Baseball Stuff

I was thinking today about my baseball predictions and whether or not I was close back in March, well it’s time to find out.

NL East
Well I got the Phillies, Marlins, and Nationals correct. Not too bad. The Mets are out of it and Phillies seems to have the division locked up (I hope this jinxes them)

NL Central
I got the bottom two correct, but after that it’s a jumble. The Cubs could overtake the Cardinals, and the same with the Astros/Brewers, they could flip-flop for me.

NL West
Arizona has been a disappointment, but at least I got the Dodgers and Padres right. If the Giants pass into second place, I will get the Rockies right.

AL East
I have this one 100%. Go me.

AL Central
I have Kansas City correct. This is one of those divisions that will come down to the last few games though, hard to say who will end up in the top three spots. Well not who will end up there, but what order.

AL West
Another division I am batting 1.000…so lets see 17/30 correct. Not too bad if you ask me.

What about some other predictions I made? I have the AL Wildcard correct, but not the NL. It seems to me that Albert Pujols is a lock for the MVP, but here are the people that should be noted as in contention. I will give some stats and whatnot (Ryan will then dispute them).
1. Pujols-Adjusted OPS+ 194
2. Willingham-162
3. Fielder-159
4. A. Gonzalez-158
5. H. Ramirez-154
6. Dunn-153

As you can see, Pujols is having a monster season. If you take him out of the mix, it seems like a pretty good race between the others. Adam Dunn is having a good season (he has less strikeouts and more home runs than Ryan Howard, uh oh…)

On the AL side, who do we have?
1. Mauer-181
2. Morneau-154
3. Youkilis-149
4. Kubel-146
5. Zobrist/M.Cabrera/Teixeira-144

Joe Mauer is having a fantastic season, yet he has the problem of playing with Morneau, who could lead in RBIs and Batting Average, which is all voters look at. Mauer does have 20 home runs, and as a catcher, I think that has to go in his favor.

In the Cy Young debate, the AL seems to be either Greinke or Halladay, Beckett could be in the discussion as well, but I think it ends up going to Halladay. In the NL, Lincecum and Haren seem to be the two favorites. I believe Lincecum should win it, but a strong case could be made for both. I think maybe the Pirates beating up on Haren, and only scoring like one run in two games against Lincecum sways me…

The ROY race seems to be pretty exciting, especially in the NL. If McCutchen keeps up the way he has been, he could very well win it. Fowler and Rasmus seem to be the leaders, but they also have a full season to add up some numbers. McCutchen has almost caught them (or surpassed them) in every category. The wild card could be J.A. Happ.

The AL does not really have any major contributors, but Gordon Beckham could be the winner, but he has the same problem as McCutchen (called up later in the season). Ricky Romero could also be a strong candidate.

So, what are your thoughts on the subject?

41 thoughts on “Baseball Stuff

  1. I think Chris Carpenter has passed Haren for second, but Lincecum still leads the NL Cy Young race. Greinke has fallen off and players for the Royals, so I agree with either Halladay or Beckett as the favorite.

    As for NL MVP, I think the only two that stand a chance, if Pujols gets injured or suspended for steroids, are Fielder and Han Ram. In the AL, I’m hearing Teixera is moving up along with Morneau/Mauer. I’ll put my money on 1 of those 3 winning it.

    For ROY, I think Happ and Hanson lead in the NL, with Randy Wells and Cutch not too far behind. In the AL, I think the top 3 are Beckham, Bailey, and Romero. Definitely will come down to the last 2 months.

    As for playoff predictions, I’ll have to look back over mine, but I’m pretty sure I got Philly, L.A. Dodgers, L.A. Angels, Boston, and Detroit. I missed the Cubs, Mets, and Rays.

