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— Where BTF's Members Investigate the Grand Old Game
Monday, December 03, 2001
Baseball Primer’s 2001 American League MVP Award
The MVP is debated all the time. Often the MVP is a clear choice. Most of the time there is a good pick along with some other mentionables. From time to time, there will be no right answer ? or many right answers, depending on whom you ask. The 2001 AL MVP will be one of the races that falls into the latter category.??
Among the Primer voters, the top choice was clear ? Jason Giambi won handily, getting 8 of 11 first place votes. In a submission reminiscent of 1941, Giambi was left off one voter?s ballot entirely. The voter swears it was an oversight, but I think it is more deeply rooted in his passion for Doug Mientkewicz. Three players got first place votes: Giambi, Alex Rodriguez and Bret Boone.??
Giambi?s season was marvelous. He was the best hitter not named Barry Bonds. Giambi hit .?? 342/.?? 477/.?? 660, leading the league in slugging and on-base percentage. He did that while playing in one of the league?s toughest hitting parks. He also outpaced other first basemen at the same rate that Alex Rodriguez outpaced the other shortstops. Giambi?s offense was that dominant. Practically every measure of players has Giambi at the top of the list, and the Primer contingent concurred. There is no defensive component to most rankings, outside of position comparisons on offense. Giambi has his detractors for his defensive work, but this season, he was solid with the glove, and in the top two or three in the AL at first base.
Alex Rodriguez received two first place votes. He posted offensive offensive numbers at shortstop. He dominated his position again. ARod finished second in most offensive rankings, about 10 runs behind Giambi (adjusted for position). Rodriguez signed a huge contract and came through on his end of the bargain. He also played an outstanding shortstop. ARod, in my estimation, is underrated. How that can be when he is considered one of the top two or three players in baseball is based mostly in just how much better he is than his peers. Rodriguez is a great hitter. He?s top five in the AL without positional adjustments. His production as a shortstop is unheard of. He has already posted three of the top eight seasons for a shortstop ever. On top of that dominance, Rodriguez is an excellent fielder at the most difficult position. When a shortstop hits as well as a first baseman and plays stellar defense, he?s the MVP ? usually.
Bret Boone has really gotten the shaft in Seattle. His excellent season was oft recognized, but Ichiro Suzuki?s press overshadowed his MVP candidacy. Suzuki had a good season, and garnered a few votes, but Boone turned in a season that was incredible. Boone?s production from the second base position was one of the top three seasons in the league. Boone was the MVP of the Mariners? incredible season. It?s definitely a function of alien possession, but Boone deserves recognition for an awesome season.??
Ichiro finished 8th on our ballots, and third on the Mariners? team.
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