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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

TSN: American League MVP race 2012: Angels’ Mike Trout vs. Tigers Miguel Cabrera

WAR, not quite up Mig’s alley.

Trout leads the league in batting average (.328), runs scored (112), steals (44) and OPS-plus (169). He is second in OPS (.964) and third in slugging (.571). He also leads the league in WAR (10.0 for baaseball-reference.com and 8.5 for fangraphs.com) by a wide margin—Robinson Cano is the next closest guy at 6.3 and 6.0 from the respective websites.

Those are incredibly difficult numbers to argue against, but Cabrera is stating his case. He leads the league in slugging (.587) and OPS (.980), is second in RBIs (116) and fourth in home runs (35) and runs (89).

...But here are the more telling season numbers: Cabrera has a 5.7 WAR according to baseball-reference.com and a 5.8 at fangraphs.com, making him third and tied for second, respectively. It’s true that there are flaws with WAR, but it is also true that it is the best formula for putting a number to a player’s overall contributions.

With that said, Trout’s WAR numbers dwarf Cabrera’s. And beyond some of the offensive evidence, there is this …

WAR takes into account not only a player’s offensive ability, but also what he’s done defensively and on the bases, and in those categories it’s no contest.

... It’s not fair to compare Trout to Cabrera defensively. Cabrera is a former outfielder-third baseman-first baseman returned to third base this season because the Tigers added Prince Fielder to play first. Cabrera, among qualified AL third baseman, ranks last with a minus-10.7 UZR and last with minus-3 DRS.

Nothing more needs to be said here, so we’ll move on to the impact each player has on his team beyond the obvious statistics …

Repoz Posted: September 11, 2012 at 05:50 AM | 104 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards

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   1. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: September 11, 2012 at 08:34 AM (#4232328)
I might be underestimating the BBWA (is that even possible?) but I don't think Trout even comes close to winning unless the Angels get in to the playoffs and the Tigers do not.
   2. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 11, 2012 at 08:40 AM (#4232331)
am i reading incorrectly or is the write saying because trout is so much better than cabrera as a defender just ignore that part of the game to even things up?
   3. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 11, 2012 at 08:41 AM (#4232332)
The MVP is clearly Brett Anderson. And by that I mean, it's gotta be Trout. The NL is more interesting and find myself coming around on Posey for MVP.
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 11, 2012 at 08:44 AM (#4232337)
am i reading incorrectly or is the write saying because trout is so much better than cabrera as a defender just ignore that part of the game to even things up?


I think it's more of a case of "this fact is not possibly in dispute so let's move on to items that can be disputed.". That's how I read it anyway.
   5. Rants Mulliniks Posted: September 11, 2012 at 08:44 AM (#4232338)
If Trout doesn't win, it wouldn't surprise me if it went to Beltre. I don't know why, but the voters do like Rangers. I'd vote for Posey in the NL, unless McCutcheon turns it back up.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 11, 2012 at 09:04 AM (#4232347)
i guess i am losing brain cells but when did the mvp become the exclusive property of players from playoff teams? the losing team i can remotely understand though i struggle

but to not vote for trout whose team has been playing playoff caliber baseball once he joined the team is just weird.

actually, not weird. stupid.
   7. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: September 11, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4232362)
I'm having trouble coming up with a clear NL MVP, so I think I'm going to vote for Mike Trout for that too.

(Posey is the MVP. And with the Pirates imploding and the Cardinals backing into the playoffs, it's starting to look like Posey will win the Award.)

Andrew McCutchen has the most commonly misspelled last name in baseball, right?
   8. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: September 11, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4232374)
He also leads the league in WAR (10.0 for baaseball-reference.com and 8.5 for fangraphs.com) by a wide margin—Robinson Cano is the next closest guy at 6.3 and 6.0 from the respective websites

So, let's ignore him entirely. :: Sigh ::
   9. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 11, 2012 at 09:33 AM (#4232379)
So, let's ignore him entirely. :: Sigh ::

It's a losing battle, Love Handles. Cano's backpfeifengesicht makes an MVP impossible.
   10. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 11, 2012 at 09:34 AM (#4232380)
i can guess what folks are going to write but if the brewers get to 85 wins or so and braun keeps doing braun things he should be in the conversation.
   11. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 11, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4232388)
Andrew McCutchen has the most commonly misspelled last name in baseball, right?

Yes, now that nobody is talking about Francoeur anymore.
   12. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: September 11, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4232395)
Not only does Mike Trout have the narrative going for him, writers have been getting better/smarter about voting "objectively." A-Rod won the MVP for a last place team in 2003, and King Felix won the Cy Young winning just 13 games in 2009. I think Trout wins the MVP in a landslide.
   13. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 11, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4232398)
i can guess what folks are going to write but if the brewers get to 85 wins or so and braun keeps doing braun things he should be in the conversation.

I'm guessing Braun's MVP's are a thing of the past as long as the BBWAA are voting on it. He's having a great year again, of course. Yadier Molina and Michael Bourn are having great years, too, though a lot of their value is tied up in how much you value their defense.
   14. Shredder Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4232426)
So, let's ignore him entirely. :: Sigh ::
If it makes you feel any better, Trout's numbers are so superior that we should ignore everyone, not just Cano.