  2. Greinke has fallen off, but still has some great numbers to go up against Beckett or Halladay (although, since voters only look at wins and era, he won’t win, I mean, it took people until this year to realize that Matt Cain is much better than his record suggests each year…)

    I do believe that if McCutchen can pass all the other rookies in 2Bs, HRs, RBIs (plus, I think we are going to see Happ start to collapse, his stuff just does not impress me, I mean he’s good, but not mind-blowing), then he should win it. Plus, almost hitting the Home Run Cycle should count for something…

  3. I think for the AL Cy Young you guys are overlooking Felix Hernandez. He’s outpitching Beckett hands down, and his numbers are very comparable to Halladays, with a sizable increase in K’s. I’m writing Greinke off since his numbers will fade over time no matter how good he pitches (Royals suck).

  4. You can add King Felix to the list, but his numbers are not better than Greinke. If you want to go by K numbers, Verlander is having a much better season than Felix.

    I think Greinke will be passed up because he plays for the Royals, but as of right now, I believe he should be your Cy Young winner. Lots of games left though, he could go 0-5 with a 7.43 ERA and 70 walks…that would hurt.

    What hurts Felix (in my opinion), is the fact that he walks way too many guys. He is in the top ten for walks, if he cut those in half, he would probably lead in most statistical categories…

  5. And he plays in Seattle…Verlander is third in my opinion, then Hernandez.

    What about Hanson over Cutch though? I agree Happ will probably cool off, but Hanson has amazing stuff and the Braves are on fire.

  6. NL MVP: Pujols
    AL MVP: Texeira or Abreu
    NL Cy Young: Lincecum or Carpenter
    AL Cy Young: Halladay or Verlander
    NL ROY: McCutchen
    AL ROY: Elvis Andrus

    Best Offseason Acquisition:
    NL: Braves, Javier Vazquez
    AL: Angels, Bobby Abreu

    Best Midseason Acquisition:
    NL: Phillies, Cliff Lee
    AL: White Sox, Jake Peavy

  7. Offord…I hate trying to decide between a pitcher and a hitter for ROY. I think there should be one for each (like how football has defensive/offensive mvp/roy).

    That being said, over the course of the season, Happ still have better numbers than Hanson. ERA+ 157 vs. 138. Also, Happ has a lower WHIP, ERA, BB/9, Hits/9…etc.

    His last two outings hurt him, but Happ is actually in the top 10 in a bunch of categories with all starters, not just rookies. As much as I hate the Phillies, I have to admit that he looks like a pretty solid choice for ROY.

    Kern…I was going to pretty much ignore your thoughts until I noticed your secondary AL MVP: Bobby Abreu. What the hell are you thinking?

    OPS+ 119. Which, I know will mean nothing to you, so let me throw out the stats that you look at.

    9 HRs/77 RBIs/.309 BA/.403 OBP/.438 SLG/.841 OPS

    Are those the numbers of the MVP? Let’s look at Mauer. Same stats as above
    OPS+ 181
    21/70/.370/.437/.619/1.056

    I would just like to hear the reasoning behind him. If you say it’s his intangibles that have helped keep the Angels one of the best teams without Vlad, I will punch you in the ear.

  8. as much as you LOVE OPS+, that stat will never hold any kind of precedence when it comes to WRITERS voting on the MVP…In case you don’t know, writers deal with words, not math. They vote based on things that are tangible in the sport. Homeruns, RBI’s, Runs, batting average, stolen bases, etc. They are never going to pay attention to numbers that consist on how well a players numbers of unproductive outs compares to anothers or how well they play in a pitchers park versus a hitters park…that’s just fact.

    Now the biggest reason I take Abreu over Mauer is staying power/health, whatever you want to call it. As it stands Mauer is on pace to play about 130 games, that’s barely 80 percent of his teams ball games. That’s 30 games, that he will not effect the outcome of a ball game, and that’s not including the games he’s been given credit, for simply pinch hitting. If you are going to be regarded as an MVP candidate you better be in their all the time. I don’t care about the rigours of your position, you should play the damn game! On top of that, he’s in the AL so he can DH when he’s not catching…so there is no excuse. I don’t care if he’s got more home runs and a better average. I eliminate Mauer from contention. For the rest of the season, the 2 of them are online to have similar numbers, subtracting Average, which again shouldn’t count since Abreu is going to end up having 100 more at bats than Mauer by the end of the season, and makes it harder to keep a higher batting average.

