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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tigers’ Justin Verlander blasts MVP voters who aren’t ready to vote for Miguel Cabrera

I don’t believe in below
I don’t believe in Coke
I don’t believe in I-nge
I don’t believe in Sabermetrics

Tigers manager Jim Leyland, 67, was asked about Sabermetrics following Wednesday’s 6-2 win, in which Verlander had to labor through six shutout innings because of all the Athletics foul balls. And Leyland, of course, was diplomatic in his response. He paused for more than 10 seconds after the question was asked, showed just a hint of a smile, and then began talking.

“Well, I’m gonna answer that this way,” Leyland said. “I will not use a player’s name, but according to the Sabermetrics, there’s a player that is better than Miguel Cabrera. When the guy that gave me the Sabermetrics told me that, I said, ‘Well then should we trade Miguel Cabrera for the player you’re talking about,’ and he said, ‘Oh no, you can’t do that.’

“And I said, ‘Well then you don’t believe in Sabermetrics, and neither do I.’”

That player Leyland wouldn’t name, we will: Mike Trout.

Verlander, who knows his baseball history, cited Joe DiMaggio’s MVP win in 1947 over a Triple Crown-winning Ted Williams as “one of the worst MVP votings of all time.”

And he now has made clear he’d add a Trout victory over Cabrera to the top of that list.

Repoz Posted: September 20, 2012 at 05:39 AM | 253 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, tigers

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   101. Loren F. Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4241264)
Trout is having an amazing season and is easily the best player in MLB. Cabrera is having a terrific, although less amazing, season, and there's no need to slight him. I think the Triple Crown is cool, but we have to admit that this would be a rather weak Triple Crown that doesn't demonstrate true dominance. This ain't 1966 Yaz or 1956 Mantle. Miggy is on pace to put up around 6.6 - 6.9 WAR -- I don't think WAR is accurate down to the decimal, so let's say around 7 WAR. That would not have led either league in WAR since the 1980s. Yadier Molina will top that. Miggy is a great hitter on pace for Cooperstown, but he is not dominating in a Pujols-like way. Given that, I think Trout is clearly the MVP, and I would be much happier (within this context; I don't have a lot of my happiness riding on this) to see Trout get the award even if Cabrera achieves the Triple Crown. That said, I believe that if Cabrera gets the Triple Crown the writers will vote him MVP.

EDIT: Just to be clear, I understand that the vast majority of BTFers would vote for Trout, Triple Crown be damned. I think many are saying they wouldn't consider a Triple Crown-winning Cabrera as ridiculous a choice as, say, Bell in 1987, or Eck in 1992. I agree that it wouldn't be wretched but I think it would be a blunder.
   102. JJ1986 Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4241277)
Sean,

I have a question about rRep. It starts out with wins (875, 59%), but then the conversion to runs (20r/650pa) seems to be the same for every year regardless of offensive environment. Why doesn't a fixed number of wins lead to a different number of runs each year?
   103. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4241284)
post 99

i have mlb extra innings. yes.

cabrera isn't a disaster but he's limited. one season's worth of metrics are not worth much but cabrera is not an average third baseman. his gross totals look ok relative to the league because he's in the lineup every day

i don't know too many good baserunners who have not hit a triple in 2 years nor steal any bases nor hit into 50 plus double plays over 2 odd seasons. of course one can always break out the jim rice retorts on how the player hits the ball so hard and there aren't any triples because those triples are really homers. those always make for a fun read.

i have already professed my admiration for the player. he's likely the best hitter of the era.

isn't that acceptable? do we have to pretend he can do other things?





   104. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4241289)

I mean, Barry Bonds' MVP awards in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 were "automatic" selections. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Do you?

I have a slight problem with 2003 being "automatic", as Bonds and Pujols were pretty close statistically, and bWAR says that a 38-year-old Bonds was a better defensive LF than a 23-year-old Pujols. At the very least it merits discussion.
   105. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4241291)
and i am going to stop posting in this thread because i like this player and more and more i have to respond in a manner that insinuates at some level that i am anti-theplayer which is ridiculous.

i also do not have the same affection for the triple crown aspect that others have demonstrated.
   106. Shredder Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4241294)
Have we entered a bizarro universe? Isn't it sabermetrics who loves the slow fat guy who can't play defense and gets on base a lot and the traditionalists who love the fast, scrappy, baserunning, base stealing, defensive stalwart?
Those slow, fat guys who couldn't play defense could also hit the ball a very long way, and knew how to work counts and take walks. Give me a choice between a slow, fat guy who can't play defense, but can hit the ball very hard and take walks, and a smaller, faster guy who is a defensive wiz and steals bases WHO CAN ALSO hit the ball very hard and draw walks, I'm going to take the second guy pretty much every time. Sabermetrics loved Rickey Henderson a lot more than it loved Matt Stairs.
   107. alilisd Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4241304)
In roughly 35 years as a baseball fan I've never seen a serious run at the Triple Crown.


Jim Rice in 1978 leads the league in HR and RBI. On September 3 he had his BA up to .330, just behind Carew. Both faded through the month, but Rice more than Carew. That's a serious run.

Larry Walker in 1997 leads the league in HR. On September 18 he hit his league leading 48th HR (Bagwell finished 2nd with 43 so HR was locked up), was just 4 RBI behind Galaraga, and was ahead of Gwynn in BA .372 to .365. That's a serious run.

Albert Pujols in 2003 battles Helton down to the wire and leads the league in BA. On September 11 he is just 6 RBI behind Preston Wilson he is leading the league in HR, and he is 17 points in front of Helton. That's a serious run.

Maybe there are more but I don't have time to search for them right now.
   108. Booey Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4241306)
For IBB's, we give the player credit for their per-PA performance in the non-IBB PA's. The idea is that players who are better will be walked in more and more important situations, so the value of their IBB rises (see Bonds walked with bases loaded).


I was late to the WAR party and I admit I still don't completely understand how everything is calculated, but does this method give enough credit for IBB's? Bonds had what, like 120 IBB in 2004? Seems that would have more value than just what's described above.
   109. Booey Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4241312)
i also do not have the same affection for the triple crown aspect that others have demonstrated.


Maybe cuz you've seen some before? :-)
   110. Lassus Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4241325)
I think this is a truly awesome debate; I also think this is the exact stereotype imagined by regular sportswriters of all of us, which is kind of entertaining as well.

Also, due to unfortunate positioning, here is Sean re-posted from the flip, if anyone cares:
100. Sean Forman Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4241262)

Regarding some of the WAR questions above.

For IBB's, we give the player credit for their per-PA performance in the non-IBB PA's. The idea is that players who are better will be walked in more and more important situations, so the value of their IBB rises (see Bonds walked with bases loaded).

Regarding replacement level. Rally's research and I agree is that the NL has been significantly worse than the AL over the last many years, so an average player in the AL is farther from replacement than the average NL player, the actual numbers we use are below.

Foghorn may be beyond convincing, but if you want to learn about WAR, I have a 10-page doc that goes into serious detail, shows our coefficients, baselines, etc. I see a lot of misinformation on WAR and it's unfortunate, because all of the information is available.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/war_explained_position.shtml
   111. Booey Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4241330)
Maybe there are more but I don't have time to search for them right now.


See post#98. Sheff in 1992 was a good one. I think I remember he was leading or tied in all 3 categories near the end of August and still really close throughout September. Ending up winning the batting title and finishing 2 behind in HR and 9 behind in RBI.

Just last season Matt Kemp led in HR and RBI and was only something like 3 points behind Reyes and Braun in average with like a week left in the season. Or maybe my memory is bad and it wasn't quite that close.
   112. Ron J2 Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4241331)
Isn't it sabermetrics who loves the slow fat guy who can't play defense and gets on base a lot and the traditionalists who love the fast, scrappy, baserunning, base stealing, defensive stalwart?


