Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

TSN: Levy: Can Chase Utley Really Lose the World Series and Win the MVP?

Mean old Levy taught me to weep and moan…

image

First, a little history. Making the claim that a player from the losing team should be World Series MVP is indeed lofty, as only one player in the history of the award – dating back to 1955 – has come from a losing team. That player, of course, is Bobby Richardson. Who is Bobby Richardson, you ask? Well, he was the second baseman for the 1960 New York Yankees, who amassed 12 RBI and hit .367 in a losing effort to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The fact that Utley is playing against the Yankees and Richardson played for the Yankees is nothing more than coincidental. But the fact that Richardson is not just the only player to win from a losing team, but is also the only second baseman to ever win the World Series MVP award could, perhaps, be an omen. And then there’s the good Karma in Philadelphia with past playoff MVPs from losing teams – namely Ron Hextall’s Conn Smythe in 1987. So is Utley baseball’s next Bobby Richardson? Is he Philly’s next Hextall?

Before we just give Utley this award, we need to be mindful of the fact that his team is down 3-2 heading back to the Bronx and it’d be very tough to give the award to a player whose team won half as many games as they lost. Utley has been spectacular, but if his play only leads to two wins, how valuable could it have been?

Repoz Posted: November 03, 2009 at 04:37 PM | 62 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, phillies, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 03, 2009 at 04:45 PM (#3376261)
Yes. Utley is the MVP of this series even if he goes 0-for-4 in Game 6.
   2. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 03, 2009 at 04:46 PM (#3376263)
Utley has been spectacular, but if his play only leads to two wins, how valuable could it have been?


Very valuable because they could have been swept without it.
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 03, 2009 at 04:51 PM (#3376274)
Barry Bonds was pretty obviously the most valuable player in the 2002 World Series, even if they didn't give him the award.
   4. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: November 03, 2009 at 04:54 PM (#3376281)
These are always premature. If Damon has another big game or Rivera pitches two strong innings to close it out you can make a case for either of those guys winning it. Utley is the clear MVP so far though.
   5. Rich Rifkin Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:06 PM (#3376298)
Besides Richardson winning the MVP, 1960 must be the strangest World Series ever, in terms of Pythagorean records. The Yankees outscored the Pirates 55-27, yet lost the Series 4-3. Yet NY's P-record was 5.49-1.51.

The team OPS for New York was .911 (Mantle led the Yankees with a 1.135 OPS); the Pirates OPS was .656.

All of the 3 Yankee wins were double-digit jobs. They won by 13, 10 and 12 runs. Their 4 losses were much closer, losing by 2, 1, 3 and 1.

I would give Utley the MVP* for this year's Series, so far. However, by P-record, 2009 is not like 1960. The Yankees lead 3 games to 2 and have outscored Philly 25-24. That gives New York a P-record of 2.59-2.41 through 5 games.

*FWIW, Utley does not have the highest OPS in this Series among the everyday players. His OPS (1.651) is behind that of Godzilla (1.822). Cole Hamels, who had 1 PA, has an OPS of 2.000 (by hitting a single).
   6. Jeff K. Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:06 PM (#3376299)
Richardson is the only second baseman to win the WS MVP? Knock me down with a feather and call me Mother Goose. I had zero idea.
   7. The Essex Snead Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:13 PM (#3376308)
Mark Lemke was robbed. By someone. Probably in New York.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:16 PM (#3376310)
FWIW, Utley does not have the highest OPS in this Series among the everyday players. His OPS (1.651) is behind that of Godzilla (1.822).


Matsui has started only two games.
   9. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:19 PM (#3376313)
Nobody who has apparent problems with the directions on the tube of hair gel should be rewarded with a series MVP.
   10. Rich Rifkin Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:22 PM (#3376317)
#6 -- keep in mind that the WS MVP didn't start until 1955. Also note that pitchers have been overrepresented on the MVP list, winning almost half the time (25/54).
   11. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:23 PM (#3376320)
Utley has been spectacular, but if his play only leads to two wins, how valuable could it have been?

Which Yankee has personally won three games?

These things are a joke.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:23 PM (#3376323)
Richardson is the only second baseman to win the WS MVP? Knock me down with a feather and call me Mother Goose. I had zero idea.