At this point, per BR, even ignoring defense, Trout has a oWAR that's 23% higher than Cabrera, and he missed a month of the season through no fault of his own. I mean, if the two were even in hitting, you could make the case that Trout's far superior defense is the difference maker, but why do you even need to get there? It's not close just factoring in offense. If Trout gets to 30-50, and it appears that he will, those should be the magic numbers. He's also going to finish with 85-90 RBI from the freaking lead-off spot, and almost certainly would have gone over 100 if he'd started the season in Anaheim.

Still, I agree with Charityslave that if one of these teams gets into the playoffs and the other doesn't, that will be the difference maker for the voters.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4232438)
Trout will win handily.
   16. tshipman Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4232452)
Trout is pretty much good at everything. It's really crazy. He's going to go 30-30 his first year in the league at 20. After missing the first two months. And then win a batting title.

Posey seems like the favorite to win the award in the NL at this point (and he deserves to).
   17. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4232465)
NL, looking at the RBI leaderboards

Braun: No, hell no.
Headley!!!!: No
Jay Bruce (hold that thought)
Holliday (hold that thought)
Soriano: No
LaRoche: (ummm no)
AmRam: No
Buster: hold that thought

WAR leaders:
McCutchen (hold that thought)
Wright: no.
Braun: (see above)
Bourn: no
Buster: see above
Molina: no
Heyward: ummm no
Headley, sadly still no
Stanton: no
Votto- too much missed time


Ok, basically I see Bruce, Holliday and Buster and possibly McCutchen

Bruce is gonna have the HR crown, Holliday the most well rounded triple crown stat line, Buster is the best player o the Giants and some voters may give him bonus points for being a catcher- McCutchen is the best player and will get some votes- but really he only wins if there is a wild split in the voting (see 1999 AL) of course if there is wild split the very undeserving Bruce very well may win.

   18. AROM Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4232470)
Trout is pretty much good at everything. It's really crazy. He's going to go 30-30 his first year in the league at 20. After missing the first two months. And then win a batting title.


Just one month. He came up at the very end of April.

At this point Trout is so good that he transcends the MVP award. The real question is if the AL MVP award can win Mike Trout, or it has to settle for an inferior representative.
   19. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4232475)
the notion of holliday or bruce as mvp is just ridiculous. they will get votes certainly but outright winning the award? absurd.

and why is jay bruce not receiving the dante bichette type scrutiny on his stat line? his ops at home is 1.008 while on the road it is .771.
   20. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4232482)

I think Miggy could win the award if he wins the Triple Crown. He still has a shot, but at 5 homers back he'd have to get pretty hot for the last 3 1/2 weeks or so.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4232484)
and why is jay bruce not receiving the dante bichette type scrutiny on his stat line? his ops at home is 1.008 while on the road it is .771.


I presume because there's a difference between taking full advantage (and then some) of your hitter-friendly park and playing in Coors Field circa 1995. Great America is a nice place to hit, but it isn't boosting numbers the way Coors was in Dante's MVP runner-up season.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4232491)
Miggy could win the award if he wins the Triple Crown.


OK, if Miggy wins the Triple Crown, Trout's MVP would be in serious jeopardy.
   23. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4232494)
Trout will win fishily.
   24. TDF, situational idiot Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4232497)
As a life-long Reds fan (and someone who has a picture of Bruce's pennant-clinching HR as his computer wallpaper), I can say this with confidence:

Jay Bruce doesn't have a chance to win the MVP, and doesn't deserve it.

Votto is clearly a better player, but his missed time will cost him consideration. Meanwhile, it's taken Bruce's recent surge (OPS of 1.199 over the last 28 days) to move him past the slumping Frasier and Ludwick as the 2nd best hitter on the team. If WAR should be used as a conversation starter when discussing MVP, Bruce's 2.5 bWAR should also end the discussion.
   25. GuyM Posted: September 11, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4232525)
At this point, per BR, even ignoring defense, Trout has a oWAR that's 23% higher than Cabrera, and he missed a month of the season through no fault of his own. I mean, if the two were even in hitting, you could make the case that Trout's far superior defense is the difference maker, but why do you even need to get there? It's not close just factoring in offense.

Unfortunately, you can't use oWAR in this way. Despite it's name, it does incorporate defense (by including a position adjustment).
   26. AROM Posted: September 11, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4232526)
If it's not McCutchen I'd vote for a catcher. Posey and Molina are pretty close, so whoever finishes better is the guy. Either pick the one with the great bat and decent glove, or great glove, good bat, and shocking baserunning (11 of 13 in steals for Molina). Fastest Molina ever.
   27. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: September 11, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4232546)
It seems like a lot of people think since Trout's only 21 that in a couple years he's going to be Mickey Mantle, only if Mickey Mantle were as fast as Vince Coleman and played center field like Andruw Jones. I think it's more likely Trout is already at his peak and probably having his career year right now.
   28. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: September 11, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4232549)
True, but a 13 war peak (rate basis). Still portends 10 WAR future years
   29. Shredder Posted: September 11, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4232553)
Unfortunately, you can't use oWAR in this way. Despite it's name, it does incorporate defense (by including a position adjustment).
Doesn't that assume they're just average at the position though (or replacement level)? I don't know that this really hurts the argument, but I get what you're saying. So I guess, even if we ignore the fact that Trout plays defense at a gold glove level (though I'd like to see better routes to the ball), the argument is still that he's more valuable than Cabrera because he at least puts up comparable or slightly superior offensive numbers while holding his own at a more difficult position.
   30. Matt Welch Posted: September 11, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4232573)
Those who pin Trout's MVPness with the Angels' playoff fortunes have a problem to overcome: Since his first game this year, they have the best record in the American League. Seems odd to blame the team's lousy start on the guy who was in AAA at the time.
   31. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4232581)
Those who pin Trout's MVPness with the Angels' playoff fortunes have a problem to overcome: Since his first game this year, they have the best record in the American League. Seems odd to blame the team's lousy start on the guy who was in AAA at the time.