Not really. Statheads have always tended to talk about the offensive side more because it's more comfortable ground. We know the standard errors of any given metric. We know what is and what is not captured by any given metric so we can talk about fine tuning the results. We've got a pretty decent first cut understanding of the way park affect the value of a given player (though we're far from understanding how a park affect any given player -- and there's no agreement as to whether this is important when assessing value)

The defensive side is tougher. From what I can tell something very close to 70% of all balls in play carry no signal. They "always" outs (both Greg Luzinski and young Rickey Henderson make the play) or "never" outs. It's hard to separate the discretionary plays (which include shifted fielder making a play that a different fielder playing normally would have make) and park effects have to be done at a position level -- leaving you with an uncomfortably small sample size (particularly if something about the park has changed. It makes no sense to use 3 year data if there's been a major change in a park).

And this comes from somebody who thinks defensive numbers are generally meaningful. While I'm aware of potential problems with any given metric I think it's incumbent on anybody raising an issue with (say) WAR to bring up the specific problem that applies to the player in question.

   113. alilisd Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4241336)
Sheffield in 1992 was probably the closest that I can remember. Belle might have won in 1994 if the season had continued (Thomas had the same numbers, but Belle ended the season on more of a hot streak).


Missed Sheffield's 1992. On September 23 he hit his 33rd and final HR to pull within one of McGriff, who only hit one more the rest of the way. The next day he had 3 RBI to get to 99 when Daulton had 105, striking distance. And by that time Van Slyke had faded to .324. That's a serious run.

Belle was certainly in the running in 1994.
   114. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4241341)
Maybe there are more but I don't have time to search for them right now.


Matt Kemp was fairly close last year (#1 in HR/RBI, #3 in BA, but 13 points back).
   115. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4241346)
Harvey, you've always been one of my favorite posters and one of the guys I most admire on this site and I hate to be on the other side of any issue. But I will say that in this thread you do come off as oddly anti-Cabrera and I'm glad that's not the case.

I don't think anyone is pretending that Cabrera can do things that he can't, but:

1. By eyes and by stats he certainly has not been a HORRIBLE third baseman this year. WAR says he's a tick below average and in my untrained opinion, based on observation, that's about right. Yet many people are still talking about him like he's a disaster. That seems unfair to me. You admitted that he is not, thanks.

2. By "pretty good base-runner" I mean, considering his speed (he's admittedly not fast), he runs the bases fairly intelligently and takes advantage when he can. Baseball-Reference has him at "0" for runs from base-running for the past two years. That means perfectly average, which IMHO is pretty good for a guy with his speed. I intended "pretty good" as a very mild adjective, not a strong one. Sorry for any confusion. But he is 80% (4 for 5) in stolen bases this year! ;-)

3. The GIDPs are pretty bad, I have no excuse for those. I just noticed this week that he is leading the league. Ouch.
   116. alilisd Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4241349)
See post#98. Sheff in 1992 was a good one.


Thanks Booey, Sheff was a good one! Jeez, how did I miss Kemp? He was right there and it was only last season! September 23rd he's hitting .326 and Reyes and Braun are at .329. That was a serious run, too!
   117. alilisd Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4241352)
Matt Kemp was fairly close last year (#1 in HR/RBI, #3 in BA, but 13 points back).


But with 5 games to play he was only 3 points back. He faded a bit while Reyes was red hot and Braun hit well. Very close!
   118. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4241369)
I think Kemp must have had a hot September run; everyone looked up with a week to go and said, "Hey, this Kemp guy might win the Triple Crown!"
   119. SoSH U at work Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4241393)
I think Kemp must have had a hot September run; everyone looked up with a week to go and said, "Hey, this Kemp guy might win the Triple Crown!"


It was very much a stealth run. Similar to Cabrera, it wasn't an obvious season-long thing, but a case where he suddenly emerged in the running for all three categories. But instead of closing that very small gap in teh last week, it widened considerably.
   120. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4241403)
For IBB's, we give the player credit for their per-PA performance in the non-IBB PA's. The idea is that players who are better will be walked in more and more important situations, so the value of their IBB rises (see Bonds walked with bases loaded).


Can Sean or someone else elaborate on this? WAR doesn't treat an IBB the same as a BB?
   121. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4241405)
And this comes from somebody who thinks defensive numbers are generally meaningful. While I'm aware of potential problems with any given metric I think it's incumbent on anybody raising an issue with (say) WAR to bring up the specific problem that applies to the player in question.


But it's hard to do this if you don't watch the player. dWAR sees Cabrera as slightly below average as a fielder at 3B, but I've never seen a ball hit to Cabrera this year so I couldn't begin to identify a specific problem that applies to him.
   122. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4241408)

Can Sean or someone else elaborate on this? WAR doesn't treat an IBB the same as a BB?


Why would they? It would seriously overstate the value of #8 hitters in the NL.
   123. Booey Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4241414)
Can Sean or someone else elaborate on this? WAR doesn't treat an IBB the same as a BB?

Why would they? It would seriously overstate the value of #8 hitters in the NL.


And wouldn't ignoring it seriously understate the value of great hitters being intentionally walked in the middle of the lineup? Didn't Bonds 120 IBB in 2004 generate a ton of value? They were a big part of that .600+ OBP.
   124. JJ1986 Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4241417)
IBBs are (usually) much more likely to occur in situations where their value is significantly less than the typical value of a walk. I'm not sure that's true for Bonds, who was IBB'd almost indiscriminately, but it's mostly the case.
   125. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4241422)
And wouldn't ignoring it seriously understate the value of great hitters being intentionally walked in the middle of the lineup? Didn't Bonds 120 IBB in 2004 generate a ton of value? They were a big part of that .600+ OBP.

But, the fact that managers stupidly walked Bonds didn't make him any better. He's getting full credit for his average line, as if he'd been allowed to hit.

IBBs are (usually) much more likely to occur in situations where their value is significantly less than the typical value of a walk. I'm not sure that's true for Bonds, who was IBB'd almost indiscriminately, but it's mostly the case.

This too.
   126. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4241427)
But of course an IBB typically occurs with men on base, and I believe it's true that the league hits better with men on base (easily checkable but I'm too lazy).
   127. Sean Forman Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4241433)

I have a question about rRep. It starts out with wins (875, 59%), but then the conversion to runs (20r/650pa) seems to be the same for every year regardless of offensive environment. Why doesn't a fixed number of wins lead to a different number of runs each year?


That's an interesting question. I'll have to think about that this offseason. The effect would probably be small, but perhaps it should be in there. That's just off the top of my head.


And wouldn't ignoring it seriously understate the value of great hitters being intentionally walked in the middle of the lineup? Didn't Bonds 120 IBB in 2004 generate a ton of value? They were a big part of that .600+ OBP.


We don't ignore it. We give it the same value as the player's non-IBB PA's. So if Bonds was worth .17 wRAA/PA and had 120 IBB+SH we add 20.4 to his wRAA for the IBB's. For the #8 hitter than number would be lower.

Here is our full calculation for wRAA.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/war_explained_wraa.shtml

3. The GIDPs are pretty bad, I have no excuse for those. I just noticed this week that he is leading the league. Ouch.


Hmm, would there be any relationship between this an his leading the league in RBI? Couldn't be any reason for both of those could there?
   128. SandyRiver Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4241447)
Cabrera this year is making easily the best run at the triple crown since Yaz. It's Sept 20 and he's:
+.006 on BA - Thin, but he and Trout have been moving in opposite directions recently.
-1 on HR - This is the key. If he catches Hamilton (without being passed by Encarnation), he'll win the TC.
+7 on RBI - Solid, though not secure. Hamilton could easily have his own 6-er game.

On "dominant" TC winners - Yaz and Mick had very solid leads (4.5+) in WAR, but not in the actual TC stats.
Mantle: BA, .008 over Williams; HR by 20*; RBI, 2 more than Kaline. One very thin, one fairly close, one enormous.
Yaz: BA, .015 over Robby; HR, tied with Killebrew; RBI, led by 8. One pretty solid (BA), one moderately close, plus the tie.

*That's an incredible margin, topped only by Ruth (4 times) AFAIK. Next highest I saw was Kiner by 18 over Musial in 1949. (Edit: Plus Ruth by 19 in 1924)
   129. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4241449)
Hmm, would there be any relationship between this an his leading the league in RBI? Couldn't be any reason for both of those could there?