    Another reason I keep abreu over Mauer is because the Angels are more likely to make the playoffs with the 2nd best record in the Majors, only behind the Yankees (which is why I have texeira winning it as the best player on the best team), and the Twins will not. Abreu has been the best, consistent player on the Angels all season, and nobody can argue that. Guerrero has been hurt most all season, Torii hunter has been on the DL for the last month and the Angels have the 3rd WORST team pitching in the American league. BUT THEY KEEP WINNING! Because of the consistency of bobby abreu. Mauer isn’t even the best player on a team, that again, probably won’t make the playoffs.

    You can’t really make an argument in the NL against Pujols even if the cardinals don’t make the playoffs because the guy is a machine and nobody can touch his numbers across the board.

    To be honest, I completely forgot about Morneau. With Morneau, I would put him ahead of abreu in the number 2 spot and abreu number 3. But, when the Abreu’s angels make the playoffs and the Mauer/Morneau powered twins do not, I’m sorry I have to vote for Abreu.

    Also, the fact you ignore my thoughts behind anything baseball simply because I don’t believe in your stupid analytical statistics, i find laughable.

  9. I will give you the notion that Mauer’s chances are hurt by him playing in fewer games, but seriously, Justin Morneau and Texeira are having far superior seasons to Abreu. Come on, a .438 slugging %? I am not saying Abreu is a bad player, but he really should not be in the discussion for MVP. Also, I do not think you should hold it against a guy if his team does not make the playoffs (therefore you should not reward a player who does).

    Bobby Abreu cannot control when Figgins makes an error, nor can Justin Morneau control that his team is small market and could not afford to keep Johan Santana…maybe not the best analogy, but it’s late.

    I can accept Texeira winning the MVP. I do not ignore your thoughts, I just like to hear the reasoning. You said “They vote based on things that are tangible in the sport. Homeruns, RBI’s, Runs, batting average, stolen bases, etc.” How are those things any different than the numbers I use? I looked at BA, OBP, and SLG (which, most writers are now coming around to OBP and SLG, so OPS+ is just another way to help understand those stats you look at).

    Are the Angels better because of Abreu, of course they are. Would they be having as a good of a season without him? Probably not, but would they be having a better season if they had Justin orneau, Joe Mauer, or Mark Texeira? Absolutely.

  10. Also, let me post Abreu’s full numbers this season, against someone else…

    I will go in this order: Runs/Hits/2B/3B/HR/RBI/AB/BA/OBP/SLG/OPS/OPS+/BB/SO

    Abreu: 67/122/20/2/9/77/395/.309/.403/.438/.841/119/66/70

    Player B: 80/133/33/1/10/49/449/.296/.387/.441/.828/119/67/58

    Do you know who Player B is? Almost identical numbers, except SB, Abreu is much better at that than Player B. In fact Player B only has 8 compared to Abreu’s 24.

    Unfortunately, I do not put as much stock into SBs as most people, but I can understand if you want to. I guess if that’s the case, we shall call the walk/K rate vs. SB rate a wash (sound fair?)

    Anyways, I will not tell you who Player B is, I want you to tell me if he should be in the discussion for MVP.

  11. Player B is Scutero, I know those numbers anywhere. And you can’t really call the walk/k rate to stolen bases a wash, because the former is more closely contested than the latter, which is a run away victory for abreau, but for this discussion i’ll say it doesn’t even matter.