He sounds just like Brandon Moss!
   32. AROM Posted: September 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4232600)
Those who pin Trout's MVPness with the Angels' playoff fortunes have a problem to overcome: Since his first game this year, they have the best record in the American League. Seems odd to blame the team's lousy start on the guy who was in AAA at the time.


If there are voters out there who would not vote for Trout, they are beyond reasoning with. Best bet would be to tell them that if they don't vote for Trout, their taxes will be raised, they'll lose their health insurance, and the Sandanistas will invade their homes.
   33. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4232604)
Trout leads the league...in WAR (...8.5 for fangraphs.com)...Robinson Cano is the next closest guy at ... 6.0...Cabrera has a...5.8 at fangraphs.com, making him...tied for second.


Am I missing something? When does have a lesser number make you tied with someone?
   34. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4232609)
Ok, basically I see Bruce, Holliday and Buster and possibly McCutchen


It should Buster, Molina, Wright and McCutchen, those are really the only names that should be in the coversation, once you accept that the writers are not going to vote for Braun. (with apologies to Bourn who is just not good enough of a hitter to really be in the conversation regardless of what War says)

At this point in time, I think it's Posey's to lose. I know the writers are idiots, but no way are they dumb enough to vote for Bruce.

At this point Trout should be the MVP he hasn't slowed down even after he crossed 100 games played threshold so that should be evidence enough that he is legitimately this good right now.


Miggy could win the award if he wins the Triple Crown.


He will probably win the batting title, maybe even the rbi title, but the homerun title will require an impressive 3 weeks from him, which might vault him over Trout for the narrative. Writers really do subconsciously, consider September to we worth twice as much (or even three times) as other months.

   35. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4232621)
WAR takes into account not only a player’s offensive ability, but maybe also what he’s done defensively and on the bases
   36. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4232624)
cfb

not looking to be difficult but if you are stating that literally nobody will vote for braun i will propose a good-natured, no funds required wager that braun finishes in the top ten in the nl mvp voting. and if you were not being literal then i will make it appealing and say top five

i understand why he won't 'win'. but i don't see over 2 dozen people excluding him from the ballot completely. and if he is not off the ballot then how do you put him at 8th? you don't. you put him in the top 5.

that's my thinking. he gets excluded from a handful of ballots and then gets votes 3-6 from a bunch of other voters.
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4232634)
not looking to be difficult but if you are stating that literally nobody will vote for braun i will propose a good-natured, no funds required wager that braun finishes in the top ten in the nl mvp voting. and if you were not being literal then i will make it appealing and say top five


Nope, I'm stating that his standings in the final vote will be way below where he should be ranked. Right now the final vote for NL MVP should go in an order roughly

1-2. McCutchen, Posey
3-6. Molina, Wright, Braun, (Bourn if you are a fan of war only)
7 on up, reflections of personal bias, priorities etc...

Braun will finish in that third group and voters will be finding stupid reasons to vote for their preferences over him. To be fair I imagine that Wright will also finish below his actual value in the voting too. (example you will see some voters giving it to Bruce due to the RBI thing, you will see some giving it to Holliday instead of Braun by saying similar players, but that Holliday was on a playoff team, you might even see some giving Headley a push because he's unappreciated) I doubt many ballots will have Braun in top five, regardless of that being where he should be)
   38. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4232638)
Those who pin Trout's MVPness with the Angels' playoff fortunes have a problem to overcome: Since his first game this year, they have the best record in the American League. Seems odd to blame the team's lousy start on the guy who was in AAA at the time.

I'm not sure if that is odder than not giving him the MVP because his team didn't make the playoffs only to give it to another guy whose team looks like they aren't going to make the playoffs.

I think people are just writing to fill space. I can't imagine Trout doesn't get it. Batting title, SB title, leads the league in runs (by freaking 20 right now), all after missing a month. Everyone notices stuff like that.
   39. Booey Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4232639)
Harvey's #36 - Agreed. I think Braun finishes top 5. Possibly leading the league in homers, rbi, and slg while hitting over .300 won't be completely ignored.

Any word on that injury he suffered when he left that game? He's not out for the remainder of the season, is he?
   40. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4232641)
I think people are just writing to fill space. I can't imagine Trout doesn't get it. Batting title, SB title, leads the league in runs, all after missing a month. Everyone notices stuff like that.


