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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Braves’ Freeman wins NL MVP, White Sox slugger Abreu gets AL

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman easily won the NL MVP award Thursday, topping off a trying year that saw him become so ill with COVID-19 he prayed “please don’t take me.”

Chicago White Sox slugger José Abreu earned the AL MVP, a reward for powering his team back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Freeman got 28 of the 30 first-place ballots in voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts got the other two firsts to finish second and San Diego third baseman Manny Machado was third.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 12, 2020 at 07:10 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mvp

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   1. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 13, 2020 at 04:10 AM (#5988558)
Congrats to both of the winners. I am surprised by the Freeman selection even though he had a great season. Maybe I just wasn't paying close enough attention, but I assumed Mookie had this one in the bag. At least I would have expected the vote to be closer.
   2. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: November 13, 2020 at 11:40 AM (#5988591)
Not a surprise to me. Betts had a slight lead in bWAR, but Freeman was top-3 in every meaningful category, played every game, and had huge leads in OPS and OPS+.
   3. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: November 13, 2020 at 03:16 PM (#5988637)
I was surprised that Betts didn't win it, but I'll admit that Betts' WAR was defense heavy, which tends to carry less weight for these awards. He also might have been dinged slightly for having already won one before, as writers like to give awards to new people.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: November 13, 2020 at 04:34 PM (#5988648)
I was surprised too but then looked up Freeman's stats: 341/462/640. I think the voters had a point. :-) And 341 in a 246 league, how refreshing is that?
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: November 13, 2020 at 06:48 PM (#5988664)
Freddie also led the way in fWAR.
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 13, 2020 at 07:11 PM (#5988670)
And in ffWAR.
   7. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 13, 2020 at 07:36 PM (#5988673)
I find myself wondering how many times Abreu has put together 60 games like this before.
   8. asinwreck Posted: November 13, 2020 at 09:15 PM (#5988686)
Well, that series against the Cubs is safely his career peak week.
   9. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 13, 2020 at 09:27 PM (#5988687)
Betts was the best player of the 2020 season, but Freeman had more positive marginal impact on his team.
   10. AndrewJ Posted: November 13, 2020 at 09:39 PM (#5988689)
Mike Trout was fifth in the AL voting -- his worst performance. Nine full seasons in the bigs, nine top-5 finishes. Willie Mays finished in the top 5 of the NL voting nine times... in 22 seasons.
   11. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: November 13, 2020 at 10:44 PM (#5988692)
Willie Mays finished in the top 5 of the NL voting nine times... in 22 seasons


In a smaller league.

Although, to be fair, Willie did get robbed a few times in there.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: November 13, 2020 at 11:55 PM (#5988700)
Yeah, pretty much any season Willie's WAR dropped below 9, he finished outside of the top 5. Topping the absurdity, in 1964 he had 11 WAR -- and finished 6th. The next highest WARs that year were Dick Allen (8.8) and Santo (8.9). Fairly enough, those two finished 7th and 8th. Clemente had the 5th-highest WARpos and finished 10th. It wasn't a sparkling year for NL MVP voters.

Over in the AL, Brooks barely led in WARpos and took the MVP. Dean Chance was the overall leader but did take the CYA and finished 6th here so we'll forgive them that. Brooks (8.1) was barely ahead of Fregosi (7.9) and Ron Hansen (7.7) who finished 13th and 16th.

Hansen is one of those quite good players I had never heard of before b-r. He missed over 1.5 seasons (injury, military service?) but from 60-67 he had 23 WAR as a nearly 4 WAR shortstop thanks to some very big TZ/Rfield numbers but also a solid 95 OPS+ for a SS.
   13. kwarren Posted: November 14, 2020 at 12:42 AM (#5988703)
Fangraphs WAR for 2020:

AL:

J. Ramirez 3.4
Bieber 3.2
Rendon 2.7
Abreu 2.6
Trout 2.6
LeMahieu 2.5


NL:

Freeman 3.4
Betts 3.0
Darvish 3.0
Tatis 2.9
T. Turner 2.7
Yaztremski 2.7
Machado 2.6
deGrom 2.6
Ozuna 2.5
Bauer 2.5
Story 2.5

Ramirez & Freeman were 13.3 % better than any other position player in MLB.
   14. chisoxcollector Posted: November 14, 2020 at 12:57 AM (#5988704)
Using BREF's WAR, Abreu led all AL position players with 2.8 (tied with LeMahieu). Jose Ramirez had 2.2. If a pitcher (Bieber had 3.3 BWAR) wasn't going to win the MVP, Abreu was a perfectly reasonable choice.
   15. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: November 14, 2020 at 10:42 AM (#5988710)
Seeing a Yastrzemski on the leader boards is messing with my head. And seeing both a Yastrzemski and a Tatis on the leaderboards is causing me some real temporal discomfort.
   16. Ron J Posted: November 14, 2020 at 10:50 AM (#5988711)
#12 Hansen was derailed by chronic back problems. Dating back to the late 50s if I recall correctly. I think he missed a year in the minors.

Checks, yeah turns out his missed 1957 wasn't military service (as I had always assumed) it was a ruptured disc in his back.

I didn't start following baseball until he was just hanging on, but he featured in a lot of what ifs in the late 60s. Huge for a SS of his day ( 6'3" 200 pounds) and there was a lot of talk about how good his footwork was.

