MVP discussion

DMZ · November 18, 2008 at 3:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I’m tired every year of writing about how crazy the voting is, or how absurd the criteria used is. This year it’s been fine: Pedroia’s not so bad, and Pujols obviously is a great choice (I probably would have taken Sizemore, but that’s just me).

But I used to really care who got the awards, and now I can’t quite get worked up about them.

Still — congrats. And apologies for not having a several-thousand word dissertation this year.


15 Responses to “MVP discussion”

  1. JLP on November 18th, 2008 3:33 pm

    I’m going to spend the rest of the week attempting to sidestep all of the Boston homers. Congrats to Dustin, but, like you, DMZ, I take these awards with about as much salt as I can handle. They’re just not what they should be.

  2. galaxieboi on November 18th, 2008 3:44 pm

    Bilbo Pedroia won it? Seriously? Guh.

    Pujols should be a given nearly every year post-Bonds.

  3. galaxieboi on November 18th, 2008 3:56 pm

    I think Mauer would’ve gotten my vote, by the way.

  4. mkd on November 18th, 2008 4:02 pm

    The thing I’m sick of the most is the debate over what “MVP” means. Is it the best player? Do they have to come from a playoff team? What about a team that just misses? What about a mediocre team that would’ve been awful without a certain player? What stats are we allowed to count? HRs? Avg? VORP? OPS? OBP? Does defense count? What about pure-force-of-will? What about character? What about balahblahblahblah?

    Everyone has their own particular notion of what “MVP” means and every year they argue that their interpretation is obviously correct and anyone who disagrees with them is obviously an ass who hates baseball. It’s worse than stupid…it’s boring. When I was a kid I used to check the newspapers daily after the season ended in anticipation of the announcments- now I just pick up the info second hand from posts like Derek’s.

    I’m still hanging around, kinda, but the major postseason awards are close to achieving Gold Glove status.

  5. mkd on November 18th, 2008 4:05 pm


  6. NBarnes on November 18th, 2008 5:25 pm

    Speaking as a Boston homer, while I can live with Pedroia, I think he would have ended up, like, sixth on my ballot, behind Mauer, Sizemore, Rodriguez, Lee, and Halladay.

    Morneau at #2 is just offensive. I’m beginning to think that Mauer needs to just kill Morneau under cover of night to get the recognition he deserves.

    As far as the NL goes, Pujols is perfectly legitimate. I probably would have voted for Hanley Ramirez, but it’s not like Pujols is totally undeserving. And it helps make up for the time that he got totally jobbed by Howard. The which, by the way, some people think Howard should have done again. Howard wasn’t even the second best player on his own team. Baseball Musings has a comment thread about a Philadelphia sportswriter making asinine assertions about how Howard should have won, and the comment thread attached to that post has someone else making asinine assertions about how Howard should win it because Pujols’ team didn’t go to the playoffs and Utley shouldn’t win because, uh… er…. HEY, LOOK, RBIs!

  7. NBarnes on November 18th, 2008 5:27 pm

    Oh, and, I totally understand why DMZ and mkd are getting weary of the sturm-und-drang over the awards every year. I just like a good argument, or I would be joining them in their apathy.

  8. galaxieboi on November 18th, 2008 5:51 pm

    uh… er…. HEY, LOOK, RBIs!

    Maybe sports writers like shiny things?

  9. Greg Franklin on November 18th, 2008 5:52 pm

    Both Ichiro and Ibanez got a 10th-place MVP vote.

  10. msb on November 18th, 2008 9:08 pm

    who votes for the MVP from Seattle?

  11. Benne on November 18th, 2008 10:21 pm

    Pedroia…meh. It was inevitable that the hobbit would win. What’s really inexcusable about this year’s votes:

    1. Morneau getting more votes than Joe Maur…again. Seriously, what do the writers see in him that we don’t? Are they that oblivious to the concept of position scarcity?

    2. Grady Sizemore finishing 10th. If anyone tries to justify this by saying “well, his team didn’t make the playoffs” I’m going to smack him over the head with Cliff Lee’s Cy Young trophy.

    3. K-Rod getting any votes, at all. Somewhere, soneomne out there, who fancies himself an “expert” on baseball, geninuely believed that Francisco Rodriguez, a reasonably good but not spectacular reliever playing in the most overrated, most interchangeable role in all of sports, was the best player in the American League this year.