Not sure what the point of this is. Everyone on this board gets the RBI thing. No one has made the argument that Cabrera is better/more valuable because of RBI or for any reason whatsoever.
   130. Sean Forman Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4241451)
Players top 5 in each triple crown stat

player_ID year_ID lg_ID cats ranks                    |
+-----------+---------+-------+------+--------------------------+
cabremi01 |    2012 AL    |    batting_avg-1,HR-2,RBI-
braunry02 |    2012 NL    |    batting_avg-5,HR-1,RBI-
kempma01  |    2011 NL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-1,RBI-
cabremi01 |    2010 AL    |    batting_avg-2,HR-3,RBI-
gonzaca01 |    2010 NL    |    batting_avg-1,HR-4,RBI-
vottojo01 |    2010 NL    |    batting_avg-2,HR-3,RBI-
pujolal01 |    2009 NL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-1,RBI-
pujolal01 |    2008 NL    |    batting_avg-2,HR-4,RBI-
hollima01 |    2007 NL    |    batting_avg-1,HR-4,RBI-
pujolal01 |    2006 NL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-2,RBI-
rodrial01 |    2005 AL    |    batting_avg-2,HR-1,RBI-
pujolal01 |    2005 NL    |    batting_avg-2,HR-3,RBI-
guerrvl01 |    2004 AL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-4,RBI-
beltrad01 |    2004 NL    |    batting_avg-4,HR-1,RBI-
pujolal01 |    2004 NL    |    batting_avg-5,HR-2,RBI-
pujolal01 |    2003 NL    |    batting_avg-1,HR-4,RBI-
guerrvl01 |    2002 NL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-5,RBI-
heltoto01 |    2001 NL    |    batting_avg-2,HR-4,RBI-
delgaca01 |    2000 AL    |    batting_avg-4,HR-4,RBI-
guerrvl01 |    2000 NL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-4,RBI-
ramirma02 |    1999 AL    |    batting_avg-5,HR-3,RBI-
belleal01 |    1998 AL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-2,RBI-
piazzmi01 |    1997 NL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-4,RBI-
walkela01 |    1997 NL    |    batting_avg-2,HR-1,RBI-
burksel01 |    1996 NL    |    batting_avg-2,HR-5,RBI-
bicheda01 |    1995 NL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-1,RBI-
belleal01 |    1994 AL    |    batting_avg-2,HR-3,RBI-
thomafr04 |    1994 AL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-2,RBI-
bagweje01 |    1994 NL    |    batting_avg-2,HR-2,RBI-
bondsba01 |    1993 NL    |    batting_avg-4,HR-1,RBI-
sheffga01 |    1992 NL    |    batting_avg-1,HR-3,RBI-
mattido01 |    1985 AL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-4,RBI-
parkeda01 |    1985 NL    |    batting_avg-5,HR-2,RBI-
coopece01 |    1982 AL    |    batting_avg-5,HR-5,RBI-
schmimi01 |    1981 NL    |    batting_avg-4,HR-1,RBI-
lynnfr01  |    1979 AL    |    batting_avg-1,HR-2,RBI-
riceji01  |    1979 AL    |    batting_avg-4,HR-2,RBI-
riceji01  |    1978 AL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-1,RBI-
parkeda01 |    1978 NL    |    batting_avg-1,HR-3,RBI-
fostege01 |    1977 NL    |    batting_avg-4,HR-1,RBI-
morgajo02 |    1976 NL    |    batting_avg-5,HR-5,RBI-
allendi01 |    1972 AL    |    batting_avg-3,HR-1,RBI-
willibi01 |    1972 NL    |    batting_avg-1,HR-3,RBI-
aaronha01 |    1971 NL    |    batting_avg-5,HR-2,RBI-
willibi01 |    1970 NL    |    batting_avg-4,HR-2,RBI-
mccovwi01 |    1969 NL    |    batting_avg-5,HR-1,RBI-
hortowi01 |    1968 AL    |    batting_avg-4,HR-2,RBI-
robinfr02 |    1967 AL    |    batting_avg-2,HR-4,RBI-


Players top 5 in R, SB, BA

player_ID year_ID lg_ID cats ranks                  |
+-----------+---------+-------+------+------------------------+
troutmi01 |    2012 AL    |    batting_avg-2,R-1,SB-
ellsbja01 |    2011 AL    |    batting_avg-5,R-3,SB-
kempma01  |    2011 NL    |    batting_avg-3,R-1,SB-
ramirha01 |    2007 NL    |    batting_avg-5,R-2,SB-
suzukic01 |    2001 AL    |    batting_avg-1,R-2,SB-
knoblch01 |    1996 AL    |    batting_avg-4,R-2,SB-
loftoke01 |    1994 AL    |    batting_avg-4,R-2,SB-
loftoke01 |    1993 AL    |    batting_avg-4,R-3,SB-
henderi01 |    1990 AL    |    batting_avg-2,R-1,SB-
molitpa01 |    1988 AL    |    batting_avg-5,R-4,SB-
molitpa01 |    1987 AL    |    batting_avg-2,R-1,SB-
gwynnto01 |    1987 NL    |    batting_avg-1,R-4,SB-
raineti01 |    1987 NL    |    batting_avg-3,R-1,SB-
henderi01 |    1985 AL    |    batting_avg-4,R-1,SB-
mcgeewi01 |    1985 NL    |    batting_avg-1,R-3,SB-
raineti01 |    1985 NL    |    batting_avg-3,R-2,SB-
smithlo01 |    1982 NL    |    batting_avg-4,R-1,SB-
henderi01 |    1981 AL    |    batting_avg-5,R-1,SB-
lefloro01 |    1976 AL    |    batting_avg-5,R-5,SB-
morgajo02 |    1976 NL    |    batting_avg-5,R-2,SB-
morgajo02 |    1975 NL    |    batting_avg-4,R-4,SB-
carewro01 |    1974 AL    |    batting_avg-1,R-5,SB-
carewro01 |    1973 AL    |    batting_avg-1,R-2,SB-
cedence01 |    1972 NL    |    batting_avg-4,R-5,SB-
garrra01  |    1971 NL    |    batting_avg-2,R-4,SB-


Players top 2 or better in SB, R, BA, Trout would be the first to lead in all 3 since Stirnweiss in 1945.

player_ID year_ID lg_ID cats ranks                  |
+-----------+---------+-------+------+------------------------+
troutmi01 |    2012 AL    |    batting_avg-2,R-1,SB-
suzukic01 |    2001 AL    |    batting_avg-1,R-2,SB-
henderi01 |    1990 AL    |    batting_avg-2,R-1,SB-
mayswi01  |    1958 NL    |    batting_avg-2,R-1,SB-
mayswi01  |    1955 NL    |    batting_avg-2,R-2,SB-
minosmi01 |    1951 AL    |    batting_avg-2,R-2,SB-
stirnsn01 |    1945 AL    |    batting_avg-1,R-1,SB-
sislege01 |    1922 AL    |    batting_avg-1,R-1,SB-
sislege01 |    1920 AL    |    batting_avg-1,R-2,SB-
cobbty01  |    1917 AL    |    batting_avg-1,R-2,SB-
cobbty01  |    1916 AL    |    batting_avg-2,R-1,SB-
cobbty01  |    1915 AL    |    batting_avg-1,R-1,SB-
collied01 |    1914 AL    |    batting_avg-2,R-1,SB-
kauffbe01 |    1914 FL    |    batting_avg-1,R-1,SB-
cobbty01  |    1911 AL    |    batting_avg-1,R-1,SB-
cobbty01  |    1910 AL    |    batting_avg-2,R-1,SB-
cobbty01  |    1909 AL    |    batting_avg-1,R-1,SB-
wagneho01 |    1908 NL    |    batting_avg-1,R-2,SB-
wagneho01 |    1904 NL    |    batting_avg-1,R-2,SB-
hamilbi01 |    1891 NL    |    batting_avg-1,R-1,SB-
kellyki01 |    1886 NL    |    batting_avg-1,R-1,SB-
barnero01 |    1875 NA    |    batting_avg-2,R-1,SB-
barnero01 |    1873 NA    |    batting_avg-1,R-1,SB-


There have been 13 triple crowns since 1901, there have been six joint R,SB, BA leaders since 1901, Cobb 3x, Stirnweiss, Kauff and Sisler.
   131. Ron J2 Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4241456)
WAR doesn't treat an IBB the same as a BB?