    Scutero however is not close to an mvp candidate. He again plays for a team that is not even close to playoff contention, and isn’t even close to the best player on his team. We all know their team MVP is Halladay and their most dangerous hitter is vernon wells despite his poor numbers this season. Scutero by all means is having a break out season for himself, but it won’t last, and by the end of the season I can almost guarantee abreu will surpass him in every category. I had based my decisions on how I predict the individuals stats and his teams record will be by the end of the regular season. Barring a healthy end of the season for abreu, his numbers will be much better than scutero and his team will be in the postseason.

    Another player i could argue for mvp candidacy would victorino. But, unfortunately he plays in the NL in competition with pujols, hanley and his teammate chase, and like Mauer is not even having the best season on his team and is further falted by the fact he lacks serious power and hits from the 2 spot limiting his rbi potential. But, like abreu, victorino has been the most consistent player for his team despite questions around chase utley’s hip at the beginning of the season, Rollins lack of production all season, and howards power outage last month.

    Instead of all the player examples, I’ll send you to an article instead: http://mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090802&content_id=6200872&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

    I don’t know how to shrink it down when commenting on someone’s blog.

    And just for curiosity’s sake, can you explain to me the math behind OPS+ again?

  12. I guess this is where you and I differ in our definition of MVP (I believe the best player in league should win it, despite the team). I believe I made the argument last year about Jason Bay (if he batted .400, hit 80 HRs, 200 RBIs, yet the pirates still finished in last, should he be the MVP?)

    I can understand where you come from though. If you want to go by teams only in a playoff hunt, you cannot exclude Morneau and Mauer, the Twins could still do it (I never like to discard an AL Central team because it always seems that at the end of the year there is a three team race…)

    My biggest point is that Abreu is having a good season, but he is not having a stand out season. He is not blowing our minds like Mauer is. Mauer or Morneau could in theory win the triple crown (more likely Morneau if he could up his BA). If someone wins the triple crown (or comes very close) how could you argue against them for MVP, especially for someone who is not in the top 5 of any of the statistical categories you mentioned?

    Here is the best explanation of OPS+ http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/bat_glossary.shtml

    It’s not perfect, I acknowledge this, yet it’s a better metric than using RBIs…or whatever singular statistic you want to use.

    Also, I will give Abreu the edge over Scutaro because of the SBs, I just wanted to show a player that is comparable to Abreu. You say that Scutaro will not finish with those numbers, but Abreu will have to go on a monster stretch to come close to having Morneau (or Mauer) numbers…

  13. Mauer is on a huge tear right now, and if the twins get an incling of better pitching they are going to make the playoffs…so my argument could end up being moot.

  14. Vernon Wells is the best hitter on the Blue Jays?? Um, Aaron Hill and Adam Lind blow him out of the water. Wells is washed up.

    And Victorino over Prince Fielder/Ryan Braun? Bitch please…Fielder/Braun are now the Morneau/Mauer of the NL.

  15. My name isn’t Offord, but I’ll weigh in anyway. Ngewo, I don’t know how you can be all high and mighty on strictly power stats when the last AL MVP was Pedroia. He had a great year, but Abreu is on pace to best him in RBI’s and OBP; the homers’ll probably be a push. Runs will probably be the only stat in Dustin’s favor. I think a big part of him winning was the dominance of the Sox. Either A-Rod or Hamilton had years that could be comparable to Texeira/Mourneau now, but voters went for Pedroia.

    And the notion of Mauer even sniffing the triple crown is laughable. He’s got average, that’s it. He won’t even be in the top 5 in the other categories. And even the average doesn’t blow my mind really. Ichiro does it seemingly every year. And there’s always someone else that’s goin all nutty with the hits. Last year it was Chipper. Before he got hurt he was dominating but I don’t recall hearing any early MVP buzz.

  16. I was implying that Morneau could win triple crown (not likely, but he does lead 2/3 categories).

    If I remember correctly, many people questioned whether or not Pedroia should have won last year, but regardless, how is Abreu a better player than Morneau, Mauer, Texeira? I am sorry, I just do not see it. As Ryan clearly states, writers look at HRs, RBIs, BA…Abreu is not in the top 10 of any of those is he?