Yes, that's exactly it (and usually the guys writing this don't have votes). If Cabrera wins the Triple Crown, then you've got a race. Otherwise, it's going to be Trout.
   41. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4232645)
Trout has to win the MVP, if only because the writers love a story, and Trout is the best story in ages. MLB needs a new signature star or two, and the handsome wunderkind patrolling center in SoCal is as good as you're gonna find (west of the Lebron-in-spikes you'll find in DC, that is.)*


*Trout's a better player, but I still think Harper is better media fodder.
   42. Booey Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4232649)
*Trout's a better player, but I still think Harper is better media fodder.


Better quotes for sure.
   43. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4232655)
booey

he was back in the lineup last night

it's not even noticed but braun plays through injuries if at all possible. he sits out every so often to give his back a rest but otherwise if he can get on the field he will be there.

this is why i was so exasperated about 2010. it was understood around milwaukee that braun had a bad shoulder, was playing through it, and every 'analyst' around bbtf was trying to decipher if braun was on the downside of his career already. of course he 'only' slugged .501 that season

i know folks don't like him, and i know he comes across as a bit of a jerk but he is a tough kid who produces great numbers every year while improving his game across the board.

he's approaching being the best all around player in brewer history and that is not a low bar of achievement
   44. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4232680)
On Trout's "career year?":
Of course it's probably his career year.

If we take b-ref's estimates of his defense (and other things) at face value^, his current WAR of 10.2 ranks 28th all time for position players.

Now, assume he'll maintain that rate and play in each of the Angels remaining 21 games - his projected WAR of 12.0 would tie for 4th by a position player, and for 1st among guys not named Ruth.

Now add in that missing month.



^ I think he's a fine defender in center, but he's likely overrated by their metrics, which go a long way in explain his rank on these lists.
   45. TomH Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4232683)
Having analzyed MVP voting for many years, it really comes down to 2 factors:

1 Anaheim makes playoffs? Because, MVP voters historically give extra creidt to "sparkplugs" (i.e., shortstops or basestealers) on winners. Whereas if you play short for a loser or steal 50 bags for a loser, you get zilch. Examples are Larkin, M Wills, Aparicio.
2 Tigers win Central AND Cabrera leads league in RBI. Because, historically, voters give oodles of extra credit to the big RBI guy when the team wins; so much so that it overwhelms most other factors. But just 'being on a winning team' isn't all that extra-creitable, nor is 'RBI leader' for a non-contender. It's the combo that does it.

A simple model like AVG + HR + RBI + SB/2 will get you close. Sabermetrics have made enough headway that walks and defense get some small level of recognition (plus, it was so obvious that Bonds was the best player in the NL from 2002-2004 even when he couldn't drive in runs since they always walked him with men on, that a simple formula became less predictive) - but the postseason bonuses for certain types of guys are still big.

Andrew McCutchen, for example - his MVP case does not ride much on the Pirates' fate, because he is having one of those "overall great seasons" with no specific marker that ties directly to team performance. His NL MVP case will ride on the Giants' fate (Posey's .330 AVG and 100+ RBI as a catcher for a winner is a great narrative) and what the voters will do with Ryan Braun's "not-suspended-for-PEDS" great year.

(edit: oh, and if Bruce goes bonkers and grabs the RBI crown, we have ourselves an MVP)
   46. Booey Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4232685)
i know folks don't like him, and i know he comes across as a bit of a jerk but he is a tough kid who produces great numbers every year while improving his game across the board.


Braun is one of my favorite players. I've only been to 3 MLB games in person, but one of them was a Rockies/Brewers game at Coors in August 2010. I made the 500+ mile drive from Salt Lake to Denver mainly so I could see Braun and Prince rake at Coors (Fielder was 0 for 4 with 2 K's, but Braun had 2 doubles).

It actually really bothers me that even though last years suspension was overturned, Braun may have already lost his shot at the HOF, no matter what kind of career he ends up with.

he's approaching being the best all around player in brewer history and that is not a low bar of achievement


I'd think he's still got quite a ways to go to overtake Yount, no?
   47. TomH Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4232688)
(deleted, operator error)
   48. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4232697)
Am I missing something? When does have a lesser number make you tied with someone?

A difference of 0.2 WAR is much smaller than the inherent error in WAR.
   49. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4232700)
tom

rbi leaders who have mvp since 2000

ryan howard 2006
alex rodriguez 2007

i am not buying that jay bruce can win the mvp under the conditions you describe.

a .260ish hitting outfielder winning over buster posey?

the writers have their flaws but they are not that dense
   50. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4232702)
booey

sure. but he's getting there
   51. DL from MN Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4232707)
Maybe it's just my perspective but aren't the Angels better than the Tigers? That should help Trout over Cabrera.
   52. JJ1986 Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4232710)
I think Bruce will probably get a huge amount of press as a potential MVP candidate. Everyone on ESPN will list him in their top 3 and so on. And then he'll finish 6th or 7th.
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4232711)
2 Tigers win Central AND Cabrera leads league in RBI. Because, historically, voters give oodles of extra credit to the big RBI guy when the team wins; so much so that it overwhelms most other factors. But just 'being on a winning team' isn't all that extra-creitable, nor is 'RBI leader' for a non-contender. It's the combo that does it.