Well no. IBBs have a provably different value from BBs. Whether you use a RE24 based approach or regressions they have a generally lower value.

That said, the way Sean has opted to treat them (as opposed to something like XR -- which treats all IBBs as having equal value. XR is purely based on regressions) makes a world of sense. And probably doesn't matter at all unless you're talking about those few guys who pile up a ton of IBBs. I think Sean's batting runs will like (say) McCovey's 1969 a fair amount more that XR will.
   132. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4241461)
Hmm, would there be any relationship between this an his leading the league in RBI? Couldn't be any reason for both of those could there?

Not sure what the point of this is. Everyone on this board gets the RBI thing. No one has made the argument that Cabrera is better/more valuable because of RBI or for any reason whatsoever.


I think Sean's point was that having a lot of guys on base in front of you would lead to both RBIs and GIDPs.
   133. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4241465)

Not sure what the point of this is. Everyone on this board gets the RBI thing. No one has made the argument that Cabrera is better/more valuable because of RBI or for any reason whatsoever.


They have, implicitly, because they're "fine" with him getting the MValuableP.

Why not give the MVP to the player who hits for the most cycles, as long as we're using the MVP to recognize unique achievements?

Or to Scott Podsednik, for managing to hit .300 without either a .350 OBP or a .350 SLG?

Or to Aaron Cook for - against all odds - striking out just 2 batters per 9?
   134. bunyon Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4241469)
as long as we're using the MVP to recognize unique achievements?

I haven't seen if you've addressed this, but do you think the MVP means anything? It's a vote by a bunch of guys who use all sorts of methods to rank players - some very good, some laughable. Why do we care who wins the MVP?

If you make me decide who is most valuable, I use all the metrics you value and come up with Trout (or, as I said, I sort of eyeball it and come up with Trout - not that hard this year). If you ask me my opinion of who wins a popularity contest, I'm cool with it being the Triple Crown winner.
   135. Mark Armour Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:44 PM (#4241470)
One thing WAR definitely does not (and can not) capture is the value Cabrera afforded the team by being able to move to third base and getting Fielder onto the team. That versatility is, in and of itself, of actual value, and I would give him a huge bonus for it.
   136. Srul Itza Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4241471)
Does the MVP really matter? Does winning it add to or subtract in any way from an objective examination of the player? Does it add to a teams wins or losses?

The one area where it can possibly make a difference is in Hall of Fame voting. I think some of the people who are okay with Cabrera winning it, feel that way because they believe he is (or is compiling) a worthy Hall of Fame case, and winning the MVP will help the voters see that. Of course, winning the Triple Crown would probably do the same thing, if not more so.

But given the huge number of MVP "mistakes" over the years, I try not to get too caught up in who wins and whether it was the "right" decision. I just write it off as another BBWAA self-promotion vehicle. If it happens to go to a player who I root for, huzzah, but other than that, it is hard to get too worked up about whether some guy gets to join the pantheon of Dick Groat, Zoilo Versalles and Maury Wills.
   137. jmurph Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4241472)
They were a big part of that .600+ OBP.


This thread is an excellent reminder that Barry Bonds was just stupid good during that stretch. .609 OBP! That's not a thing that people do.
   138. Sean Forman Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4241475)
One thing WAR definitely does not (and can not) capture is the value Cabrera afforded the team by being able to move to third base and getting Fielder onto the team. That versatility is, in and of itself, of actual value, and I would give him a huge bonus for it.


Adding Fielder and Cabrera's WAR together gets you close to Trout, but not quite there.
   139. bunyon Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4241480)
Adding Fielder and Cabrera's WAR together gets you close to Trout, but not quite there.

Are you kidding? Adding Fielder and Cabrera together gets you like 5 Trouts.


Oh, you said WAR, not weight. My bad.
   140. Moeball Posted: September 20, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4241481)
Edit: Also, '41 wasn't a bad call, '47 was. You have to remember, there's very good reason to think park effect massively favor Williams over DiMaggio (LHB in Fenway vs. RHB in YS1, with massive CF and LCF), and by scouting and reputation, DiMaggio had a much bigger defensive edge than WAR shows.


In truth, the '41 season was very much about narrative - on May 14, the day before "The Streak" started, the Yankees were 14-14 and 5.5 games back in the standings (actually, given that they had scored 155 runs and allowed only 137 at that point, they were about 2 wins below where they should have been per their Pythagoran numbers). Over the next 56 games (through July 16) DiMaggio got sizzling hot and so did the Yankees - they went 41-13 (with 2 ties), which catapulted them from 4th place to first with a comfortable lead and they were never really challenged after that.

At the time there was not only a lot of fascination with DiMaggio's streak itself, but the streak was viewed as the catalyst for the Yanks running away with the pennant. This had a huge impact on the MVP voting as far as the writers were concerned. Part of that viewpoint could be seen in the switch of the Yanks' Pythagoran projection - during The Streak, NY scored 324 runs while allowing 241 - I think that projects to about a 0.644 winning % - in reality their winning % during The Streak was 0.759 - well over 100 points higher. The belief at the time really was that DiMaggio was "inspiring" the team to play at a near-perfect level, particularly in the ability to pull out the "close" games (which is what usually results in outplaying your Pythagoran projection).

That being said - if you look at how Joltin' Joe actually hit during the streak - he batted over .400 with an OBP of almost .500 and a SLG of close to 0.700 - yes, these #s are impressive, particularly when you consider how much he was hurt by being a righty in Yankee Stadium. But these are the best 2 months of DiMaggio's season and these numbers still pale compared to what Ted Williams did over the course of the entire season. Yes, Williams had the advantage in home park, but even when you look at their road #s where the home parks aren't a factor, Joe's numbers fall well short of Ted's. Williams clearly had a MUCH better offensive season even with park adjustments - Ted's OPS+ was 234 while Joe was a distant second at 184 - and DiMaggio's advantage on defense couldn't come close to overtaking that gap offensively.

In looking back, picking DiMaggio over Williams for the MVP in '41 was almost as horrible a pick as the '47 decision. Ted not only deserved to win in '41, but it really should have been Williams in a landslide. He really was that much better than Joe.

BTW: I have read stories here and there about how much "luck" played in DiMaggio breaking the hitting streak record. Supposedly when The Streak had gone beyond 30 games there was a game where Joe had "oh-ferred" up until his last plate appearance in the 8th inning. He then hit a dribbler to 3rd that the 3rd baseman threw away allowing DiMaggio to be safe at first. The official scorer supposedly called the play an infield hit and The Streak was still alive. Much later (months?/years?) the official scorer supposedly admitted he had always called that play a clear error on the third baseman but in that specific instance he called it an infield hit for the sole purpose of keeping DiMaggio's streak alive, a definite no-no in terms of scoring integrity. Unfortunately, we don't have play-by-play data for the '41 season, so it is hard to determine if such a situation could have occurred. It may just be Urban Legend. The best I can determine - I have read articles indicating that DiMaggio's first hit in Game 43 matches that criteria - dribbler to third that official scorer Dan Daniel called a hit but some thought was questionable - but DiMaggio hit a rocket later in the game for his second hit so the first cheezy call may not have really mattered that much.

BTW #2 - DiMaggio also had a 61-game hitting streak for San Francisco in the PCL back in 1933 which is generally regarded as the minor league record as well.
   141. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4241505)
Joe's numbers fall well short of Ted's. Williams clearly had a MUCH better offensive season even with park adjustments - Ted's OPS+ was 234 while Joe was a distant second at 184 - and DiMaggio's advantage on defense couldn't come close to overtaking that gap offensively.

It could make it close.

Per BRef, Dimaggio had 66 batting runs to Williams 101, so 35 run gap. A very good CF, vs. a poor LF (going by contemporary opinion) could easily make up 25 of that.

If you had true park adjustments for the two, it could very well be true that DiMaggio was better than Williams in '41.

