opposing teams bunted against Cabrera. If it's not a lot, I would like to know why.
   16. JJ1986 Posted: October 18, 2012 at 09:23 AM (#4275136)
“MVP conversations are for people who don’t understand the game,” Jackson said Wednesday at Comerica Park.


Then he had an MVP conversation.
   17. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 18, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4275140)
What I want to know is how often opposing teams bunted against Cabrera. If it's not a lot, I would like to know why.

I don't know where to find this number, but BB-reference has him at exactly 0 for Rbnt -- BIS (Baseball Info Solutions) Bunts Fielded Runs Above Average. I don't recall there being an excessive amount of bunting against him, and I can guess why:

1. You have to be pretty good at bunting and also pretty fast to be able to bunt for a base hit at a success rate higher than your swing-away batting average. Bunting for a base hit is something of a "lost art" these days. Not many guys do it reliably well.

2. People here don't seem to understand/believe this, but Cabrera isn't a horrible fielder. He's not as good as the best third basemen, but he's a "major-league caliber" third baseman. He's far from helpless out there.

3. For fast guys who are good bunters, Cabrera plays in close, like any third baseman would. If the bunt isn't placed well, he'll field it and throw the guy out, like any third baseman would.

If he's playing deep and you surprise him with a perfect bunt, sure, you can get on base. But you could say this about any third baseman, if perhaps to a lesser extent. In other words, if bunting for a base hit works 10% of the time against Adrian Beltre, maybe it works 15% of the time against Cabrera. It's still not a good risk.
   18. BDC Posted: October 18, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4275146)
Gosh, I did see Cabrera play at third a couple of times this year, and didn't even notice him. So he must have been doing something right :)

Given any ability to throw (right-handed, of course), a first baseman ought to be able to play third at least for a while. You're fielding ground balls, even bunts once in a while; the skills aren't remote. It's probably outfielders who have the tougher time converting, because they're just not used to infield play.

That said, I don't think they'll want to experiment with Prince at 3B any time soon.
   19. dlf Posted: October 18, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4275151)
People under 40 tend to see the MVP as being Trout with the W.A.R. ratings. But people over 40 understand the Triple Crown that Miguel won this year, and know just how impressive that is.


Hot damn, I can take years off my age! I can tell my wife I'm no longer middle aged ... instead, I've just been pushed back into my 30s. I can run faster, drink more, and f#@k all night.
   20. TomH Posted: October 18, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4275156)
Reggie is surprised that Reggie didn't win the MVP!
   21. I Am Not a Number Posted: October 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4275213)
Reggie Jackson, insufferable in youth, insufferable in old age. Plus ca change...
   22. Shredder Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4275408)
2. People here don't seem to understand/believe this, but Cabrera isn't a horrible fielder. He's not as good as the best third basemen, but he's a "major-league caliber" third baseman. He's far from helpless out there.
I'm quite willing to concede that Miguel Cabrera had an average defensive season, and probably better than people may have expected (though let's not forget that third base isn't exactly new to him). And this would be a great argument in Cabrera's favor if he had a clearly superior offensive season compared to Mike Trout. But he didn't. He arguably didn't have a superior offensive season AT ALL. And when that's the case, being average at a hard position is not a positive when you're being compared to a guy who was phenomenal at a harder position.
   23. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4275481)
"2. People here don't seem to understand/believe this, but Cabrera isn't a horrible fielder. He's not as good as the best third basemen, but he's a "major-league caliber" third baseman. He's far from helpless out there."

I think few people thought this was a possibility in the pre-season, but after watching him for a full year I think just about everyone concedes he did an adequate job there. It's just when the Trout debates come up Miguel is not the defensive asset that Trout is.

There are two ways Cabrera could have been a disaster: the Sheffield/Braun way were they make so many errors it's obvious to all they aren't getting the job done, and the Jeter way of making few errors but not getting to enough balls. Cabrera obvious did not fit in the first category, which is a bit surprising as it was a rash of errors that drove him off 3b 4 years ago. The numbers we have suggest he hasn't been a disaster in the less obvious way, though we can't be as certain.
   24. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4275524)
“MVP conversations are for people who don’t understand the game,” Jackson said


I mentioned this to Ms. McGunnigle. She put forth her favorite player, Dewayne Wise, as the obvious MVP choice.
   25. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4275531)
Reggie has parlayed one game in 1977 (in which two of his three home runs really didn't matter) into a lifelong legacy as Mr. Clutch. Despite his robust .227 average in the ALCS as Howie alludes to
   26. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4275540)
Jackson, now an executive with the Yankees


Ego Management Executive is the official title.

I actually don't see Reggie as any more HOF deserving than Jim Rice. Meaning, not at all.
   27. asinwreck Posted: October 18, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4275659)
To be fair to Reggie, WAR factors in defense. Considering defense to be part of a player's value would force him to realize how terrible a defender he was after he left Oakland.

Reggie is about as good at analyzing baseball as he was at selling cars.
   28. dlf Posted: October 18, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4275687)
I actually don't see Reggie as any more HOF deserving than Jim Rice. Meaning, not at all.


