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Friday, August 25, 2023

Does Shohei Ohtani’s injury open the door for a different AL MVP? Seven more contenders for the 2023 award

Marcus Semien, Rangers: He might be the best chance here with the gaudy WAR showing while playing every day for what has been one of the best teams in the league this season, especially with that team being such a pleasant surprise. But are you moved by his .279/.349/.463 slash that’s good for a 120 OPS+? How about 31 doubles, four triples, 19 homers, 79 RBI, 96 runs and 13 steals? Great numbers, but we’re talking about MVP over Ohtani’s output.

Corey Seager, Rangers: He’s hitting a robust .343/.411/.651 (184 OPS+) and that’s absolutely an MVP slash line. Of course, he’s not even qualified for the batting title. Even if he plays every single game the rest of the way, he’ll finish with 119 games. That’s short of Ohtani. Seager would have to keep up this ridiculous pace and not miss any games and still probably would be well short of Ohtani in terms of individual value. If the argument against Ohtani is games played, he’d still have more. If it’s value to the team during a pennant race, Semien’s been around all year for the Rangers. I’m just not seeing it.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2023 at 05:25 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mvp, shohei ohtani

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: August 25, 2023 at 05:45 PM (#6139552)
Ohtani will still be batting right? If so then (surprise!) the answer to the headline question is no. If he is done for the year then I'd want to take a closer look.
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 25, 2023 at 07:28 PM (#6139561)
There’s also the inconsistently applied ‘how valuable are you if your team doesn’t make the playoffs’ factor, but as long as Ohtani leads the league in WAR he should be good. He’s way ahead, with a seemingly insurmountable lead, and he’s still batting.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: August 25, 2023 at 11:17 PM (#6139570)
Taking the question semi-seriously ...

WARpos is currently Seager 5.8, Semien 5.8, Ohtani 5.7, Franco 5.5 and Robert 4.8. Seager has missed 40 games, the less said about Franco the batter (and not likely to add a lot of WAR this year unless I missed some news) and Robert's team is even more woeful than the Angels. If you wanted to vote Seager on the premise of "OMG, 7.5 WAR in just 120 games!" you'd vote for "OMGer, 9.5 WAR in just 120 games!" Ohtani.

So I don't see how anybody but Semien can give him a run. But Semien's not doing anything amazing offensively, just a 121 OPS+. Maybe if he goes nuts, makes it to 9 WAR and Chippers the Rangers to the division title, he'll have a shot.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: August 25, 2023 at 11:42 PM (#6139573)
Taking the question semi-seriously ...

"you lost me at 'hello'"


sometimes in MVP voting you have Mr. Stats vs Mr. Intangibles/Pizzazz/Buzz etc.

and sometimes - like AL 2023, they both are the same guy.

this smells to high heaven like an editor assigned a story for clicks without even considering, well, reality.

but everybody has to eat, so you file the story and - with the proper social media goosing, it gets enough clicks before readers realize the answer is "HELL NO."

btw, the degree to which 'clicks' on stories can be monitored is borderline terrifying.

even 5 or 6 years ago, the tech was there not only to know the exact average length of time spent in the post, but also where they most often exited.

take a crime story, and tradition has you as a news reporter/editor deciding that the sheriff's office comment belongs in the 7th or 8th (para)graph.

but the quote is lame: "The Sheriff's Office issued a statement vowing to spare no amount of effort or expense to bring the guilty party or parties to justice."

for the casual peruser, that's their cue to move on.

so as an experiment - even if not optimal from a journalistic standpoint - you move it down 5 paragraphs.

8 hours later, you notice that engagement time - aka revenue relevance - is up 10-15 pct, because in each case the reader kept going in mild curiosity about whether law enforcement will suggest they have a lead, etc.

and in no case in 2023, pretty much, is the editorial decision going to be, "the premise wasn't terrible, but after some research it's obvious that Ohtani probably should be unanimous MVP - so no point in posting anything."

that sort of discussion took place internally as little as 15 or 20 years ago.
   5. Booey Posted: August 25, 2023 at 11:46 PM (#6139574)
Ohtani has it locked up. Even if he was completely shut down for the rest of the season, the only other players in the AL having dominant enough seasons to challenge him for the MVP - Seager and Judge - have missed even more games than he would have.

Now, if he played in the NL and was done for the season, maybe Acuna, Betts, Freeman, or Olson would enter the conversation (before being rejected. Ohtani would/should still win).
   6. bookbook Posted: August 26, 2023 at 03:33 PM (#6139601)
The race for #2 is interesting, but yeah, it’s hard to see a scenario where Ohtani doesn’t win it. (Especially if we’ve just seen his last pitching season for awhile!)
   7. bookbook Posted: August 26, 2023 at 06:06 PM (#6139624)
The competition is all sufficiently flawed that the two hottest players in the American League: Julio and Witt, Jr. have a real shot at that coveted #2 slot. As of this moment, I'd rather see Cory Seager than Semien.
   8. John Northey Posted: August 27, 2023 at 02:00 AM (#6139675)
Hard to imagine Ohtani not winning it unless voters go all 1987 on him (ie: Kyle Tucker leads in RBI's and is on a winner - gotta vote for him over a guy who doesn't play the field more than 20-30 times a year)

With any luck Ohtani will be over 10 bWAR before the year is out. He isn't the type to do a Derek Bell (Operation Shutdown), I fully expect him to hit the crap out of the ball the rest of the way then to walk away from the Angels even if they offer him a boatload of money especially after the GM claimed publicly that Ohtani refused to do an MRI. A good team would've insisted on doing a battery of tests on him (you don't risk your star's health). As I said in a different thread, look at the Jays who have been VERY healthy this year - they pull guys at the first sign of an issue and do tests right away. If rest is needed, they do it. Thus right now 0 hitters on the IL and only 2 minor pitchers (a reliever who was sucking, and a kid who hurt himself on his 2nd batter) and maybe a third after they pulled Swanson when he bent down a second time after throwing a pitch (the first just looked like a normal reaction to giving up a hard hit ball). You don't piss around with pitchers arms - they are too delicate.

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