BRef only has the WAR gap as 10.1 vs. 8.6. That's certainly withing the margin of error for WAR.
   142. JJ1986 Posted: September 20, 2012 at 05:48 PM (#4241536)
That's an interesting question. I'll have to think about that this offseason. The effect would probably be small, but perhaps it should be in there. That's just off the top of my head.


My data has pitcher hitting in it, but during the 162-game-schedule era, I get a pretty sizeable difference from as high as 18.5 runs/650 PA in 1999 down to 13.1 runs/650 PA in 1968
   143. Walt Davis Posted: September 20, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4241576)
One thing WAR definitely does not (and can not) capture is the value Cabrera afforded the team by being able to move to third base and getting Fielder onto the team.

Cabrera's move to 3B didn't help them add Fielder to the team. Cabrera (or Fielder) could have been the DH.

Cabrere's move to 3B allowed the Tigers to get more Delmon Young, Brennan Boesch, Andy Dirks, Quintin Berry and even Gerald Laird into the lineup. Not through any fault of Cabrera's but Cabrera's move to 3B actually hurt the Tigers. The 2012 Tigers almost certainly would have been better off with a good-fielding 3B and Cabrera/Fielder at DH:

Tigers RF: 225/277/344
Tigers DH: 259/294/401
Josh Donaldson: 236/288/398, +3 Rfield
Luis Valbuena: 219/316/352, +4 Rfield
Brandon Inge: 218/275/383, +3 Rfield
Jack Hannahan: 232/301/332, +3 Rfield

Tigers LF didn't cover themselves in glory either but at least they outhit Josh Donaldson.
   144. Walt Davis Posted: September 20, 2012 at 06:58 PM (#4241582)
One of my all-time favorite splits:

Bonds, career, men on 2nd and 3rd only:

271 PA, 104 PA, 153 BB, 139 IBB, 288/675/567

IBB'd more than half the time. Also 342 IBB and 170 UIBB in 1200 PA with a man on 2nd only.
   145. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4241597)
My vote for 2012 AL MVP based on the "Wee! Nothing matters!" guidelines is:

Adam Jones. I understand he is the first player in MLB history to have at least four homers in the 11th inning or later in one season.
   146. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 20, 2012 at 07:23 PM (#4241599)
For this, WAR measures him against average 3B offense instead of average 1B offense (OK, that helps a little), and he loses some defensive points for being a mediocre 3B, even though "mediocre" is much better than anyone expected.

The first part helps a lot, not a little - Cabrera's position score is 11 runs higher this year than last. And Cabrera's mediocre defense at third isn't really appreciably worse than his defense at first over the last few years, at least according to B-R. So the move actually helps Cabrera's WAR on balance.
   147. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 20, 2012 at 07:26 PM (#4241603)
My vote for 2012 AL MVP based on the "Wee! Nothing matters!" guidelines is:

Adam Jones. I understand he is the first player in MLB history to have at least four homers in the 11th inning or later in one season.


You joke, but 19 of Jones's 30 homers have either tied the game or given the Orioles the lead, most of anyone in the majors. It wouldn't shock me to see him get some third-place-and-lower votes based on that.

And if he does, the sun will still rise the next day, which is what people mean when they say they'd be fine with Cabrera winning. Yes, the MVP might go to the wrong person. Get your 120-point headline typeface ready.
   148. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 07:41 PM (#4241607)
You joke, but 19 of Jones's 30 homers have either tied the game or given the Orioles the lead, most of anyone in the majors. It wouldn't shock me to see him get some third-place-and-lower votes based on that.


I'm actually not joking. If I apply the same criteria as the people obsessed with the triple crown in this thread, Adam Jones would fit just fine as the MVP.
   149. Sweatpants Posted: September 20, 2012 at 07:47 PM (#4241612)
Cabrera's move to 3B didn't help them add Fielder to the team. Cabrera (or Fielder) could have been the DH.
This year. Victor Martinez is signed with the team through 2014. I don't think they'd have signed Fielder to that contract if it meant relegating Martinez to the bench in 2013 and 2014 (or forcing them to trade him).
   150. Lassus Posted: September 20, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4241617)
I am now ready to cast my MVP vote for whomever annoys Ray the most.
   151. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 08:01 PM (#4241621)
I am now ready to cast my MVP vote for whomever annoys Ray the most.


I don't get "annoyed" at players. This is entertainment, not life. And so the Red Sox fans who were spewing profanities at players last September because they were losing baseball games really need to get a grip, no matter how many pieces of fried chicken were eaten in the clubhouse.
   152. Lassus Posted: September 20, 2012 at 08:04 PM (#4241626)
I don't get "annoyed" at players.

I wrote it poorly, English Major Fail.

Based on whatever vote would annoy you the most.
   153. Every Inge Counts Posted: September 20, 2012 at 08:10 PM (#4241630)
Hopefully Miguel Cabrera can win the Mike Trout Award one day.
   154. bunyon Posted: September 20, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4241635)
I am now ready to cast my MVP vote for whomever annoys Ray the most.

One first place vote for Ichiro, noted.
   155. Jim Furtado Posted: September 20, 2012 at 08:22 PM (#4241639)
Ray, you haven't seen Cabrera play. You didn't even know he was close to having an Triple Crown season. Yet, you act as if your conclusion is the only conclusion that anyone could possibly arrive at. You are just silly.

In my mind, Trout is having the better year. If I had a vote, I'd vote for him. Having said that, Cabrera is having a great year. As much as I respect the work Sean does, the stats get us in the area but they are still a long way from getting us to certain, incontrovertible truth.

So, again, although Trout is having a better year, it wouldn't bother me if Cabrera wins the MVP.
   156. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: September 20, 2012 at 08:24 PM (#4241640)
One first place vote for Ichiro, noted.

As an aside, Ichiro is hitting .321/.341/.461 for the Yankees at the moment.
   157. Booey Posted: September 20, 2012 at 08:50 PM (#4241658)
I'm actually not joking. If I apply the same criteria as the people obsessed with the triple crown in this thread, Adam Jones would fit just fine as the MVP.


Miggy is at or near the top of the league in almost every offensive category. This isn't a good comparison at all. The people above who were complaining that batting average and rbi are overrated and not a good indicator of value are ignoring the fact that he's amongst the league leaders in pretty much all the hitting stats that aren't overrated too.

If the Triple Crown is silly and meaningless, couldn't you say the same thing about the MVP? I really don't understand how someone could care so much about the latter but fail to understand why other fans could also care about the former.
   158. CONservative governMENt! Posted: September 20, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4241661)
Weren't there threads here about how writers like George King should have their voting privileges revoked for excluding Pedro Martinez from their ballot?

This swooning over a potential Triple Crown because you've never seen one before and willingness to give the integrity of the MVP vote a 'meh' seems strange to me.

I agree with Ray. The "I'm ok with an incorrect result because it fulfills a childhood narrative" is a slap in the face to the 'Baseball for the Thinking Fan' motto. I'm surprised the monkey at the top of the page hasn't puked.
   159. Loren F. Posted: September 20, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4241670)
Some posters here are skirting too close to policing the orthodoxy of sabrmetrics for my taste. I think we can disagree with each other without implying that the folks with different opinions are traitors. I mean, it's fun to debate a lot of this stuff but at the end we're just talking about a complicated game of catch.
   160. Booey Posted: September 20, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4241671)
the integrity of the MVP


Dude, please. This hasn't existed for many decades, if ever. All people are saying is that if yet another mistake is made for an award that has probably a 50% mistake ratio, it'll be more understandable and less irritating than some of the past mistakes.
   161. CONservative governMENt! Posted: September 20, 2012 at 10:07 PM (#4241699)
In the past it seemed liked people were upset by (or openly derided) the voters' reliance on dinosaur stats like BA and RBI. This year, because it appeals to their personal Rosebuds, they would be fine with that reliance even though they fully understand it is an incorrect outcome.

All I seek is intellectual consistency.
   162. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 20, 2012 at 10:26 PM (#4241716)
In the past it seemed liked people were upset by (or openly derided) the voters' reliance on dinosaur stats like BA and RBI.