While never a fan of the larger than life personality or the attempts to be the center of the narrative in Oakland, Baltimore, New York, and Anaheim, I strongly disagree. Reggie was a dominant offensive force for better than a decade and a quality contributor for years afterwards despite playing his best years in a horrible offensive stadium. Since he was picking on WAR in the article linked, we can look at that. He was, at the time he retired the 39th in career WAR for position players (and is now 55th compared to Rice's 204th). Just as offensive players (and Rice doesn't add anything defensively or on the basepaths over Reggie), Rice led the AL in OPS+ once compared to four times for Reggie. Ignoring his central role in the very beginnings of free agency and his larger than life personality and focusing only on his on-field performance, to not think that he doesn't belong in the Hall suggests either a misunderstanding of his performance or a Hall that only has Ruth, Cobb, Wagner and Johnson.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: October 18, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4275746)
Reggie has parlayed one game in 1977 (in which two of his three home runs really didn't matter) into a lifelong legacy as Mr. Clutch. Despite his robust .227 average in the ALCS as Howie alludes to

Yes, a lifetime 227 BA in the ALCS.

Oh, wait, there's another round of the playoffs after that? I never knew. In the exhibition games ridiculously known as the World Series (where's the Netherlands?), Mr. Jackson hit:

357/457/755 with 10 HR in 116 PA

I'm only just learning about this baseball stuff but it's my understanding those would be considered good numbers.

Jackson's teams played in 5 WS and won 4 of them. Even in the one they lost he hit 333/429/667.
   30. Monty Posted: October 18, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4275758)
Then he had an MVP conversation.


"Conversation" implies that he let the other guy get a word in occasionally.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: October 18, 2012 at 09:08 PM (#4276116)
Since he was picking on WAR in the article linked, we can look at that. He was, at the time he retired the 39th in career WAR for position players (and is now 55th compared to Rice's 204th). Just as offensive players (and Rice doesn't add anything defensively or on the basepaths over Reggie),


Except for adding more value than him at both of them (at least according to that WAR thing you were mentioning).

Rice is not a deserving Hall of Famer (and Reggie clearly is). But Jim Ed was a much better all-around player than he gets credit for around here.

   32. Howie Menckel Posted: October 18, 2012 at 09:32 PM (#4276140)
I believe it was 35 years ago today that Reggie hit more HR on 3 pitches than the Yankees had hits in the entire game today.

And that 3-HR barrage off 3 different pitchers was epic.

per No. 29: I salute your interest in presenting the whole picture of Reggie's postseason career. I imagine you harrumphing anytime you hear "Mr. October" or hear talk about how clutch Reggie was in the postseason.

I love Reggie's WS drama, but the fact is that if his teammates didn't bail him out in the ALCS so often, people would have seen him as a guy who couldn't handle "the big stage."

Agreed?


   33. Walt Davis Posted: October 18, 2012 at 11:36 PM (#4276315)
Agreed?

Who knows? Maybe folks would have been throwing around that label about him. But then, who cares?

If your point is that the labelling of who can/can't handle the pressure is bollocks based on small sample sizes, I'll agree with that. But that wasn't the point I was responding to. I was responding to this nonsense (which I quoted for crying out loud):

Reggie has parlayed one game in 1977 (in which two of his three home runs really didn't matter) into a lifelong legacy as Mr. Clutch. Despite his robust .227 average in the ALCS as Howie alludes to

I think we can agree that another 7 HR in his other 113 WS PA had something to do with it too right? That a 755 SLG in the WS is kinda impressive right?

His WS SLG is 6th all-time and he has more than twice as many PA as anybody ahead of him. His OPS is also 6th and the same thing about PAs (Ruth and Gehrig are just behind him in both with more PAs). He's in the top 10 in TB, HR, RBI despite having fewer (often many fewer) PA than everybody ahead of him.

Adjust for PA and he was probably the 3rd best WS hitter of all-time and almost certainly no worse than 5th.

And some Reggie ALCS performances (delightfully cherry-picked)

71: 333/333/917 -- A's lost
74: 167/412/250 -- A's won ... 5 BB in 4 games from Baltimore? Methinks he was being pitched around
75: 417/417/667 -- A's lost
78: 462/529/1000 -- Yanks won
81 ALDS: 333/429/667 -- Yanks won

He had a lot of huge stinkers but he didn't always disappear in the ALCS. 74 was kinda amazing all around as he added another 5 BB in 5 games in the WS for a total of 10 BB in 36 PA. TEH FEAR!!
   34. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: October 18, 2012 at 11:42 PM (#4276321)
In the exhibition games ridiculously known as the World Series (where's the Netherlands?), Mr. Jackson hit:

357/457/755 with 10 HR in 116 PA



Jackson's teams played in 5 WS and won 4 of them. Even in the one they lost he hit 333/429/667.


Choker.
   35. Howie Menckel Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:23 AM (#4276339)

"If your point is that the labeling of who can/can't handle the pressure is bollocks based on small sample sizes, I'll agree with that."

ok
the rest of your comment was to a different poster, so peace in our time.

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