Friday, September 19, 2003
Neyer answers his critics.
This line in particular is great:
An intelligent person cannot construct a rational argument for listing Garret Anderson or Miguel Tejada first on the MVP ballot.
Obviously, Joe's definition of "valuable" is different from mine (and presumably Rob's). I tend to think the players who have contributed the most to their team's victories are the most valuable--regardless of how their teammates perform. (Hence the reason I'm so intrigued by Win Shares.) Most of the time, that means I'd vote for the best overall player.
This year is a kinda strange exception because I don't think the best players should win either the NL MVP or AL Cy Young because the best (Barry and Pedro) haven't played enough to contribute as much as the guys who I think deserve it (Albert and Roy). Even regarding the NL Cy Young, I don't think the best starters (Schmidt and Brown) will have pitched enough innings to compensate for just how dominant L.A.'s fireballing stopper has been (and that's even taking into consideration that I tend to think the closer role is overrated).
But that's the only distinction I'd make between "best" and "most valuable". (I think the Barry v. Albert argument suggests how relying solely on OPS or any rate stat can be misleading--something I've certainly fallen victim to in the past.) I might use the "playing for a contender" argument as a kind of tiebreaker between two otherwise competitive candidates (like, say, going with Boone over Delgado as my early pick back in July), but it shouldn't trump everything else. It shouldn't turn "good" into "great".
Why? Because being valuable isn't just about hitting late inning game winning runs down the stretch. It's about contributing day in and day out over 162 games. Tejada may be one of Joe's picks for MVP because he seems to do a lot of the former, but you can't tell me that the A's probably wouldn't already have another 5 or so victories (and thus already eliminated the Mariners from the division race) if A-Rod were their SS.
Neyer also picks Bonds over Pujols for NL MVP, but has this tantalizing tidbit:
I don't want to get into this today, but the Bonds vs. Pujols argument is pretty interesting, and I'll probably revisit them in November.Hmmm. I wonder what he'll say?
P.S. I didn't mention this earlier, but isn't it great to see Joe finally include OBP in his stat breakdowns? I almost get the feeling that given all his rantings about OBP, someone quietly whispered in his ear, "Um, Joe, you lead the league in OBP four times, including your two MVP years (which you also lead in OPS, by the way). You finished second three more times. You're 88th overall in career OBP. OBP is your friend, Joe."
A high batting average is nice when you can get it, but Joe Morgan isn't a Hall of Famer because he hit .271 over his career. But maybe, just maybe, he's 28th overall in runs scored and was a valuable ballplayer until he retired at age 41 in part because his OBP never fell below .347.