Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Phil Sheridan is Out of Whack!

And you thought we wouldn't be able to find anything negative about the MVP selection. Phil Sheridan: MVP voting is out of whack.

Ryan Howard was the most valuable player in the National League in 2008. That he was not voted MVP by the Baseball Writers' Association of America says more about the association than about Howard, Albert Pujols or America.

I agree with Sheridan in that the BBWAA's selection of Albert Pujols says a lot about the voters--they're actually getting smarter. We just witnessed a player lose the NL MVP Award despite leading the league in homeruns and RBI! Not to mention the fact he had an awesome September! And I think we should all know by now that games in September count approximately 4.8 times as much as games that take place in any other month (4.8 is the mean, of course, since games in April obviously only count for .006 the amount of your standard September game). Also...

Ryan Howard 2008:
5.0 WARP1

If the MVP is the player with the best all-round statistical season, a computer could figure that out. And a computer might well have spit out Pujols' name this season. He was terrific.

Statistics are an objective account of what took place. In order to know and understand one's value you must look at what took place. Therefore, you must look at statistics to objectively understand a player's value. I know, MIND-BOGGLING! Also...

Ryan Howard 2008:
.339 OBP (NL League Average: .343)

But Howard got hot in September, hitting 11 home runs and driving in 32 runs to carry the Phillies into the playoffs. That's the very definition of valuable.

Those are very good numbers. But if I'm not mistaken, there are over 130 regular season games that aren't even played in September. I'm uncertain as to why these games are carried out, seeing as they hold so little value in the standings, but nevertheless they count. Just for kicks, though, let's see what happened in those other non-September/meaningless months.

March-August (Ryan Howard):
.234/.324/.490--.814 OPS

March-August (Albert Pujols):
.364/.468/.643--1.111 OPS

Interesting... too bad it's irrelevant. Baseball should just be a 30 game season that takes place over the course of one month. There should be no days off and the MVP should be given to the player who performs the best (aka is the most clutch) over the last 5 days of the season.

The group-think association argument for Pujols, if I'm smart enough to get it right, is that he single-handedly kept the Cardinals in the wild-card race. That is brilliant, except it ignores the presence of Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel and Troy Glaus (so much for "single-handedly")

Chase Utley. Pat Burrell. Jimmy Rollins. Jayson Werth. Shane Victorino. Cole Hamels. Jamie Moyer. J.C. Romero. Chad Durbin. Ryan Madson. Brad Lidge.

No, Albert Pujols didn't "single-handedly" carry his team, but it's not like he had anywhere near the supporting cast that Ryan Howard possessed. If I were to make an MVP ballot of strictly 2008 Phillies players, it would look something like this:

1. Chase Utley
2. Cole Hamels
3. Brad Lidge
4. Jimmy Rollins
5. Jayson Werth
6. Shane Victorino
7. Pat Burrell
8. Ryan Howard

Chase Utley is far and away the best player on this team. He has lost to an inferior teammate twice already and came very close again this year. He finished 15th(!) in the MVP voting this past season. THAT is what's wrong with the BBWAA. Also...

Ryan Howard 2008:
25 Win Shares (T-12th)

The association seamheads love to throw around stats - OPS, VORP, ASPCA - to make a case for Pujols.

I had no idea that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shared the same name as an imaginary, unoriginal baseball statistic.

Yes, he (Pujols) struck out less and hit for a higher average. But Howard won actual baseball games in an honest-Abe pennant race. He had 11 more home runs than Pujols, scored five more runs than Pujols, and drove in 30 more runs than Pujols.

Notice there are no decimal points involved there, only whole numbers that made a difference in real baseball games.

You know this guy's gotta be a supporter of batting average. Do you think he's aware that those include decimals? Here's a whole number for you, Phil: 475. That's the number of outs Howard made this past season, the 8th most in the league. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

Ryan Howard - who has added a World Series ring to his 2005 rookie of the year and 2006 MVP trophies - will survive this voting nicely. The process that produced it should not.

The voting "process" is fine. It's the voters themselves that most likely need to be changed. However, it would appear that some smarter ones are sneaking their way in there and these past awards would be an indication of that. Sure, there's still some stupid people out there (who the fuck voted for Jose Valverde?), but I think the system is, in fact, improving. Oh, and lastly...

Ryan Howard 2008:
36.6 VORP (29th in NL)

Albert Pujols 2008:
98.7 VORP (1st in MLB)

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