To build on Harvey's point, since 2000 there have been 10 RBI champions who played for playoff teams. Arod in 2007 was the only one who earned the MVP, and he also happened to be the WAR leader in the AL that year.

I know you've spent a lot of time studying the historical results, but past practices are becoming less relevant every year.
   54. Rants Mulliniks Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4232717)
Bruce is gonna have the HR crown


I can't see him getting by Stanton, who shares the league lead despite over 100 fewer PAs.

I'm sure Old Man Jeter will get some up-ballot votes just to piss all of us off, he is leading the league in hits by a significant margin and is in contention for the batting title. I don't think he's remotely the MVP of his own team, but he has put together a shockingly good season.
   55. Booey Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4232737)
Bruce is gonna have the HR crown

I can't see him getting by Stanton, who shares the league lead despite over 100 fewer PAs.


Am I missing something? I just checked the leaders on ESPN and Braun is 5 ahead of both these guys.
   56. Shredder Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4232739)
Maybe it's just my perspective but aren't the Angels better than the Tigers? That should help Trout over Cabrera.
I think they probably are (though it's close), but if the Angels end up with a better record than the Tigers, still miss the playoffs, and the Tigers end up beating out the Sox for the AL Central, I think Cabrera wins it depsite the Angels playing in a tougher division.
   57. Rants Mulliniks Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4232744)
Am I missing something? I just checked the leaders on ESPN and Braun is 5 ahead of both these guys.


Oops, no wonder Harvey's getting riled up, Braun must be invisible. I guess the notion of "Jay Bruce, HR King" was so incongruous from my view of the season I forgot about Braun too.
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4232746)
I'm sure Old Man Jeter will get some up-ballot votes just to piss all of us off, he is leading the league in hits by a significant margin and is in contention for the batting title. I don't think he's remotely the MVP of his own team, but he has put together a shockingly good season.


Jeter usually gets unfair representation(both ways) in the MVP voting, I don't think we'll be to ticked off if he finishes up ballot in a year where he posts a 120 ops+, leads the league in hits. If he finishes behind Trout and Cabrera and Hamilton and Beltre, most people will be fine wherever he ends up.
   59. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4232747)
Oops, no wonder Harvey's getting riled up, Braun must be invisible. I guess the notion of "Jay Bruce, HR King" was so incongruous from my view of the season I forgot about Braun too.


Heck until about an hour ago, I hadn't realized that Chase Headley was leading the NL in RBI.

To build on Harvey's point, since 2000 there have been 10 RBI champions who played for playoff teams. Arod in 2007 was the only one who earned the MVP, and he also happened to be the WAR leader in the AL that year.

I know you've spent a lot of time studying the historical results, but past practices are becoming less relevant every year.


I'm glad you and Harvey both pointed this out. RBI is important to the voters, but it's no longer the primary criteria. At least leading the league isn't important, but it's probably being used as a tie breaker, along with team standings still.
   60. TomH Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4232755)
rbi leaders on playoff teams since 2002 (last 10 yrs)
Papi 05 ARod 07 Tex 09 Granderson 11
Jones 05 Holliday 07 Howard 08 (semiHoward 09, tied)

Yes, few won MVPs, but I did not mean to say it was the ONLY factor; in 05, voters dis DHs so Papi lost to ARod (but it was close!), and Pujols had 70 pts of BA over Jones. In 07, voters as in the past discounted some Coors effect, and ARod won the award. (but again, it was a close vote). In 08, Pujols had 100 pts (!) of BA over Howard, and Ryan STILL almost undeservedly beat him. In 09, Mauer got the 'played catcher for a winner' boost to add to his .365 avg. And in 11, a pitcher (Velrnader) won the award.

Leading in RBI for a winner is worth, in voters' composite eyes, about 60 extra pts in BA, all other things being equal. Kinda silly, but there you go.
   61. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4232756)
At least leading the league isn't important, but it's probably being used as a tie breaker, along with team standings still.


Even as a tiebreaker, it isn't that important. Pujols and Votto were about as close as two guys could be in 2010. Pujols won the RBI title. Votto's team won the division and he won the MVP almost unanimously.

There was a time when voters were truly enamored with big RBI guys. But other than the bizarre Ryan Howard fetish of the past decade, that time is mostly past.
   62. Booey Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4232782)
There was a time when voters were truly enamored with big RBI guys. But other than the bizarre Ryan Howard fetish of the past decade, that time is mostly past.


Morneau in 2006 was an abysmal selection, and I can't think of any reason why a voter would've picked him other than "most rbi's on a playoff team."
   63. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4232788)
In 07, voters as in the past discounted some Coors effect


In 2007, Matt Holliday didn't win the RBI crown until Game 163 (the 13th inning of Game 163, as it happens). All the MVP votes had been cast before he took over the RBI lead.
   64. DL from MN Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4232801)
If you guys like discussing who should win the MVP you can vote on the 1976 MMP election. We're getting closer to the modern era, people can't seem to get enough of these discussions, yet we had 10 voters in 1975.
   65. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4232805)
All the MVP votes had been cast before he took over the RBI lead.