SABR biography
   17. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 14, 2020 at 11:33 AM (#5988715)
The fact that fWAR and bWAR can be so far apart on a position player (Ramirez) makes me want to take both systems with a big grain of salt. I get that the pitching WARs will be different, since they are effectively measuring different things, but how are the position player WARs so far off? Is it defense, park factors, ???
   18. AndrewJ Posted: November 14, 2020 at 03:30 PM (#5988730)
Although, to be fair, Willie did get robbed a few times in there.

In hindsight, Willie absolutely deserved the 1962 MVP. Maury Wills got all the attention with 100+ stolen bases, but Mays had a much better season and the Giants did win the pennant.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: November 14, 2020 at 04:57 PM (#5988735)
#17: C'mon, they're both right there on the web. I'm as big a fan of laziness as a lazy man can be but you coulda found the answer to that question.

Anyway, they both give him +20 with the bat. FG gives him an extra run on the bases, 5-6 extra runs on defense ... and 3 extra runs for league which is curious given the AL and NL finished dead-even this year and the NL had the edge last year. So 9 extra RAR then FG has a more generous conversion of RAR to WAR this year which is generally about adjustments for context (high/low scoring leagues). FWIW, Statcast agrees with FG on defense.

On the league thing, maybe FG actually did split E/C/W this year and the ALC beat up on the NLC so Ramirez was in the tougher division (anybody know). Well, yes and no as Anthony Rizzo also got +3 this year. Corey Seager and Anthony Rendon got +1 while Brett Gardner got -1. So it seems they went "conference by conference" and somehow decided the Central was the toughest conference by a lot. I've got to question that methodology.

But I just have to concede I don't know how FG does their league adjustment -- Ramirez has been +2-3 for the last several years; but Corey Seager has been positive (only slightly) every year too. How can both leagues be positive? Maybe FG adjusts for division and league?

Anyway three sources of variation -- defense, league context, scoring context -- all working positively for Ramirez at FG this year.
   20. puck Posted: November 14, 2020 at 07:56 PM (#5988757)
Wow, Jose Ramirez is signed through 2023, and for not much money.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: November 14, 2020 at 10:15 PM (#5988790)
It's worked out to be a great contract for the team. It was signed when he had less than 2.5 years service time with just one good full season under his belt. His offense exploded that 2017 season so if they had waited another year, it would have been a good bit more. It bought out the first year of FA (2021) and the two option years will probably return big value. I don't think anybody saw that big breakout coming but that's the beauty of the arb buyout -- even if he settled in as a 2-3 WAR 2B/3B, that's solid value and not much downside risk. And assuming both options are exercised, he'll make $48 M which he and his family can probably scrape by on and, while note ideal, he'll still be turning just 31 when he goes FA. He's been over 5 WAR per 650 which is the pace that Rendon had before signing his monster deal at age 30 so Ramirez could still be looking at a big payday.

These deals are almost always good for the team and (my impression) best if they do it when they have less than 2 years service time. And in that situation, it's a huge risk for the player not to take it. Ramirez was possibly a little different -- he just had to make it through 2017 healthy and effective to get his first arb award which, after the breakout, would have been pretty nice. But still not $26 M guaranteed and $48 M potential so who can blalme him. As it's worked out, he's probably cost himself around $8-10 M already although if you were gonna sell off an FA year, turns out 2021 is the one you'd want to sell.
   22. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 15, 2020 at 01:19 AM (#5988803)
Mike Trout was fifth in the AL voting -- his worst performance. Nine full seasons in the bigs, nine top-5 finishes. Willie Mays finished in the top 5 of the NL voting nine times... in 22 seasons.


Was it Bill James who once observed that the very best players will be the best player in their league over and over, far more times than they win the MVP? I think Mays and Trout (and Ruth and Mantle, etc.) bear that out, and show that it's one of the few trends that has continued from Ruth's time to today.
   23. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 15, 2020 at 06:51 AM (#5988805)
#17: C'mon, they're both right there on the web. I'm as big a fan of laziness as a lazy man can be but you coulda found the answer to that question.

Dude, I was posting on my phone after a 3-hour drive. Give me a break, especially since your answer still doesn’t change my view that you have to take both metrics with a big grain of salt, especially in a short season like this one.
   24. Ron J Posted: November 15, 2020 at 07:20 AM (#5988808)
#23 Of course you do. The notion that WAR has first digit precision is absurd. The point you're making about two ways of computing WAR giving noticeably different results just reinforces this.
   25. Mefisto Posted: November 15, 2020 at 11:29 AM (#5988813)
@11,18: Mays won the Hall of Merit NL MMP for position players 9 times.
   26. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: November 15, 2020 at 02:42 PM (#5988840)
Seeing a Yastrzemski on the leader boards is messing with my head. And seeing both a Yastrzemski and a Tatis on the leaderboards is causing me some real temporal discomfort.

I remember when Mike Yastrzemski was in the Orioles minor leagues & I was worried he retire at the AAA level & never reach the majors. Once he got in the Giants system, Yastrzemski greatly improved & it was great to see him draw some down ballot MVP support. I always wondered if the Giants fixed a hole in his swing or something

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