Mark Bellhorn should have been the second.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:28 PM (#3376330)
Does anyone else love Matsui's hair? I had some English friends that referred to the style as "curtains." It's like he got it done in 1995 and has ever since just told his barber, "the usual."
   14. Rich Rifkin Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:30 PM (#3376335)
Matsui has started only two games.
Yeah, 'zilla's not the MVP. I should have noted he has only half the PAs of Utley (10/21). And defensively, there is no comparison.
   15. Jeff K. Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:31 PM (#3376336)
Which Yankee has personally won three games?

Jesus.
   16. Danny Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:34 PM (#3376344)
Also note that pitchers have been overrepresented on the MVP list, winning almost half the time (25/54).

They seem to be pretty fairly represented given the huge roles they can play in a single series. For example, last year's WS MVP (Cole Hamels) pitched 13 innings in a five game series. That's the equivalent of 420 IP in a 162 game season, or 30% of his team's innings.
   17. SandyRiver Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:38 PM (#3376350)
Besides Richardson winning the MVP, 1960 must be the strangest World Series ever, in terms of Pythagorean records. The Yankees outscored the Pirates 55-27, yet lost the Series 4-3. Yet NY's P-record was 5.49-1.51.

The team OPS for New York was .911 (Mantle led the Yankees with a 1.135 OPS); the Pirates OPS was .656.


Mick's OPS was actually 1.345 (.400/.545/.800), .291 above Richardson's. Mantle also holds 2nd place for WS RBIs with 11, same year. Bobby did have a grand slam, 6-RBI game, and 2-triple game, all of which obviously swayed the voters.
   18. Rich Rifkin Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:41 PM (#3376355)
#17 -- my bad on No. 7. (I must have been drinking from his water bottle.)
   19. Rich Rifkin Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:46 PM (#3376363)
#16 -- I agree. And the other thing which seems to win MVPs is a couple or three home runs in a Series. In that 2nd basemen, Utley notwithstanding, tend to hit fewer home runs as a rule than any other position, it's more understandable why none has been handed that award since B-Rich. (However, Bucky Dent, 1978, .417 Avg, no home runs, was the WS MVP, so there is always hope for the David Eckstein-types.)
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:54 PM (#3376374)
Utley has been spectacular, but if his play only leads to two wins, how valuable could it have been?


Very valuable because they could have been swept without it.


Agreed. Value is value. The idea that Utley's contributions would have been more valuable if his teammates had performed better makes absolutely no sense.

The MVP is an individual award. How your teammates perform by your side shouldn't be a factor in the voting.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: November 03, 2009 at 05:56 PM (#3376384)
However, Bucky Dent, 1978, .417 Avg, no home runs, was the WS MVP, so there is always hope for the David Eckstein-types.


Funny, I'd think David Eckstein's WS MVP was a source of greater hope for the David Eckstein types.
   22. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 03, 2009 at 06:06 PM (#3376403)
FWIW, ESPN has a poll up with the options being Utley, Lee, Damon and Rivera. As for now:

Utley: 58%
Lee: 18%
Damon: 13%
Rivera: 11%

I wonder if a team down 3-2 heading into Game 6 has ever had more than 75% of the MVP vote before.

Also, Utley is winning every state (even NY) except Arkansas. Cliff Lee must have a big family.
   23. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: November 03, 2009 at 06:09 PM (#3376409)
I wonder if a team down 3-2 heading into Game 6 has ever had almost 70% of the MVP vote before.

You may want to check your math there, RB.
   24. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 03, 2009 at 06:18 PM (#3376422)
You may want to check your math there, RB.
Actually, I want to check not inexplicably adding Rivera's total to Utley's.
   25. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: November 03, 2009 at 06:19 PM (#3376424)
Also, Utley is winning every state (even NY) except Arkansas. Cliff Lee must have a big family.


After last night he's probably captured the state's most populous county, Pulaski, which of course produced AJ Burnett.
   26. Rich Rifkin Posted: November 03, 2009 at 06:26 PM (#3376440)
Arguably, Casimir Pulaski was the greatest Polish general fighting for the American cause in the Revolutionary war of any of our great Polish generals, especially among those who spoke almost no English, but could lead soldiers on horseback.
   27. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 03, 2009 at 06:32 PM (#3376450)
Arguably, Casimir Pulaski was the greatest Polish general fighting for the American cause in the Revolutionary war of any of our great Polish generals, especially among those who spoke almost no English, but could lead soldiers on horseback.