  17. Gideon…Pedroia last year had the second best VORP (value over replacement player) in the AL behind A-Rod (the difference was very minimal). Is VORP a power statistic? Not really (obviously, super power hitters like Pujols have extremely high VORPs because they are more valuable than others)

    Now, if we look at VORP this year, guess who are the top two? Pujols and Mauer. Morneau drops all the way to 22nd. Abreu ranks 37th (Scutaro ranks 20th).

    Why is it that if I use statistics to try to judge who should be MVP, that is a bad thing? When have I ever used only power stats? Ryan is the one who argues that writers only look at the big ones, which is what I am using (for the most part).

  18. I hate to keep posting, but I just thought of this while I was in the shower. Yes, I think about baseball in the shower, is there a problem?

    Last season, most of the arguments against A-Rod for MVP were “he had a great season, but not a great A-Rod season.” Only a select few players can have that kind of argument (Pujols, if he hits .299/35 HRs/100 RBIs, would be considered a subPujols season…yet, still better than any Pirates player.)

  19. I wasn’t saying that Abreu is more deserving than those guys (and the term “better player” is way too broad a term for this discussion), just that he should still get some consideration – even if he doesn’t have 20 HRs.

    And doesn’t VORP take position into account (I honestly have no clue)? If it does, obviously certain positions would be heavily stacked in favor of a dude having a good year getting ranked really high, catcher being probably the most shallow in terms of talent, with 2B close behind (but maybe not as bad as SS). Outfielders would clearly get the worst deal here (and 1B). But if position isn’t considered, disregard this entire paragraph.

  20. VORP does take position into account. That is why I did not use it at first because its a better metric (in my opinion), yet heavily dependent on multiple variables. If you do not believe in statistics, its a hard stat to use in your favor. Oddly enough it’s much better than something like QB Rating, yet most football folks use that all the time. Just seems odd to me.

    I just do not feel that Abreu should be in the discussion. His numbers (any of them, power wise or not) do not stack up to what Mauer, Morneau, Texeira, hell even Jason Bartlett have done this year.

    Also, this comment was posted while intoxicated, do not be surprised if tomorrow I revise what I meant.

  21. Unless there is an obvious dominant force that season (Pujols, Bonds, Sosa, etc.) with power numbers, the MVP race can go any number of ways. Perhaps it depends on who is voting, the mood of that season, etc. Last year, if you went by numbers alone (not crazy formulas), Youkilis, ARod, or Morneau would have won. Morneau I think had the best season of the 3. But, since no one jumped out, the voters said “who brings the most tangibles and intangibles to their team, on a team that is both good and in the spotlight.” So who are the candidates then? Morneau is out because he really needs to dominate in a market like Minnesota to win, Youkilis is probably out because he is underrated, leaving ARod and Pedroia. The Yanks missed the playoffs, and Pedroia is the spark plug for arguably the best team in MLB. If you look at it that way, it makes sense why he won.

    If you take that into consideration this year, obviously there is again no standout in the AL. That pretty much all but eliminates the small market players such as Morneau, Ichiro, and anyone not on the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, Angels, Devil Rays, and maybe Rangers. Mauer is the exception because he is so well known, so we still have to throw him in. The Yankees MVP is Texiera, the Tigers is Cabrera, the Red Sox is ? (probably Beckett..) and they are falling fast, the Angels is any combo of Abreu, Kendry Morales (who is having a better season than Abreu), and Juan Rivera, the Devil Rays is Crawford, and the Rangers is really a team effort. Crawford is severely underrated, so I doubt he will win even though he should probably be in the top 5, the Angels have too many good hitters to really distinguish, so that leaves Cabrera and Texiera. I think Texiera has to be #1 since he’s on the best team in baseball. But, IF the Rays can make a run at the wild card, and Texiera cools off, mayeb voters continue the trend of last season and go with the intangible guy this year: Carl Crawford.

