Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Since Neyer Refuses to Acknowledge my Hate Mail

Note: Sorry if you don't have espn insider, but I'm working under the assumption that anyone reading this has access.

Here's the second to latest nugget from former respectable baseball analyst Rob Neyer. Incredible, he managed to decide that Pujols was a more deserving MVP than Howard. he really must have pulled an all night brain buster to finalize that treatise. I'm pretty sure anyone with an internet connection and 10 free seconds could figure that out. Let's see what's the most dumb MVP style stat I can find...average with risp. pujols: .397, howard: .256. I don't even know what stats if any those voters were looking at, because it just looks like home runs to me. Even if they bothered to glance a few centimeters to the right they would have see Pujols SLG%: .671, Howard .659. The list goes on and on: Pujols played in a very tough hitters park, Howard a home run haven, Pujols plays outstanding 1st base defense, Howard doesn't know what hand to put his glove on. Pujols nearly as many homers as strikeouts, Howard must get a bonus for each strikeout, or else I can't explain how he manages to swing and miss so often. If only Pujols hadn't played hurt for half the year he might have been good enough...

And Now the Coup de Grace for the Week. It's sad personally because back when I was a dumb kid growing up in a Yankee-centric area, there was little choice but to believe that Jeter was an all around godly baseball player incapable of failure in any aspect. Neyer was one of the guys who started to convince me that objective baseball analysis often leads to conclusions that are in startling contrast with accepted baseball views.

Here he is having drank the cool-aid and trying to back Jeter's MVP campaign 2006 (6 more years!!! without a world series that is). He really shoots himself in the foot though, he voids his own argument by bringing up Jeter's OPS rank (15th!....in the league!). MVP doesn't necessarily mean best hitter (it usually means best hitter on a good team, or sometimes godly pitcher), but if you are 15th in the league in one of the most important hitting stats, you do not deserve the MVP award nomatter what else you do. Sir Neyer, please save the runs created garbage until they start giving out a most valuable 1 or 2 hitter award. And also nice slight of hand, using the adjusted runs created stat that I can't even find on espn.com which uses baserunning (ie stolen bases, a really worthy statistic....gag) to judge your "true" runs created value. The basic runs created formulation has Ortiz just a few heads and shoulders higher than Jeter.

I'm pretty sure Jeter's steals were largely irrevelant to Yankees' power offense, unless it was Jeter's heads-up baserunning and fist pumps distracting the opposing Royals pitchers into throwing meatballs.
Honestly shouldn't even be worrying about splitting hairs since Jeter had a slugging percentage below .500 and hit 14 homers. Productive hitter, of course, MVP deserving player, no.

And finally the most laughable argument, Jeter's VORP. To make what's going on here even more blatantly obvious, say the Red Sox put David Ortiz at short stop...his VORP would be incredible! Does that make him more of an MVP candidate than when he sits in the dugout, only to emerge to win games with his bat? No, that's not the point of VORP. It's a good stat, but it doesn't work when a team plays a guy so completely substandard at defense at that position which is weak offensively in the rest of the league. Same with Miguel Cabrera playing third, or even worse Chipper Jones at third, or Bret Boone at 2nd back in the day. Those guys are as bad as it gets for their position, they're on the team because they can hit and they play those positions because it's their "natural position" meaning it would screw them or the team up if they were moved, not because they are good defenders and oh just happen to hit the crap out of the ball compared to the rest of the league at that position. Cabrera should be compared to outfielders, same with Chipper. Boone should have been compared to third basemen. And Jeter, I don't, whatever position it is these days where it is acceptable to only hit 14 homers in a murderers row lineup. 2nd base? Maybe the red sox should employ the yankees philosophy. They could just lay Ortiz down at short stop, giving him Jeter's range. He'd make more throwing errors on the balls that hit him and he picked up, but he would provide so much offense from that position that he'd be an mvp caliber player! That's just silly, you're thinking. But how much sillier is it for the Yankees to leave Jeter at shortstop when all they have is a hall of fame shortstop to replace him.

That's not even close to a full description of what went wrong in the AL MVP voting, but the other stuff is a little easier to see so it's kind of boring. If you don't see it, the MVP went to a 1st baseman with the 9th best OPS in the AL, who plays with bats behind one of the most valuable players in baseball, and who also has the best pitcher on the planet on his team to steal votes from him (speaking of which thank god the writers didn't come up with another Bartolo Colon to rob Santana of a trophy. It just goes to show you how good he is for every one of those knuckleheads to give him the 1st place vote.). Ortiz and Hafner were really much more important to their teams than anyone on playoff teams and so I think one of them should have won it. In my opinion David Ortiz was the MVP (to show that's not just Red Sox allegence, in 2005 I thought A-Rod was slightly more deserving), and Hafner gets the award for being the best hitter (his MVP case weakened due to injury).

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