Postgame Spread
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I Promised Myself I Wouldn't Write About This    

Another promise broken, all thanks to an offhand remark in a previous post:

I still have trouble voting MVP for someone whose team probably would have made the playoffs without him, but he did have a good season and there's no obvious choice so he'll probably get it. Personally, I keep flip-flopping around, but I think I'm back to Santana. Nobody on the offensive end dominated like he did this year.

Yeah, I can't think of any dominant offensive seasons either.  Totally drawing a blank here.  But let's see, what would a totally hypothetical, imaginary baseball player have to do to get people's attention?  Hit like, ohhhh I dunno, 54 HRs and 137 RBIs with a 1000+ OPS?  Offensive numbers are all well and good, of course, so he'd also need to help his team win games in as direct a manner as possible.  Hmmm.  Yeah, nobody did that this year.

Put another way, I'd be curious to know how many times a player with David Ortiz' numbers, relative to the rest of the league, lost the MVP to another hitter.  You know, just to see whether the 2006 anti-Ortiz sentiment is justifiable based on past awards.  Jeter's had a great season, and he does have the pedigree to challenge Ortiz on "clutch" hitting, which A-Rod did not.  But you're telling me a guy can lead the league by 10 HRs, single-handedly keep his team in contention for four months longer than it deserved, and come October he's not only behind, but can't even get a whiff of consideration anymore?  Seriously???  If I were him, I'd blow up too.  It's so fucked up, I'm left with no choice but to consider whether there's something else going on that nobody's talking about in public.

Johan Santana, meanwhile, has no chance.  He's not winning.  Inconceivable.  How are voters going to overcome their oral fixation for Jeter if all they're given to work with is 19 measly wins?!?  Voters may not care about technicalities like "home runs" and "runs batted in," but they sure as hell care about pitchers' win totals.  More importantly, it takes a career season to win MVP, and this wasn't Johan's career year.  His 2004 was better, statistically speaking, in every way.  Even on statistical merit alone, his 2006 doesn't cut it.  It's a standard Cy Young year, by the numbers.  Nothing special.  They can't/won't give the MVP to that.

Ahhh, what's the point?  The guy who hits the most HRs, by far, and is the primary reason for his team's success, whatever level of success that may be, sounds like the MVP to me.  But I'm obviously alone on that, because I'm just a whiny, biased Red Sox fan.  What do I know?  Jeter's obviously got the heart of a champion.


  • I hear you, but from where I sit, it's not that clear cut. Ortiz had an impressive season, for sure, and if Jeter wasn't a short stop, there'd be no argument there. But let's look at a few other statistics:

    Win Shares
    1. Jeter 33
    2. Mauer 31
    3. Ortiz 29
    4 Manny 29
    5. Morneau 27

    Offense-only Win Shares
    1. Ortiz 29.3
    2. Jeter 28.0
    3. Manny 26.9
    4. Thome 25.9
    5. Morneau 25.5

    1. Hafner 1.097
    2. Manny 1.058
    3. Ortiz 1.049
    4. Thome 1.014
    5. Dye 1.006

    Total Bases
    1. Ortiz 355
    2. Sizemore 349
    3. Dye 335
    4. Guerrero 335
    5. Morneau 331

    Runs Created*
    1. Jeter 138
    2. Ortiz 127
    3. Sizemore 124
    4. Thome 124
    5. Morneau 121
    5. Hafner 121

    From THT: "Runs Created. Invented by Bill James, RC is a very good measure of the number of runs a batter truly contributed to his team’s offense. The basic formula for RC is OBP*TB, but it has evolved into over fourteen different versions. We use the most complicated version, which includes the impact of hitting well with runners in scoring position, and is adjusted for ballpark impact. RC/G refers to Runs Created Per Game, which Runs Created divided by the number of outs made by the batter, times 27."

    Runs Created/Game
    1. Hafner 10.4
    2. Manny 9.9
    3. Thome 9.6
    4. Jeter 9.1
    5. Giambi 9.0

    Clutch* (only considering players in contention, measured as previously listed above more than once)
    1. Thome 7.0
    2. Jeter 6.7
    3. Dye 4.5
    4. Morneau 4.2
    5. Manny 1.3
    6. Hafner -.3
    7. Ortiz -6.3
    8. Sizemore -7.0

    * From THT: '"Clutch" is the name we've given to the portion of Bill James's Runs Created formula that includes the impact of a batter's batting average with runners in scoring position and the number of home runs with runners on. The specific formula is Hits with RISP minus overall BA times at bats with RISP, plus HR with runners on minus (all HR/AB) times at bats with runners on. This stat is not a definitive description of "clutch hitting," just one way of looking at it.'

    BA/RiSP (again, only with our candidates)
    2. Jeter .381
    4. Mauer .360
    5. Dye .351
    13. Thome .336
    15. Morneau .323
    15. Manny .323
    26. Hafner .305
    41. Ortiz .289
    OK that's enough, sorry Sizemore.

    Anyway, I certainly wasn't trying to say that Jeter is a clear choice. I would also definitely lean to someone who had a lot more power. In the absence of power, I would expect that the player really be an elite defender at SS or CF (like Sizemore). What does this tell me?

    Ortiz had a very good season. Jeter had a very good season. If Manny or Hafner had played a full season, both would be right there also, probably my #1 and #2 actually, but that doesn't matter. Morneau and Mauer were awesome but don't ultimately compare. There are a couple of other guys (especially Dye and Frank Thomas) that you could make an OK case for, but it would still be pretty easy to shoot down when you come right down to it.

    So, I think on the offensive side, it really is Ortiz vs. Jeter. Clearly, the Red Sox would have fallen apart more than the Yankees without their guy. But when you start talking that way, you get all confused. The Twins would have been a complete disaster without Morneau or Mauer. MVP isn't really an MVP award it's a best player award. I get that, so the question is, if you had to take one guy, just one guy, to start a team around, who would it be? (Imagine it's March of '06, you already know what each player will accomplish this year, and the team is only playing for one year).

    For my money, you take Johan Santana. I recognize that's fairly subjective, but I'll make my case in a full post when I get some time.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 8:12 PM  

  • Um... Jeet won the Hank Aaron award, as the overall best offensive player. If you hate the MVP favortism for Jeet, um... well... yeah.

    I'm now hoping Papi wins MVP. It would finally announce what a travistamockery these awards are.

    By Blogger Alex, at 3:49 PM  

  • OK, obviously there's something wrong with me. I'm seeing 54's where everyone else sees 14's, and 14's where everyone else sees 54's. Maybe I need to take myself in for an oil change. I must be down a quart. My fluids are low.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 8:46 PM  

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