Tuesday, November 18, 2008

AL MVP - Who Should Win, Who Should Not

When you look at MVP, a lot of people have ridiculous ideas of what makes a person the most valuable player. Some use HRs and RBIs as the measure, others say it is whether or not the person made the playoffs with the team, most people just look at who they remember as being the best player they saw play. I am telling you that there are specific stats we should use, and thankfully enough people voted for Pujols that I didnt have to write this post for him.

Here are the ways I look at it, mostly through stats created for the very reason of determining a player's value to their team, like WARP and VORP, or Wins Over Replacement Player (Pitchers and Batters) and Value Over Replacement Player (just hitters). So, if we have a stat that determines it, why not use it as a "qualifyer" at least.

Here are the VORP leaders in the AL:

1. AROD: 62.4
2. Sizemore: 60.7
3. Pedroia 59.8
4. Mauer 57.1
5. Bradley 56.2
(FYI - PUJOLS: 98.7, or, in other words, completely fucking ridiculous)

Here are the WARP1 Leaders (pitchers rarely win MVP):

1. Cliff Lee 10.4
2. Mariano Rivera 10.3
3. Roy Halladay 9.8
4. Dustin Pedroia 9.8
5. Joe Mauer 9.6

Now, the formula factors in a ton of different things that determine value, and I could lay it out, but really it wouldnt make sense to anyone without a statistics background. But, regardless, the higher the better. The higher the number, the higher value the player has in their 2008 statistics. Personally, that list is pretty good. Lets delve a little deeper with Win Shares, or, the number of times a player directly factored into a win for their team (paraphrase). Here are the 2008 leaders:

1. Mauer 31
2. Morneau 29
3. Youkilis 29
4. Sizemore 28
5. Hamilton 27

So again, both Mauer and Sizemore are back in it, I agree with that. How about some more basic categories like OBP, AVG and SLG? Here are the leaders in those:


1. Bradley .436
2. Mauer .413
3. Markakis .409


1. Mauer .328
2. Pedroia .326


1. ARod .573
2. Quentin .571
3. Youkilis .569


1. Bradley .999
2. ARod .965
3. Quentin .965

Ok, those all seem about right, and funny enough, Pujols is at or near the top in every category we have done so far. Yet, I have yet to see any of the front runners for the AL have a considerable lead in any race based on stats that matter. Its basically a dead heat in terms of importance within the league. However, I dont see A-rod talked about in any discussions for MVP which is pretty crazy considering that his stats say otherwise. Its so shocking here, that no one seems to realize that the the MVP is not about making the playoffs (a team acheivement), hitting the most HRs (an acheivement that rarely equates anywhere else in valuablity), or even the most RBIs (if you hit .500, but there is no one on base, RBIs would be a bad stat to judge your worth). Its more about who is the most valuable PLAYER based on your production and value over another player on the team and in the league.

Do I think Mauer, my favorite player, will win? No. Should he win? Maybe. It comes down to the fact that Pedroia will win because the voters dont know how to correctly judge a player. Look at how many voted 1st place for Ryan Howard - they are complete ASSHATS. Ill tell you, I wish FJM were still around because my stat knowledge is so minimal that I can only say so much, they say it much better than I could. Pedroia is a top candidate, dont get me wrong, but they make the decision for the wrong reason. A hitter is not about how many HRs or RBIs he can produce, its about factoring into a winning situation the most times, being a good defender, and putting up mammoth hitting stats in ones that matter.

Why cant Baseball Prospectus choose who wins the award?

UPDATE (Or further proof that the voters are complete douches):



  1. Being a recent convert to your line of thinking on this, I appreciate your commentary here. My comprehension of statistical analysis needs work, but I'm learning. And the more I learn, the more it makes sense. A lot more sense than how many balls someone can send over a walll.

  2. Listen, the only thing I want is for the voting to be better than the all star balloting. Right now, they are at the same level (sad), as the writers care more about stupid unmeasurable and unprovable intangibles and whether or not they "get a feeling" or "are friends with" the player (in woody paige's case.

  3. I'm sure that it was one of the Tampa Bay writers who voted for Bartlett - they voted him team MVP this year.

    I don't think that Pedroia was the best choice for MVP this year, but he won it for two reasons: there weren't any overwhelmingly strong choices, and the media's bias towards favoring Boston. Actually, those are the same reasons why he won Rookie of the Year last year, too...

  4. They may have voted him team MVP, but they are also, how you say, complete retards for doing so.

  5. Have you read this, Gellman?


    Rob Neyer agrees with you 100%. Bias runs deep for one of the biggest bandwagon teams in the past century.

  6. Good catch there. Im glad he actually used some of the stats that try to be closer to measuring a player's actual worth.

    It comes down to this, if mauer hit 10 more home runs, we wouldnt be having this conversation.

  7. i read that neyer piece and totally agree that mauer was more valuable to the twins than morneau. to use neyer's words, if joe mauer were never born, i don't see the twins competing like they did this year.

    i'm just glad garvey got his mvp before people starting thinking about this sort of thing.

  8. I think Miguel Cabrera should have won it. The Tigers would have finished in last without him...oh wait, they did finish in last. What the hell!