  22. Lets be honest here, the voters are usually morons. If they had their way, David Eckstein would win the MVP every year. He is the definition of intangible.

  23. FYI Josh, details for Kevin’s league are below:

    ID 4265
    Password is steelers
    Be sure to specify it is a plus league
    Draft is on 9/5 and is live at Chris’ house in Annapolis. Teleconferencing will work as well as using a preranking sheet (probably) if you can’t make it down. Cost is $40. Let me know if you are in and I’ll inform Kevin.

  24. And yes, if David Eckstein had 200 hits he would probably win MVP, that is unless Pedroia had 201.

    Nobody is mentioning Ryan Howard and Adam Dunn?? We should debate which is better again..that was fun. Surprisingly Dunn is having a great season for the Nats, definitely outplaying Howard…unless Ryan disagrees??

    Oh and lastly, who is to say that writer’s don’t use sophisticated statistics like VORP in making their decision? The writers are supposed to be very informed, so I’m sure some if not most use any and all data available to them to make their decision. Or they just pick a colored rock out of a fish bowl…either way.

  25. Morales is not having a better season than abreu…the only stat he has over abreu is HR’s/xbh, which in turn pushes up the rest of the relative statistics of Slugging, and OPS. Abreu has him beat in every other category across the board, including RBI’s which should be morales since he’s the bigger “slugger”.

    Back to the MVP talk…I have to say; if Mauer continues to hit how hes been hitting, and he finishes the season with a Batting average of .385+, 30+ HR’s and Minnesota makes the playoffs, I’ll put him second behind texeira. If he hits .400 he’s the MVP, don’t even care about the rest of the statistics.

    Did you really bring VORP into the discussion? Really? Replacement players? Come on. Really? Lets just make a stat of VOMW (value over Mike Whitcraft) and call it done…seriously? Vorp?

    And here’s a stat line for ya offord: in the order of runs/hits/2b/3b/hr/total bases/rbi/sb’s/average/obp/slug/ops

    73/118/26/3/30/240/91/5/.269/.352/.547/.899

    63/114/25/0/31/232/86/0/.285/.417/.580/.997

    Now which line is better? The top one because he’s got more runs, altogether extra base hits, Rbi’s and stolen bases? or the bottom line with the better average, obp, slugging, and ops? You could argue the bottom line because he hits for a better average, draws more walks, and hits for a little more power per at bat than the top one. But, then again what’s the point of walking in an at bat if you can’t get that extra base afterwards?

    I have to admit, adam dunn is having a great season for himself with the nats in comparison with what he ever did with the Reds. But, Howard is having a typical Ryan Howard season. Nothing at all is high above his career averages. Now i need to ask the last question for this. If you’re building a team and starting at the first base position, which player would you start with. Adam Dunn or Ryan Howard?

    And yea josh, you should sign up for kevin’s league. Kevin gave ruskin the option of conference call/AIM whatever way possible. Ruskin still hasn’t decided, but the more people, the more money i make, I mean the merrier. AND if you sign up you get a choice at an AWESOME LITTLE BOBBLEHEAD TROPHY or a t-shirt. But you can choose an AWESOME LITTLE BOBBLEHEAD TROPHY…I still haven’t decided.

  26. Ryan, I will never understand your hatred of VORP. If you do not understand, that’s fine, but to get all dismissive of it is just silly (especially when I only used it to illustrate why Pedroia was statistically someone to be considered for MVP last season)

    So wait, if the Twins make the playoffs, and Mauer almost hits .400, and tops 30 HRs, you still give Texeira the MVP? I am confused, yet if he hits .400 he automatically gets it, I just do not see the reasoning.