I didn't expect to read that post, and I really didn't expect it to make any sense in context. Bravo, Rich.
   28. Jeff K. Posted: November 03, 2009 at 06:33 PM (#3376452)
CC Sabathia *is* the state's most populous county.
   29. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: November 03, 2009 at 06:35 PM (#3376455)
Arguably, Casimir Pulaski was the greatest Polish general fighting for the American cause in the Revolutionary war of any of our great Polish generals, especially among those who spoke almost no English, but could lead soldiers on horseback.


Only because his name is easier to pronounce than Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko
   30. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 03, 2009 at 06:36 PM (#3376457)
And here I was going to make a joke about Switzerland extraditing him to America.
   31. Jeff K. Posted: November 03, 2009 at 06:38 PM (#3376460)
Polish generals

General Clean? It does have a catchy "postmodern branding" feel to it.
   32. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: November 03, 2009 at 06:48 PM (#3376473)
Nobody who has apparent problems with the directions on the tube of hair gel should be rewarded with a series MVP.

Seriously. It's so bad that even Pat Riley called him up the other night and told him to ease up a little.
   33. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 03, 2009 at 08:20 PM (#3376557)
Ko?ciuszko
Hey, he got a bridge named after him. Don't be greedy.
   34. SoSH U at work Posted: November 03, 2009 at 08:32 PM (#3376578)
Hey, he got a bridge named after him. Don't be greedy.


They've got nearby Indiana counties named after them, with only a county named after Steamboat Bobby in between them.
   35. God Posted: November 03, 2009 at 08:32 PM (#3376579)
So, which are the most ludicrous World Series MVPs ever? Most of the time the winner seems to be somewhat deserving. The two that stick out in my mind are Livan in '97 (probably should have been Moises Alou) and Manny in '04 (should have been Bellhorn). I remember there was one article after the '04 series which pointed out that Manny, in terms of some WPA-type stat, was actually the LEAST valuable player in the whole '04 series. He was very much "Manny Being Manny" in the outfield for those four games too; I remember some terrible plays out there.
   36. Swoboda is freedom Posted: November 03, 2009 at 08:49 PM (#3376594)
Ko?ciuszko
Hey, he got a bridge named after him. Don't be greedy.


But Polaski has a skyway named after him.
   37. Charlie O Posted: November 03, 2009 at 09:08 PM (#3376615)
Does anyone else love Matsui's hair? I had some English friends that referred to the style as "curtains."

I call it "Shemp."
   38. God Posted: November 03, 2009 at 09:14 PM (#3376626)
Pulaski also has Sufjan Stevens's best song named after him. That evens the scales a bit.
   39. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 03, 2009 at 09:19 PM (#3376631)
1960 is not relevant to the discussion, frankly, because the MVP votes had to be in to the pressbox prior to the start of the 8th inning - and at the time the Yankees were leading 7-4 and no one expected the Pirates to come back and win, let alone the way that it actually happened. Had 1960 occurred with the way that the voting is handled now there is no question Mazeroski would have been the MVP. Anf there is little question that the MVP in 2009 will come from the winning team.

-- MWE
   40. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: November 03, 2009 at 09:20 PM (#3376632)
Manny in '04 (should have been Bellhorn). I remember there was one article after the '04 series which pointed out that Manny, in terms of some WPA-type stat, was actually the LEAST valuable player in the whole '04 series. He was very much "Manny Being Manny" in the outfield for those four games too; I remember some terrible plays out there.

Got that damn right. Bellhorn bailed Manny out in Game 1 but Manny gets the MVP because of a pretty batting average.
   41. Esoteric Posted: November 03, 2009 at 09:27 PM (#3376641)
God, I have no idea who you are but I want your username.
   42. Lassus Posted: November 03, 2009 at 09:31 PM (#3376645)
A-Rod knocks in three runs with, say, a homer in tonight's game, I think even with his first two games he gets the MVP, right or not.

Arguably, Casimir Pulaski was the greatest Polish general fighting for the American cause in the Revolutionary war of any of our great Polish generals, especially among those who spoke almost no English, but could lead soldiers on horseback.