Do you have a cite for that Tom? There may have been some voters who turned them in early, but the eligibility period runs through the end of the regular season, after the one-game playoff was concluded (and nothing I've seen in a brief search suggests otherwise was in place in 2007).

   66. TomH Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4232819)
61, because again, I'm telling you, the RBI crown does! not! matter! if your team does not win. And St. Louis in 2010 missed the playoffs by 5 games.
   67. TomH Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4232822)
DL, discussing who DESERVES to win is unfortauntely a lot different than who the VOTERS will pick. But thanks for the invite.
   68. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4232824)
If you guys like discussing who should win the MVP you can vote on the 1976 MMP election. We're getting closer to the modern era, people can't seem to get enough of these discussions, yet we had 10 voters in 1975.


I would love to, but I don't trust my research abilities enough to do it justice.

   69. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4232826)
61, because again, I'm telling you, the RBI crown does! not! matter! if your team does not win. And St. Louis in 2010 missed the playoffs by 5 games.


People aren't saying that it doesn't factor into the voting, just that it doesn't factor into the voting as much as it used to. Morneau's win, was probably the last gasp of the dying writer who bases his votes on simple criteria.
   70. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4232832)
61, because again, I'm telling you, the RBI crown does! not! matter! if your team does not win. And St. Louis in 2010 missed the playoffs by 5 games.


And I'm telling you that the RBI crown hasn't made much of a difference for players on teams that do win*, as the last dozen years of voting has demonstrated. Sure, the occasional Morneau or more occasional Howard outpolls his numbers, but that also happens with guys without big RBI numbers.

But we've had this argument before. Three years ago you insisted as late as mid-September that Joe Mauer had no chance to beat Teixeira for the MVP, and that vote was almost unanimous. There was a time when winning the RBI crown was huge for an MVP candidate. By and large, that time is over.

Voting on BBWAA awards** has changed, as the beat writers have become more comfortable with advanced metrics. It's evident in Felix and Zach's Cy awards and with Verlander and Mauer's MVP honors. They ain't perfectly in tune with stathead wisdom yet, but the old models for predicting simply aren't very accurate any longer. There still are some biases (playing for a pennant contender in the MVP vote chief among them), but they are much better at using the stats that matter.

* For instance, Josh Hamilton is leading the league in RBIs while playing for the best team in the AL. I haven't seen anyone insist he's one of the leaders in the MVP race.

** It will take much longer for this change to become evident in Hall of Fame voting.
   71. BDC Posted: September 11, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4232834)
I think it's more likely Trout is already at his peak and probably having his career year right now

Even if this is meant somewhat paradoxically, it's a good point to remember. For reasons that Der K points to in #44 (it's hard to have a much better year than this one), it's just statistically likely. But also because we tend to look at prospect-aged performers mostly as prospects, when we should be looking at them less with reference to projections and possibilities. To enjoy people the most, assume that what they're doing now is as good as it gets. I admit that is a bleak way to think about, say, Jeff Francoeur, but even he had a good year or two that would have looked better if it had been appreciated as his absolute upside. Call it the "Alicia Silverstone Principle": you can either love Clueless as a near-perfect comedy, or feel depressed because geez, where did it all go from there. Love it for what it is.
   72. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 11, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4232841)
tom

deserves got nothing to do with it

(sorry, i had to)
   73. Danny Posted: September 11, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4232848)
Those who pin Trout's MVPness with the Angels' playoff fortunes have a problem to overcome: Since his first game this year, they have the best record in the American League. Seems odd to blame the team's lousy start on the guy who was in AAA at the time.

That's not the "reasoning" those voters employ. They're not casting "blame," they're just saying contributions for non-playoff teams have less value because those teams could have missed the playoffs just fine without those contributions.
   74. Rants Mulliniks Posted: September 11, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4232849)
Al Kaline had arguably the best season of his career at age 20, and so did A-Rod (also arguably). Neither was was good as Trout's, so even if this is his career best, if he stays healthy he should make the HOF in a cakewalk.
   75. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 11, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4232862)
If vote was today, Trout would win handily, IMHO. However, if he slumps a bit, and Cabrera wins the batting title, and finishes strong in a near-Triple Crown performance, it might be different. Although the time Trout spent in the minors shouldn't disqualify him, it's also true that he didn't contribute any MLB value during that period.
   76. TomH Posted: September 11, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4232870)
SoSH, my memory is ungood; you may need to remind me of what I said. The only mid-Sep thread I can find is this one
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/ballou_as_far_as_mvp_mauer_closing_in
....where my only post was that Mauer would get more votes if the Twins win. Which was "right", but fairly obvious.

now, I did just now re-run my model of 09, and it shows almost a dead heat between Mauer and Tex (Jeter 3rd) which (duh) was incorrect. My guess is that one cause is that the model gives bonus points to a guy who is new to the team, if a team wins and it did not win last year (Yanks failed to make playoffs in 08); this attempts to quanitfy the narrative that "so and so is responisble for ___ team's surprise winning". In this case, the writers probably did not see Yankees making the playoff as 'surprising'. Also, the model failed to account for a teammate (Derek) influencing the vote; it is clear to me now that its easier to be the MVP when only one man on a team is having a clear cut great year than if credit is split. Adjustment needed.