    I wish I could build the same apathy as Derek and just ignore the BBWAA, but every year they find new and creative ways to get my blood boiling.

  12. tres_arboles on November 19th, 2008 8:06 am

    Hey NBarnes, you like the arguments. Well here’s an argument.

    I’m mostly a lurker here, but as a Phils partisan living in Seattle (and trying to enjoy the Mariners), I like this blog a lot and I’ll jump in. If just to defend Ryan Howard against a comment like he “jobbed” somebody when he won the MVP previously.

    I appreciate the sentiment that the argument is “getting old.” What exactly does “Most Valuable” mean? With things going the way they are in the larger world, it seems like real trivial minutiae to hash it out year after year. But I disagree with NBarnes, and just the derision in his comment deserves an answer.

    Pujols has been a great and consistent player for a pretty ho-hum team, for a long time now. I’d have him on my team any day. But what did all his productivity mean to his team this year? And jobbed, previously? Puh-lease.

    Most fans can be excused for not following the Phils close enough to understand that the year Howard did win, he was the Phil’s most meaningfully productive player (ie not loading up on stats in clearly lost or won games).

    This year, I really wouldn’t have made an argument for Howard as league MVP. But, the suggestion that Howard wasn’t the even second best player on the Phillies is unwarranted; he’s the Phillies’ team MVP this year.

    Maybe I’m a bit too literal, but the MVP is about value to the team, not “best” on the team. And again, not having followed the Phillies’ year, most fans can be excused for not knowing more, but the Phils went through a stretch of ten games in the middle of this last season where they couldn’t buy a run. Noone was hitting. The Mets led the division and could have easily put it away.

    It was the turning point of the season to me, because toward the end of that 10 game stretch, Howard singlehandedly started winning games for that team, putting pressure on the Mets and lighting a spark for the Phils. That, combined with the pitching catching fire, carried the team until Utley, JRollins, Vic, and Werth came around. The back side of the rotation started carrying some water and the Phils started winning series.

    The rest of the season most fans are probably more familiar with. To me, that’s a pretty clear decription of “value.” As a lifelong athlete, my idea of MVP to a team is not the “Most Best” player as NBarnes comment suggests, but the guy that can help his team manufacture success when they need it most, even if it only happens in stretches, during seasons when other statistical indexes would seem to indicate a “down year.” And even then, I don’t know a team in the league that wouldn’t suffer some of his strikeouts for his productivity and team guy-ness.


  13. NBarnes on November 19th, 2008 9:09 am

    WPA/LI 2008:
    Pujols 6.48
    Utley 3.63
    Howard 2.93

    If you want to talk about ‘helping their team win’, there are context-sensitive stats like WPA and WPA/LI (available at Fangraphs) that measure such things.

    Pujols was #1 in the NL in WPA/LI. Utley was #8. Howard was #16.

    Now, personally, I prefer context-neutral stats, but there’s an argument for things like WPA and WPA/LI in the specific context of MVP discussions, since they are more about rewarding past success than anticipating future performance. In 2006, Pujols led Howard in WPA, 9.57(!) to 8.10(also !), but Howard led in WPA/LI, 6.79 to 6.07. However, WPA(/LI) doesn’t include defensive adjustments, so I find it pretty hard to believe that Howard was anything like as valuable as Pujols in 2006.

    Jobbed, I stand by the word.

  14. Evan on November 20th, 2008 9:33 am

    Context neutral, yes. But for the MVP I generally don’t like to ignore luck.

    Beltre’s low BABIP this season made him less valuable. It doesn’t affect in any way how much talent he has or how good we should expect him to be going forward, but it does mean he made less of a contribution – independent of context.

    I mention this because I do discount luck in Cy Young voting. The best pitcher isn’t necessarily the guy with the best results.

    But for the MVP, it’s results that matter. But, again, results that aren’t dependent on the player’s teammates – so I’d never use runs scores or RBI or such foolishness as that. Which means I can’t use wOBA for MVP voting, because wOBA doesn’t measure contribution.

  15. Evan on November 20th, 2008 9:33 am

    Oh, and Derek, that’s fine. Sheehan wrote enough for everyone.

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