And who amongst us here was TODAY on the Pulaski Memorial Highway? Hmmm? Any guesses? Actually, Pulaski is loved by highway departments everywhere. I was on ONE of those highways today, and I've been on the NJ skyway as well. They aren't close to each other.
   43. Esoteric Posted: November 03, 2009 at 09:33 PM (#3376651)
1960 is not relevant to the discussion, frankly, because the MVP votes had to be in to the pressbox prior to the start of the 8th inning - and at the time the Yankees were leading 7-4 and no one expected the Pirates to come back and win, let alone the way that it actually happened. Had 1960 occurred with the way that the voting is handled now there is no question Mazeroski would have been the MVP. Anf there is little question that the MVP in 2009 will come from the winning team.
Mike, don't you think that whether Richardson's losing-team MVP happened by accident or not, that the precedent has nevertheless been set? The modern sportswriters who will be voting on this year's MVP have no idea that Richardson only one because of a flukey procedural issue -- all they know is that he won from a losing team, and that therefore an honorable precedent exists for giving the MVP to Utley even if the Phils lose.

I agree that it's unlikely that the MVP will come from the losing team this year (or any year), but just like today's Virginia GOP tidal wave election, we might actually have the perfect storm of elements coming together to make it happen: stunning performance by one player who singlehandedly dragged his team to victory in both their wins so far, a record-tying (maybe record-breaking) home run tally, and no real standouts on the other side. I can see it happening.
   44. God Posted: November 03, 2009 at 09:37 PM (#3376656)
the MVP votes had to be in to the pressbox prior to the start of the 8th inning - and at the time the Yankees were leading 7-4 and no one expected the Pirates to come back and win, let alone the way that it actually happened.

The same thing happened during 1975 Game 6 -- Rawly Eastwick was voted WS MVP. Of course, in that case they had another 24 hours to re-vote.
   45. God Posted: November 03, 2009 at 09:38 PM (#3376661)
stunning performance by one player who singlehandedly dragged his team to victory in both their wins so far

Obviously somebody forgot that FOX awarded Cliff Lee the Player of the Game last night!
   46. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 03, 2009 at 09:46 PM (#3376669)
Isn't part of the Legend of Game 6 that the scoreboard not only congratulated the Red Sox, but also flashed its congrats to Bruce Hurst, who had been voted MVP?
   47. walt williams bobblehead Posted: November 03, 2009 at 09:53 PM (#3376679)
Isn't part of the Legend of Game 6 that the scoreboard not only congratulated the Red Sox, but also flashed its congrats to Bruce Hurst, who had been voted MVP?

Yes, but like the rest of "Game 6", its only a legend.
   48. Don Malcolm Posted: November 03, 2009 at 10:02 PM (#3376687)
<u>Facts surely available elsewhere but not yet posted in this thread</u>:
--1960 Yankees outhomered the 1960 Pirates 10-4 in the WS, but still lost.

--2009 Phils have outhomered the 2009 Yankees 10-5 thus far.

--Utley has hit as many HRs as the Yankees have in the WS so far.
   49. God Posted: November 03, 2009 at 10:11 PM (#3376698)
Yes, but like the rest of "Game 6", its only a legend.

It was reported by Sports Illustrated in their issue of November 3, 1986. If it's a legend, it's one that was fabricated right away.

I see no reason to think it didn't really happen.
   50. walt williams bobblehead Posted: November 03, 2009 at 10:23 PM (#3376711)
It was reported by Sports Illustrated in their issue of November 3, 1986.

It's like that Sid Finch thing.
   51. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 03, 2009 at 10:46 PM (#3376731)
And who amongst us here was TODAY on the Pulaski Memorial Highway? Hmmm? Any guesses?


Not me, but I did crawl under it on the Borman.
   52. Sit down, Sleepy has lots of stats Posted: November 03, 2009 at 10:48 PM (#3376735)
Funny, I'd think David Eckstein's WS MVP was a source of greater hope for the David Eckstein types.


Sadly, there is no hope for the Scott Rolen types.
   53. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: November 03, 2009 at 11:08 PM (#3376751)
One way to look at this is to look at series WPA, i.e. the impact of a player's actions on the odds of his team winning the Series. (This is just WPA weighted by the impact on each game as far as the Series goes.) Utley doesn't actually fare very well by this metric, as his GIDP to end the 8th in game 2 is a huge negative. This metric really is "value" in the sense that it's a measure of how much a player contributed over an average player to his team's chances of winning. Here are the leaders by this metric:

Cliff Lee: 9.03%
Alex Rodriguez: 6.44%
Pedro Feliz: 6.10%
Johnny Damon: 5.79%
Hideki Matsui: 4.34%
....
Ryan Howard: -4.09%
Raul Ibanez: -4.49%
Robinson Cano: -6.13%
Cole Hamels: -6.56%
Brad Lidge: -8.51%