Note: the model shows that if Tex did NOT win the RBI crown, Jeter would have finsihed ahead of him, so the model is justified in giving extra credit for that. As you said, maybe it's time to lower the coefficient. I am commpletely unconvinced by the data that I should zero it out, but I will rerun it after 2012 to see how it works for this millenium.

I have not run a full 2012 AL model yet to see if Hamilton projects as a favorite.
   77. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 11, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4232876)
For instance, Josh Hamilton is leading the league in RBIs while playing for the best team in the AL. I haven't seen anyone insist he's one of the leaders in the MVP race.


Oddly enough, his name has just been added to the conversation on ESPN's Baseball Today podcast - it came up last Friday.

I think the reason you haven't heard more about Hamilton is that the Ranger beat reporters are pushing Adrian Beltre's candidacy.

-- MWE
   78. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4232905)
Josh's name was probably the number one name pre-all star break, now the narrative is "look at the surprise candidate that no one saw at the all star break" for the next week or two, then when the season is ending the writers will again look at all the candidates, and it's basically going to be Trout, Cabrera, Cano, Hamilton(Beltre's name will have dropped out of serious consideration by then, just the way these things go) with the occasional voice for Encarnacion, Jeter and Beltre.
   79. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: September 11, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4232910)
[78] I will be shocked if Cano finishes ahead of Jeter.
   80. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 11, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4232911)
Bruce is gonna have the HR crown


I retract this unsubstantiated claim of mine
   81. BDC Posted: September 11, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4232924)
the reason you haven't heard more about Hamilton is that the Ranger beat reporters are pushing Adrian Beltre's candidacy

This may well be true. Almost everything said about Hamilton in DFW right now is biased by the writer's position on his upcoming contract negotiations (even down to some ludicrous throwaway item like somebody the other day asking Wash if Hamilton might someday hit 50 HR in a season). Meanwhile, there's no similar distraction with Beltre, so he suddenly becomes the good guy and the Valuable Player.

Hamilton's inconsistency has hurt his narrative, too. This year's Rangers are a testament to the idea that you can win a pennant just as easily in April as in September, and he was hugely instrumental in that. But what has he done for us lately …
   82. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4232942)
[78] I will be shocked if Cano finishes ahead of Jeter.


I wouldn't. It's 28 voters, only two of which are stationed in New York city and many of which are internet 'bloggers' nowadays that I just don't see Jeter surpassing Cano among those willing to look at the numbers. Even assuming Jeter is pegged as an average defensive shortstop, Cano is still the better offensive threat. For all the talk about New York bias, Jeter hasn't done really that well in the MVP voting. He gets a little extra credit from time to time, but he rarely finishes higher than a reasonable spot for him. (and has probably been ripped off a couple of times)
   83. DL from MN Posted: September 11, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4232963)
I would love to, but I don't trust my research abilities enough to do it justice.


We post the most likely names at the top of the thread. All you have to do is put them in order.
   84. Booey Posted: September 11, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4232971)
For all the talk about New York bias, Jeter hasn't done really that well in the MVP voting. He gets a little extra credit from time to time, but he rarely finishes higher than a reasonable spot for him. (and has probably been ripped off a couple of times)


Agreed. For a media darling who had a legit MVP argument twice(1999, 2006), yet never actually won, it seems he's been unfairly hurt in the voting more than he's been unfairly helped. I only remember one season (1998 - I think Jeter finished 3rd) where I felt at the time that he'd placed unreasonably high in the voting (too lazy to look up the SABR numbers and see if that opinion was correct or not), and that was more than nullified the follwing year when he finished unreasonably low (I think he was 6th in 1999).
   85. Booey Posted: September 11, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4232976)
We post the most likely names at the top of the thread. All you have to do is put them in order.


I'd be happy to participate once you hit 1987-present, which is when I've been following baseball. For everything before that I'd have to do some of that pesky research stuff rather than just trusting my infallible memory. :-)
   86. God Posted: September 11, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4232987)
Yeah, you should be a shoo-in for MVP if you have a .320-plus average with 30 homers and 40 steals, and Gold Glove defense in center field. Even if your team misses the playoffs, you should still be safe as long as they finish above .500.

(That noise you hear in the background is Matt Kemp cursing up a storm.)
   87. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4232994)
Yeah, you should be a shoo-in for MVP if you have a .320-plus average with 30 homers and 40 steals, and Gold Glove defense in center field. Even if your team misses the playoffs, you should still be safe as long as they finish above .500.

(That noise you hear in the background is Matt Kemp cursing up a storm.)


I thought the consensus was that Kemps defense was only average in centerfield, and of course when your competition hits .330, 30 steals and 30 hrs and plays plus defense at a corner outfield position, you are stuck with splitting the difference at that point in time...Of course Kemp played in 161 games vs Brauns 150 which should have pushed him over the edge, the tie breaker for being on a division champion was a bit more bonus that Braun probably should have got.
   88. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 11, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4233030)
[78] I will be shocked if Cano finishes ahead of Jeter.

Me too. The only time I see Cano's name is like in articles like this, where they mention his WAR because he's there and never look at him again.