I can't speak for anyone else, but most of my derision has been reserved for people who vote for years like Ryan Howard's '08: 125 OPS+, 1.5 WAR, but finished second in the MVP voting because he led the majors in RBI. That's a mediocre season that was made to appear good by traditional stats. Cabrera is having an excellent season that is made to appear excellent by traditional stats; he's just not having as outstanding a year as Trout. But my expectations of the voters are low enough that if the guy who wins is one of the 3-5 best players in the league, and the actual best player in the league finishes in the top 3-5, I'll shrug and move on.
   163. bunyon Posted: September 20, 2012 at 10:26 PM (#4241718)
All I seek is intellectual consistency.

Says the inquisitor.

If I've ever railed against an MVP decision it has been one where nothing except RBI, or "leadership" or being on a winning team, but not too-winning a team, was the criteria. Even then, I don't really care. The writers get a lot wrong and clearly use wildly random criteria. Cabrera would be far, far from the worst selection ever. I heartily agree that Trout is having the best year and I hope he wins. But I'm not getting too worked up over it if a guy who wins the Triple Crown wins the MVP. Yes, RBI is overrated. It is especially so as a predictive stat. As a measure of what actually happened, it isn't bad. Runs matter (yes, this helps Trout too. Geez that guy scores a lot).
   164. Booey Posted: September 21, 2012 at 12:10 AM (#4241755)
In the past it seemed liked people were upset by (or openly derided) the voters' reliance on dinosaur stats like BA and RBI. This year, because it appeals to their personal Rosebuds, they would be fine with that reliance even though they fully understand it is an incorrect outcome.


See, this is where your argument sounds disingenuous. Those of us somewhat defending the possible selection of Cabrera AREN'T just relying on "dinosaur" stats like BA and RBI. Miggy is leading the league in SLG, 4 spots ahead of Trout. Like OBP better than BA? Fine. Miggy is 3rd in the league in OBP, 1 spot ahead of Trout. Like runs scored more than RBI? Fine. Miggy is 2nd in the league (yes, behind Trout). OPS? 1st by a wide margin, over 60 points ahead of Trout. OPS+? Again, 1st, with Trout a close second. First in total bases by a big margin, 2nd in hits, 5th in doubles. 1st in extra base hits, runs created, adjusted batting wins, and adjusted batting runs (Trout is 2nd in those last 3 categories). Are all of these "dinosaur" stats too?

Basically, even ignoring all the "dinosaur" stats entirely, it's not hard to conclude that Cabrera is the best HITTER in the league. We're not talking about Juan Gonzalez 1996 or Justin Morneau 2006 here.
   165. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 12:39 AM (#4241765)
I can't speak for anyone else, but most of my derision has been reserved for people who vote for years like Ryan Howard's '08: 125 OPS+, 1.5 WAR, but finished second in the MVP voting because he led the majors in RBI. That's a mediocre season that was made to appear good by traditional stats.


But again: at least those people didn't know any better.

What is going on here is much worse.

   166. valuearbitrageur Posted: September 21, 2012 at 12:41 AM (#4241767)
This year. Victor Martinez is signed with the team through 2014. I don't think they'd have signed Fielder to that contract if it meant relegating Martinez to the bench in 2013 and 2014 (or forcing them to trade him).


I don't think they put as much thought into it as you think they did.

Basically, even ignoring all the "dinosaur" stats entirely, it's not hard to conclude that Cabrera is the best HITTER in the league. We're not talking about Juan Gonzalez 1996 or Justin Morneau 2006 here.


No one can really argue that. But baserunning is a part of offense too, and combining hitting with base running makes Trout the best offensive player in the league.

And then you have this little thing called "defense".
   167. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 12:44 AM (#4241769)
See, this is where your argument sounds disingenuous. Those of us somewhat defending the possible selection of Cabrera AREN'T just relying on "dinosaur" stats like BA and RBI. Miggy is leading the league in SLG, 4 spots ahead of Trout. Like OBP better than BA? Fine. Miggy is 3rd in the league in OBP, 1 spot ahead of Trout. Like runs scored more than RBI? Fine. Miggy is 2nd in the league (yes, behind Trout). OPS? 1st by a wide margin, over 60 points ahead of Trout. OPS+? Again, 1st, with Trout a close second. First in total bases by a big margin, 2nd in hits, 5th in doubles. 1st in extra base hits, runs created, adjusted batting wins, and adjusted batting runs (Trout is 2nd in those last 3 categories). Are all of these "dinosaur" stats too?

Basically, even ignoring all the "dinosaur" stats entirely, it's not hard to conclude that Cabrera is the best HITTER in the league. We're not talking about Juan Gonzalez 1996 or Justin Morneau 2006 here.


But you know that positional adjustments and defense make Trout the best player. (Or if you're arguing otherwise, fine, but that's not the argument you're making.)

As to "dinosaur" stats, the problem was that the people using them didn't know any better. You know better. And so you're deliberately supporting someone who you know is not the MVP.
   168. Shredder Posted: September 21, 2012 at 12:52 AM (#4241778)
Trout probably cost himself the MVP in this series. Lot to ask of a 21 year old, but he came up very small in the biggest series of the season.
   169. Don Malcolm Posted: September 21, 2012 at 01:09 AM (#4241784)
Thank God (the celestial being, not the erstwhile deity who posts here) that you guys finally have something to gripe about instead of Jack Morris....
   170. vivaelpujols Posted: September 21, 2012 at 01:42 AM (#4241789)
No one's saying that Cabrera is not the best offensive player in the league (he has a slightly lower wRC+ than Trout, but more PA making him more valuable offensively), but when you include defense and baserunning and defense Trout is way on top.

Everyone knows this already. I'm arguing against the people who are assigning special significant to a player because he leads the league in HR, RBI and BA. Those are three completely arbitrarily selected stats! Why not use runs in the triple crown instead of RBI? People say it's because of history, but history can be retroactive especially with stats. You could change the dentition of the triple crown to include runs instead of rbi and it will still be just as rare. Either I don't see why you'd be ok with a far inferior candidate winning just because he hits one more home run than Juan Encarnacion (coke to whoever said that above).
   171. tshipman Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:02 AM (#4241794)
I think there's something goofy going on with Trout's numbers. Trout is having a very good season. WAR wants me to believe that he's having a historic season.

WAR wants me to believe that he's added more on offense as a 168 OPS+ LF/CF than a 170 OPS+ Catcher in fewer games.

WAR wants me to believe that the difference in position between a guy who plays LF full time (Ryan Braun) and a guy who plays CF part time (Trout) is equal to the difference between a part time CF and a Catcher.

WAR wants me to believe that he's been more valuable per game than Bonds was in 2001 or any year of Babe Ruth's career.

I find all of those things really hard to believe.
   172. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:46 AM (#4241798)

I actually agree with Ray here.

Adding Fielder and Cabrera's WAR together gets you close to Trout, but not quite there.

Wow. If there's a better argument for Trout's candidacy, I don't know what it is.
   173. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 03:07 AM (#4241801)
WAR wants me to believe that he's added more on offense as a 168 OPS+ LF/CF than a 170 OPS+ Catcher in fewer games.

He has more plate appearances despite playing fewer games, but Posey's 10 extra games include 4 PH appearances and Trout gets some additional PA from batting leadoff. Their batting runs are the same, which is what you'd expect of guys with roughly the same OPS+ in roughly the same number of plate appearances. But Trout gets a *huge* boost from his baserunning. He has 45 more stolen bases than Posey and 3 more caught stealings, an incremental 94% success rate, along with 10 fewer GDPs.

WAR wants me to believe that the difference in position between a guy who plays LF full time (Ryan Braun) and a guy who plays CF part time (Trout) is equal to the difference between a part time CF and a Catcher.

Posey has started as many games at 1B/DH this season as Trout has started in LF (although Trout has played more innings there). If Posey had played all of his games at C (like, say, Miguel Montero), he'd have gotten an additional 3 or 4 runs of positional adjustment. And while there is an argument to be made that WAR underrates catchers, that has little bearing on the AL MVP debate unless you're hear to argue for Weiters.

WAR wants me to believe that he's been more valuable per game than Bonds was in 2001 or any year of Babe Ruth's career.

