Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Who's Voting For the MVPs?

OK, despite my DSL failing I'm going to post using dialup. The MVP voters are clearly not watching the same sport I do.

My picks for MVP were Albert Pujols and Derek Jeter.

First the NL MVP award went to Ryan Howard. Howard is not a bad pick, but it's hard to see the award not going to Albert Pujols, who pretty much beat Howard at every statistic that mattered.

Now onto the real travesty, which was Justin Morneau beating out Derek Jeter and Joe Mauer for the AL MVP. I could understand Mauer winning the award, and practically he might really have been the most valuable player in the majors this year. But Morneau? How is he more valuable than Jermaine Dye or Jim Thome?

The voters seem to be stuck using "traditional" stats such as home runs and runs batted in to make these decisions. Howard edged Pujols in both those categories. And Morneau easily topped both Jeter and Mauer in both stats.

It's as if the voters felt they couldn't give the award to Jeter or Mauer when they had a player who batted .320 and had over 30 hrs and 130 rbi. But that's plain stupid. First Jeter and Mauer both batted higher with runners in scoring position, so Morneau's rbi total is basically irrelevant. And while Morneau did have more power, both Jeter and Mauer had substantially higher OBPs. Why choose power over the ability to get on?

And here's the main point: Both Jeter and Mauer put up their numbers from middle of the infield positions where good hitters are at a premium. A shortstop with an OPS of .900 is much more valuable than a first baseman with an .934 OPS. It's why Jeter had a substantially higher VORP (the best in the league). It's also why Jeter led the league in win shares and had the second highest WARP3 (which measures wins over replacement player) in baseball (behind Pujols).

Here's what makes this even more ridiculous: Jeter won the Henry Aaron award for best hitter in the AL (an award he did not deserve) and won the gold glove at SS (which he also did not deserve). Morneau won neither. How is he more valuable again?

Update: Noyam makes the same point, but better than I did.

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