    Offord, I am sure that many writers look at different stats (especially since the year H-Ram (2007) many writers argued that he was the best player in the league, they did not cite VORP, but they did say that if you look at some of the metrics out there, H-Ram is the best player in the NL…). Unfortunately, the ones you see in the major papers (or on Around the Horn) believe that the only way to evaluate a player is by how much grit he has. Ever read a Plaschke piece?

    The Dunn/Howard debate…ugh. How is not making outs a bad thing? Dunn walks a bunch, in fact his OBP is significantly higher than Howards. The last time I checked, this is a good thing. Okay, so he does not steal (wow, 5 SBs and you are using that one?)

    Also, runs is a weak way to compare two players. Is it Dunn’s fault he plays for the Nats? If he played for the Phillies, he would have more runs as well.

    The question of who would I rather build a team around? Neither, I would take Pujols or Morneau. That is a tough question though, I think (I would have to check this out), but Howard is better defensively than Dunn. Depending on what kind of pitching staff you have, this could be a big deal for you.

    In reality we are really talking about two very similar players, which is what my point was last season.

    Oh, and I promise not to use VORP or OPS+ to show that Dunn is having a better year than Howard.

  27. Adam Dunn = DH
    Howard is much better defensively.

    So is the Bobblehead a better reward than a T-Shirt? I figure with a T-Shirt everyone can see your fantasy greatness, while a bobblehead just sits around gathering dust.

  28. I figure with the bobblehead trophy (i don’t think it actually is a bobblehead, it just has similar characatures i guess), you can keep using it as THE trophy for the league and just keep passing it on from winner to winner, and we never have to do the silly plus thing again.

    I don’t think I would ever wear the t-shirt if I would win. I don’t want the whole world knowing how big of a sports nerd I am. It’s like ruskin with his poker shirt he bought with player points on poker stars with his middle name on the back of his shirt. Why do you want more people to know you have no life and spend most of your waking hours on a computer playing poker or fantasy sports? That’s just me though. I would only wear the gear around you guys to boast my superiority.

    Ok, VORP, the way I’m taking that, is if i’m taking it from your description. Is if baseball were to go on strike and have to use replacement players, this VORP takes into context those players skills and then compares it to the actual major leaguers who are on strike, and the players on strike get a certain percentage of points to say how much better they are. If that’s correct (from your description) that is the worst stat to use in any kind of professional comparison ever created.

  29. I did a bad job of explaining VORP (I believe I was drunk when we had that discussion).

    Let me begin by saying it’s not perfect, and I never imply that it is, but that it is a nice way to compare players.

    http://www.stathead.com/bbeng/woolner/vorpdescnew.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VORP

    The wikipedia entry has a nice opening, which is something that applies to pretty much any of the “weird” stats I use.

    “The currency of baseball is the out. There is a finite number of outs that a team can make in one game, and it is almost always 27 (or 3 outs/inning * 9 innings/game). A player consumes these outs to create runs, and at the simplest level, runs and outs are the only truly meaningful stats in baseball.”

    VORP uses a bunch of other stats and then assigns a value to your position. So if you take Pujols out of the lineup and put in someone who is below league average for that position, how would that affect your team? That is where stats like WAR (Wins above Replacement) come in (i think his WAR is 6.2 for the season, meaning you take him out of the lineup, and the Cards Pythagorean Theorem would drop 6 wins…does this make sense, again this is me trying to simplify. Check out any number of these sites, hell go to fangraphs, which is by far one of the coolest sites to read if you have any geekiness at all).

    The other thing to remember, the guys that came up with these stats (especially Bill James) did so by using the same stats we have available (H, BB, K, HR…etc). He just wanted to find different ways to compare players.

    As you have noticed, posting a huge stat line for two players is really difficult to determine who is better.

    Also, something to think about, OBP did not become a popular stat until the 70s (but even then it was considered a nerd stat), now even the most anti-stat person will accept it. Look how much is being made of UZR. Over time people become more tolerant of certain stats (especially when they make their favorite players look better…)

    Not saying VORP will ever be popular, but I honestly could see WAR, since everyone likes wins.