Last time I watched MLB Network, they were pimping Jeter as the Yankee candidate. It has a lot to do with Jeter being on fire lately while Cano has sort of tread water for most of the end of the season. It's too bad, Cano is having what would qualify as a MVP year in the time after A-rod and before Mike Trout. I'll happily settle for him being the best second baseman in baseball though.
   89. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 11, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4233040)
You know I hadn't even noticed that Jeter was en fuego, I'd last bothered watching the Yankees in July...
He's got a 50/50 chance of breaking Rose's record for most hits as a 38 year old...

2 years ago I thought his chance at 4000 was pretty much gone when he hit .270
   90. toratoratora Posted: September 11, 2012 at 07:03 PM (#4233066)
Sooooo, let me see if I have this right-Trout is penalized for the Angels performance, most of which occurred before he was called up. Meanwhile, Cabrera's Tigers are sliding out of the race and nobody's knocking him for it.
Seems kinda double standard to me...
   91. zenbitz Posted: September 11, 2012 at 07:31 PM (#4233078)
Trout wins in a walk. He won when he made that stupid crazy HR robbing catch. (It's over. It's always been over.)

Trout would almost certainly win even if Cabrera or whomever actually PASSES him in WAR. But best player, best story? Auto-win.




   92. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 11, 2012 at 07:44 PM (#4233093)
Yeah, you should be a shoo-in for MVP if you have a .320-plus average with 30 homers and 40 steals, and Gold Glove defense in center field. Even if your team misses the playoffs, you should still be safe as long as they finish above .500.

(That noise you hear in the background is Matt Kemp cursing up a storm.)


To be fair, last year's Dodgers were below .500 every day from May 3 until September 18th, and were in 4th or 5th place for most of the year, until the Rockies totally collapsed. Not exactly contenders.
   93. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 11, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4233130)
Yeah, you should be a shoo-in for MVP if you have a .320-plus average with 30 homers and 40 steals, and Gold Glove defense in center field. Even if your team misses the playoffs, you should still be safe as long as they finish above .500.

(That noise you hear in the background is Matt Kemp cursing up a storm.)


I thought the consensus was that Kemps defense was only average in centerfield

It seems kind of silly to take issue with the phrase "Gold Glove defense" when Kemp literally won the Gold Glove.
   94. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 11, 2012 at 08:55 PM (#4233153)
It seems kind of silly to take issue with the phrase "Gold Glove defense" when Kemp literally won the Gold Glove.


OTOH, Kemp didn't win the Gold Glove until after the MVP voting (and it was awarded by an entirely different set of voters). So, if you're talking about the qualifications that should be considered in his MVP case, then average defense is a better description.
   95. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 11, 2012 at 09:33 PM (#4233201)

OTOH, Kemp didn't win the Gold Glove until after the MVP voting (and it was awarded by an entirely different set of voters). So, if you're talking about the qualifications that should be considered in his MVP case, then average defense is a better description.

I've heard this argument before, but I have a hard time believing that the "consensus" on a guy who has won 2 of the last 3 Gold Glove awards is that he is merely an average defender (he had also won the award two years earlier). Perhaps that is the view here, but I don't think that is the consensus among MVP voters. I'm willing to hear evidence to the contrary, though. Do managers/coaches and writers really have such divergent views on player defense?
   96. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2012 at 10:19 PM (#4233239)
I've heard this argument before, but I have a hard time believing that the "consensus" on a guy who has won 2 of the last 3 Gold Glove awards is that he is merely an average defender (he had also won the award two years earlier). Perhaps that is the view here, but I don't think that is the consensus among MVP voters. I'm willing to hear evidence to the contrary, though. Do managers/coaches and writers really have such divergent views on player defense?


Well at the time of the voting, he had only won one. On top of that the methodology of the vote for the gold glove really doesn't give a fair indication of the common consensus at the time, the results shape the consensus after the fact, but it's not a good reflection of the consensus before the fact. That is why once someone starts winning gold gloves, they have a tendency to keep winning them provided they stay in the league and stay healthy.

Until they release the vote totals on the gold glove votes, it's not really a good indication of what the masses think, as it's very possible people are winning the award with 3-5 out of 14 votes. This upcoming year is arguably going to be the first year, ever that the gold glove might be useful at determining the consensus and possibly pick a legitimate good fielders at every position.


   97. TomH Posted: September 12, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4233620)
It's about 70-80 votes total I think, as each team's coaches submit inputs. And they aren't allowed t ovote for their own players.
   98. AROM Posted: September 12, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4233680)
This upcoming year is arguably going to be the first year, ever that the gold glove might be useful at determining the consensus and possibly pick a legitimate good fielders at every position.


What is being done differently this year?

   99. SoSH U at work Posted: September 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4233700)
What is being done differently this year?


I figured CFB was referring to the decision to award Gold Gloves by outfield position, though that actually started last year. I don't believe there are any changes planned for this year.

   100. cardsfanboy Posted: September 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4233701)
What is being done differently this year?


I can't find the reference to it, so maybe I imagined it, but I was under the impression that Rawlings was going to give out different ballots this year in which the ballots would list the most viable candidates(no possible repeat of Palmiero) and some defensive stats on the ballot.
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