I find all of those things really hard to believe.


You don't need to believe all those things to think that Trout deserves the MVP. I think it's fair to discount Trout's defensive numbers until he has more of an MLB track record. But you can discount his defensive numbers 100% and he's still the most valuable player in the league. He leads the league in oWAR, and other than Cabrera nobody's particularly close.
   174. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 21, 2012 at 03:33 AM (#4241803)
But again: at least those people didn't know any better.

What is going on here is much worse.


The key thing "here" (BBTF), though, is that we're just a bunch of fans writing on a message board. We don't actually vote for these awards. (Well, I suppose a couple of you might.) So what we say here really has no impact on history, on player's salaries, on endorsement potential, or on future Hall of Fame voting. Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera don't care what we say about them.

If the winner of the MVP is actually important on some level, then you can assign blame to the voters for not doing their jobs properly. They should be ashamed for voting for Justin Morneau or whoever. But why should we mom's-basement types be held to the same standard? Can't we be fans with favorite players, who are happy when good things happen to their favorite players?

Even the most pro-Cabrera people here are basically saying: Mike Trout's had a better year, but it wouldn't bother me too much if Cabrera, who I really like as a player, won the MVP. A Triple Crown would be cool, yay.

If the winner of the MVP is not important, then what are we all arguing about?
   175. Walt Davis Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:01 AM (#4241807)
I don't think they'd have signed Fielder to that contract if it meant relegating Martinez to the bench in 2013 and 2014 (or forcing them to trade him).

VMart was already hurt when they signed Fielder. The media buzz was that they swooped in with the big offer only after VMart was hurt. VMart's potential 2014 return might have required a shift of Cabrera to 3B next year.

Look, the Tigers gambled moving to Cabrera to 3B and it worked. They then screwed it all up by playing lousy players at LF/RF/DH. Again, not Cabrera's fault, but his being at 3B not 1B/DH ended up adding nothing to the Tigers this year. So if we're gonna talk silly stuff like the stats don't capture the value he added by being willing to move to third, we have to assess whether that move to third actually had any value not captured by the stats. It didn't.

Yes, it's possible that the move to third will have big value next year. I'm kinda skeptical about how well a 34-year-old former C returning from a serious injury and a whole year off is gonna do. If they can trade VMart for something good, I'd jump at it if I was them.
   176. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 21, 2012 at 05:23 AM (#4241810)
So if we're gonna talk silly stuff like the stats don't capture the value he added by being willing to move to third, we have to assess whether that move to third actually had any value not captured by the stats. It didn't.

Sure, but we assign value to a guy who hits four triples, but gets stranded at third four times in a shutout because the other guys don't do their jobs. Where's the actual value in that? Or if a guy plays amazing centerfield defense, hits .320/.450/.400 but somehow doesn't score or drive in any runs (maybe the other hitters were 8-year-olds?), and his team goes 0-162, he would still have a sabermetrically "valuable" season, wouldn't he? Even though his WAR led to literally no wins because of the incompetence of his teammates.

So I don't see why we can't assign "intangible value" to a player who does something that should really help his team, even if that value is unrealized because management stuffs it up. IMHO it is to Cabrera's great personal credit that he was able to successfully move to 3B for his team, even if managerial incompetence squandered the baseball value of it.

To be perfectly clear, I'm not saying this moves him ahead of Mike Trout in the MVP race! But it does elevate my personal evaluation of Cabrera's season beyond what "6.5" tells me.
   177. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 21, 2012 at 07:07 AM (#4241821)
But again: at least those people didn't know any better.

What is going on here is much worse.


Has anyone in this thread actually said that they'd vote for Cabrera over Trout? Because if not, "what's going on here" is people saying that they're not going to froth at the mouth over an incorrect but understandable decision by the voters, a decision that they have no ability to influence in any way.

The horror.
   178. CONservative governMENt! Posted: September 21, 2012 at 08:36 AM (#4241852)
Typical BBTF poster, typical year: "Those stupid MSM writers screwed up another MVP vote. When are they going to get with the times and use some advanced metrics?"

Nostalgia-stricken BBTF poster, Cabrera MVP: "Oooooooh! Triple Crown. Woooooo Hooooooo!"

I remember when the sabermetric community was actively striving to get as close to the 'truth' in numbers as possible and felt frustration at how long it took the rest of the sport (insiders and outsiders) to catch on. I think what's left here are the after-revolution dregs who don't remember the fight and are happy with non-optimal outcomes as long as its "an interesting narrative".

Take a look in the mirror people!
   179. Booey Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4242011)
But again: at least those people didn't know any better.

What is going on here is much worse.


In 2008, voters absolutely SHOULD have known better than to almost vote Ryan Howard MVP over Pujols for no reason other than homers and ribbies. What's going on here isn't anywhere near as bad for two reasons:

1)As far as I've seen, NO ONE is endorsing Cabrera for MVP. I'd vote for Trout, even if Miggy wins the Triple Crown. All we're saying is that if Cabrera wins, it won't generate the same "WTF? Why did they vote for HIM?" reactions in us that some past selections have. The 2nd best player winning the MVP isn't nearly a travesty on the same level as some other seasons where a guy who may not have even been in the top 10 best players won (Dawson 87, Eck 92, Vaughn 95, Gonzalez 96, Morneau 2006, etc). And...

2)It's not NEARLY as bad for the simple reason that none of us actually have a vote (AFAIK), so us debating it on the internet will have literally zero impact on the actual results.

   180. Booey Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4242020)
No one can really argue that. But baserunning is a part of offense too, and combining hitting with base running makes Trout the best offensive player in the league.

And then you have this little thing called "defense".


But you know that positional adjustments and defense make Trout the best player.


Yep. Which is why I'd vote for Trout if I had a vote. I never said otherwise.

As to "dinosaur" stats, the problem was that the people using them didn't know any better. You know better. And so you're deliberately supporting someone who you know is not the MVP.


No, I'm not. Saying I won't freak out if the voters pick the wrong player isn't the same thing as supporting that player. Why are we required to throw a fit after every bad selection? There's been so many of them over the years that I'm basically immune at this point. I think the last time I actually got annoyed over an MVP was in 2006 (Morneau was an infinitely worse pick than Miggy would be).
   181. JJ1986 Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4242024)
I don't really get why the internet hasn't made more of an attempt to marginalize the BBWAA awards. The populist IBAs didn't really become a thing, but it might work better if there were a panel of 30 or so prominent internet baseball writers who voted on End of Year awards and published their results.
   182. Booey Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4242027)
I'm arguing against the people who are assigning special significant to a player because he leads the league in HR, RBI and BA. Those are three completely arbitrarily selected stats!


Again, use whatever numbers you want. They'll still show that Miggy is having a great offensive season, 1st or 2nd best in the league.

I don't get why some people can't understand why some of us think the Triple Crown would be cool. It's fun. For fans that don't have the responsibility of an actual vote, MVP's are just for fun too. Hell, following baseball in the first place is just for fun.

Nostalgia-stricken BBTF poster, Cabrera MVP: "Oooooooh! Triple Crown. Woooooo Hooooooo!"


Yes, that sums up our position perfectly.

Has anyone in this thread actually said that they'd vote for Cabrera over Trout? Because if not, "what's going on here" is people saying that they're not going to froth at the mouth over an incorrect but understandable decision by the voters, a decision that they have no ability to influence in any way.

The horror.


Bingo.
   183. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4242030)
No, I'm not. Saying I won't freak out if the voters pick the wrong player isn't the same thing as supporting that player. Why are we required to throw a fit after every bad selection? There's been so many of them over the years that I'm basically immune at this point.


But "immune" is different from tacit approval.
   184. SandyRiver Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4242062)
And "tacit approval" is different from "I won't go postal if Miggy wins." The latter is what nearly all in this discussion appear to think, and while many (myself included) see the triple crown as a cool but quaint piece of MLB history, very few if any 'think' it should swing the vote toward him. What most are stating is that the TC may well swing the actual voters toward Cabrera, and they're not so obsessed on the evils of "dinosaur stats" as to freak out if that happens. If that's "intellectual inconsistency", so be it.