    No stats are perfect, the point of Sabermetric stats is kind of that the traditional stats are far from perfect, yet no one ever questions them…but wow, we are really getting off topic. Really though, I am willing to put money down that Mauer wins the MVP. And here is my final reason: writers love to write about the rigors of being a catcher and how even though he puts his body through such tremendous punishment, he still managed to hit .383 with XX HRs…

    Hell, most writers will probably just use their David Eckstein post-World Series articles and they will just take out descriptive words for Eck and insert new ones for Mauer.

  30. I love how these arguments always come back to the same thing.

    Here is my next question to help keep this post alive: What does the term MVP mean to you? Is it the best player in the league, or is it the best player on a playoff team. I do not want your speculation on what the writers usually vote for.

    I believe it should go to the best player, regardless of team.

    I mean, if next season Ambiorix Concepcion puts up this monster line: .492 BA/84 HRs/198 RBIs/149 SBs/0 Ks, yet the O’s still do not make the playoffs, he still deserves to win the MVP. And yes, this is the most ridiculous stat line ever, and definitely not at all good for an argument, but I just want everyone to know how much I believe in Ambiorix.

  31. You don’t think Anbiorix can pull off 200 rbis? Please, he could do that in his sleep. Maybe he won’t get called up until May though so he will be handicapped. After a slight dip in his sophomore season (.450/75/180), I think he probably hits .500 with 100 homeruns and 200 rbis. After that, no one will ever pitch to him and he will break a record with 500 walks in a seasons.

    Anyway…if you were standing in front of me and said “quick, what is an MVP to you in 1 second,” I would say the best player. When I was a kid I was always upset when player X had the best season but didn’t win the MVP. I can’t pull any examples at the moment, or even what sport it was, but I know it has come up. I am curious to compare how the MVP is determined in different sports:

    Baseball: Generally, I would say it is best player.
    Hockey: Player who is most important to his team.
    Basketball: There are always 3 or 4 players who could win, so they just kind of give each guy 1 until they all have won.
    Football: You have to be a quarterback and either lead a bad team to the playoffs, or put up ridiculous numbers.

    One example I can pull is from hockey, where Malkin clearly had a better season than Ovechkin, but because Malkin has more talent surrounding him (debatable) Alex won. I will try to think of some of the ones that angered me as a youngster.

  32. I would say the MVP for any sport is the best, but most popular player in any given year. The more you hear stories about someone being an MVP candidate, the more fan base they draw, leading to more MVP murmurs, leading to voting writers hearing more about them to write more stories and so on and so forth. SO. If Mauer continues on this tear for another week or 2, he will be the mvp regardless because you don’t hear anything about morneau, and despite his stellar season, texeira isn’t going to hit close to .380. The fact texeira is in the Yankees line up doesn’t help his cause because of how star-studded it is.

    If it came to putting money down on MVP this year. I would push on texeira/mauer. It’s really 50/50 right now I would say. The only way I vote completely for texeira or mauer is if Ambiorix says one is better than the other. But in no way, better than himself.

    Wow, this has been a popular post, eh? What’s the record for most comments on a single post for Ngewo’s Dirty Mind?

  33. Oh, by the way, I’m going to go post on your review of “Best Served Cold” now too…just one more comment for the gibber!

  34. This has surpassed last years post where we argued about Dunn/Howard as the most comments.

    Offord…I think over the last few years, you hear lots of people using the playoff thing as a way to distinguish between two players who are close. Unfortunately, some of those people have started making that the rule.

    They should just eliminate the MVP in the NL, and just declare Pujols MVP for life. Then they can debate each year who the MVPWINAP (Most Valuable Player Who Is Not Albert Pujols) is each year.

    Kern…I would go more like 75/25 for Mauer, but there is still plenty of baseball to be played. I will agree those two are probably the best bets.

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