This metric is a bit unfair to game 3-5 starting pitchers, since they are being docked for their hitting where they get compared to an average hitter, and it doesn't take defense into account, but with those standard WPA caveats, these are the results. Obviously these are heavily weighted by individual events (Feliz's homer off Chamberlain being the most obvious outlier) but you could certainly argue that this is appropriate.
   54. Juan V Posted: November 03, 2009 at 11:20 PM (#3376758)
Where did you find series WPA?
   55. sunnyday2 Posted: November 03, 2009 at 11:24 PM (#3376763)
Who is Bobby Richardson, you ask?


You're kidding, right?
   56. Juan V Posted: November 03, 2009 at 11:29 PM (#3376767)
And what the hell is going on with Richardson's left ear in that pic?
   57. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: November 03, 2009 at 11:31 PM (#3376769)
I just calculated it by hand from the game-by-game WPA on fangraphs.
   58. sunnyday2 Posted: November 03, 2009 at 11:43 PM (#3376774)
Pulaski also has Sufjan Stevens's best song named after him.


C'mon Feel the Illinoise is named after Casimir Pulaski?
   59. Jeff K. Posted: November 04, 2009 at 12:00 AM (#3376792)
AS, did you do a smell test on that method? Do the numbers add up to something approaching what the actual odds should be of the team winning the series at this moment? I'm curious.
   60. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: November 04, 2009 at 12:04 AM (#3376794)
Oops, good catch. My numbers are all off by a factor of 2. They are relatively correct, but Cliff Lee has added 18% to the chances of the Phillies winning the series, not 9%. (With this, the numbers in my spreadsheet (which exist for all players) do add up to 25% SWPA for the Yankees and -25% SWPA for the Phils, in line with NY's current 75% chance of winning the Series.)
   61. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 04, 2009 at 12:52 AM (#3376844)
Richardson is the only second baseman to win the WS MVP? Knock me down with a feather and call me Mother Goose. I had zero idea.

Free Brian Doyle!
   62. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: November 04, 2009 at 05:44 AM (#3376995)
A-Rod knocks in three runs with, say, a homer in tonight's game, I think even with his first two games he gets the MVP, right or not


Wasn't Reggie pretty awful the few games of the 1977 WS before going nuts?

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
aleskel
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT - NBA Thread, Start of the 2019-2020 Season
(893 - 12:33am, Nov 17)
Last: Mike A

NewsblogOT - November* 2019 College Football thread
(314 - 12:21am, Nov 17)
Last: Mike A

NewsblogThe Astros stole signs electronically in 2017 | The Athletic (paywall)
(188 - 12:11am, Nov 17)
Last: QLE

NewsblogEverything to Know About MLB's New Rules in 2020
(14 - 11:29pm, Nov 16)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogBrewers' Christian Yelich tweets harshly at Yu Darvish over accusation
(8 - 11:26pm, Nov 16)
Last: Mayor Blomberg

Sox TherapyJ.D. Martinez's Qualified Decision
(59 - 11:08pm, Nov 16)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogThe Braves spent $40M on a reliever. Is that allowed?
(76 - 11:01pm, Nov 16)
Last: Greg Pope

NewsblogOT - 2019 NFL thread
(128 - 10:58pm, Nov 16)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogDAVIDOFF: Yankees facing a new Clint Frazier trade value reality
(18 - 6:30pm, Nov 16)
Last: Brian

NewsblogTim Tebow's baseball season is over due to July hand injury
(38 - 4:25pm, Nov 16)
Last: My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected

NewsblogOT- Soccer Thread- October 2019
(478 - 4:12pm, Nov 16)
Last: AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther

NewsblogJudge says MASN should pay Nats based on MLB panel decision
(2 - 3:57pm, Nov 16)
Last: Swoboda is freedom

NewsblogWhat Mets told Carlos Beltran regarding sign-stealing scandal
(3 - 3:49pm, Nov 16)
Last: KronicFatigue

NewsblogRequiem for a LOOGY: The problem with baseball’s latest pace-of-play solution
(15 - 1:43pm, Nov 16)
Last: Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride

NewsblogHere's the best athlete in all 30 farm systems
(7 - 1:10pm, Nov 16)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

Page rendered in 0.4663 seconds
48 querie(s) executed