Or what #177 said more succinctly.
   185. Booey Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4242075)
But "immune" is different from tacit approval.


I wouldn't call my position approval. Just understanding.

Dude, I love Trout. I watched him play for my Salt Lake Bees before he hit the bigs. I've been following his career closely ever since his call up and I'd be very happy if he won the MVP (especially cuz he deserves it).

But I've also been a big fan of Cabrera for several years now and I enjoy the arbitrary but fun side of baseball (such as Triple Crowns, hitting streaks, no hitters, etc) as well as the SABR stuff. I want Miggy to win the Triple Crown cuz it'd be fun. I'd rather he win it and Trout win the MVP anyway, but if it's a package deal and a TC also equals MVP with the voters, well, then I guess I can live with that. From my fans perspective, the TC would be the cooler achievement anyway since I've never seen one and I see two MVP's every year.

The voters make the wrong MVP choice literally about half the time. At least if they do it again this year it'll be because of a fun achievement that I'd like to see happen, so something good would have come from it (hopefully. If Miggy doesn't win the TC and they give him the MVP anyway, I would be less understanding).
   186. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4242076)
If that's "intellectual inconsistency", so be it.


It is, and so it be.

That's all some of us are saying. We don't want to put you in jail for your views. And yet we are getting resistance anyway from you, for properly characterizing your views.
   187. Booey Posted: September 21, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4242105)
And yet we are getting resistance anyway from you, for properly characterizing your views.


Saying we're approving or supporting the wrong candidate isn't properly characterizing our views, IMO.

I guess we're required to go ballistic if Cabrera wins or else we're being intellectually inconsistent.
   188. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4242128)
Any reaction to the notion of Cabrera being the MVP other than:

1. "That's silly; Trout's been the best player"; or

2. "Well, I can see an argument that Cabrera has been as valuable"

is unsustainable.

What we have here is:

3. "I know that Trout is the best player, but, wee!!! Triple Crown!!!"

Which is intellectually invalid.
   189. Booey Posted: September 21, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4242133)
3. "I know that Trout is the best player, but, wee!!! Triple Crown!!!"

Which is intellectually invalid.


I think it's more along these lines:

4. Trout is the best player and I hope the voters recognize that, but Cabrera really has had a great season and since the voters make mistakes all the time, I'd understand if they misjudged the numbers into thinking Miggy was better and gave him the MVP instead. And I'd be okay with it compared to past mistakes because at least Cabrera's season really is pretty damn impressive. The voters have made many, many decisions in the past that were much more worthy of mouth frothing than this one.
   190. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4242145)
I still would love to know what the triple crown has to do with the MVP. Why are people relating the two when we have better information as to player value?

If all you had was the knowledge that one of them won the triple crown, fine, but - like with batting average - that's not all we have.

There is no reason to relate the two in the face of that.
   191. valuearbitrageur Posted: September 21, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4242148)
No one's saying that Cabrera is not the best offensive player in the league


For emphasis, he isn't.

miggy's the best batter in the league, but that spare mattress he carries on his back when he runs the bases means the best offensive player in baseball is Trout. Mike gets an extra, what, 40+? bases from base running, while Miggy grounds into a historic number of double plays.
   192. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4242153)
So whose career would people rather have going forward, Trout's or Bryce Harper's?

And does this question boil down to:

Would you rather have the player with the 166 OPS+ at age 20, or the player with the 110 OPS+ at age 19?

I honestly don't know; I'd lean towards Harper.

They both play CF and corner OF, and seem to play it well. Trout seems to steal better.

One thing I'd give pause about: the park factors are really helping Angels hitters in converting OPS to OPS+. I'm not saying there's something wrong here, just raising the issue.
   193. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 21, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4242175)
miggy's the best batter in the league, but that spare mattress he carries on his back when he runs the bases means the best offensive player in baseball is Trout. Mike gets an extra, what, 40+? bases from base running, while Miggy grounds into a historic number of double plays.


Trout has 46 steals, 4 CS, 7 GDP

Miggy has 4 steals, 1 CS and 28 GDP

that's 42 more bases for Trout and 18 more outs for Miggy- that are not reflected in AVG-HR-RBI or even in OPS
   194. alilisd Posted: September 21, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4242180)
That versatility is, in and of itself, of actual value, and I would give him a huge bonus for it.


Really? Trout can clearly play any position in the OF. Personally, I have little doubt he could play 3B as well as Cabrera. He's clearly a superior and exceptional athlete. If you're giving out bonuses for versatility, I think you have to give one to him, too.
   195. Sweatpants Posted: September 21, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4242185)
VMart was already hurt when they signed Fielder. The media buzz was that they swooped in with the big offer only after VMart was hurt. VMart's potential 2014 return might have required a shift of Cabrera to 3B next year.

Look, the Tigers gambled moving to Cabrera to 3B and it worked. They then screwed it all up by playing lousy players at LF/RF/DH. Again, not Cabrera's fault, but his being at 3B not 1B/DH ended up adding nothing to the Tigers this year. So if we're gonna talk silly stuff like the stats don't capture the value he added by being willing to move to third, we have to assess whether that move to third actually had any value not captured by the stats. It didn't.

Yes, it's possible that the move to third will have big value next year. I'm kinda skeptical about how well a 34-year-old former C returning from a serious injury and a whole year off is gonna do. If they can trade VMart for something good, I'd jump at it if I was them.
If Cabrera can't/won't move to third, they probably don't sign Fielder, as that creates (barring a trade) a future Cabrera-Fielder-Martinez-Avila logjam resulting in one of those four going to the bench (almost certainly Martinez). The value that Cabrera's move added this year was allowing the team to sign Fielder and give the lineup that big boost, unless you think Fielder would have been okay signing a one-year deal with the Tigers.

I don't know how well Martinez is going to do next year, either, but I doubt the Tigers would have just plopped him on the bench without giving him the chance to make it back, which is what would happen if Cabrera doesn't switch over to third base.
   196. JJ1986 Posted: September 21, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4242188)
resulting in one of those four going to the bench (almost certainly Martinez).


They could also have planned to trade Martinez next spring if he's healthy.
   197. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4242228)
I still would love to know what the triple crown has to do with the MVP. Why are people relating the two when we have better information as to player value?

If all you had was the knowledge that one of them won the triple crown, fine, but - like with batting average - that's not all we have.

There is no reason to relate the two in the face of that.
I guess my argument would be that if Cabrera wins the first Triple Crown in decades, he's already gotten recognition (and will long be remembered) for his great season. No need to double down by adding MVP unless you actually think he had a better year than Trout.
   198. vivaelpujols Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4242233)
Booey are you think? Seriously do you know how to read? Read my post again and then read your reply.
   199. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4242252)
Really? Trout can clearly play any position in the OF. Personally, I have little doubt he could play 3B as well as Cabrera. He's clearly a superior and exceptional athlete. If you're giving out bonuses for versatility, I think you have to give one to him, too.

Ahh, come on. He's good, but he's no Mel Ott.
   200. Booey Posted: September 21, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4242286)
I still would love to know what the triple crown has to do with the MVP. Why are people relating the two when we have better information as to player value?


As far as I can tell, no one is doing this. We've said that Miggy winning the TC COULD lead to him winning the MVP, not that it SHOULD. I've personally stated several times that I'd vote for Trout, even if this happens.

Booey are you think? Seriously do you know how to read? Read my post again and then read your reply.


I've re-read your posts, and I think you're nitpicking. Basically, it sounds like you're saying that just cuz someone is leading in a few arbitrarily selected stats doesn't mean he's having a great season. I agree with that in principal. However, in this case, Cabrera IS having a great season, so I personally don't really care if it's the wrong stats voters are using to recognize it. Make sense?

It's like if voters said they were voting for 1993 Bonds or 2007 A-Rod cuz they hit for a high average and led the league in ribbies. Of course those are the wrong reasons to vote for them, but they really were the best players, so I'm not going to complain too much about their reasoning as long as the end result makes sense.

Yes, Trout should win. But if he doesn't? Meh. Life goes on. This probably wouldn't crack the top 20 worst MVP selections of all time.
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