NL MVP: Albert Pujols; I don’t subscribe to the theory that the MVP has to play for a contender, and Pujols is the best baseball player on planet Earth. If I had to pick from a contender, it would be (ugh) Chase Utley.
(Ataraxy, why would you pick Braun over Utley? Utley has a few more plate appearances, much higher OBP [more than making up for his deficit in SLG], just three fewer HRs, and, most importantly, he’s a good defensive up-the-middle player as opposed to Braun, a pedestrian Third Baseman. I just don’t see any good arguments for Braun over Utley.)
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, and it’s not all that close. Santana isn’t more deserving than Lincecum, but he is more deserving that anyone else, and should be a bigger part of the discussion than he apparently is.
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez, but this one is really wide open. Youkilis isn’t a bad pick, but I think Dustin Pedroia might actually be a better one. His offensive numbers aren’t quite as good, but he has over 100 more plate appearances than Youk, and he plays 2B instead of 1B. Cliff Lee should be in the discussion as well.
AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee.
I’ll have to think about the Rookies of the Year.
Actually, St. Louis is closer to the Wild Card than I thought, currently just 4 games out. Is that enough to classify them as a “contender”? If so, I can’t think of a legitimate alternative to Pujols for MVP.
I kinda do subscribe to the theory and the Brewers are a slightly better team than the Phillies, ergo Braun over Utley. Besides, Philadelphia has won the last few MVPs anyway. It’s time for a new team to get one.
I was firmly in the Brandon Webb camp, even living here in SF, until the last couple of weeks. But I have to go with Lincecum for the NL Cy Young. And I really can’t see much argument for anyone other than Cliff Lee in the AL. Rodriguez’s save number is very, very nice, of course, but starting pitcher Lee has better ERA and WHIP. I can’t vote the best reliever for Cy if the best starter has him beaten there.
No clear AL MVP to me, so I go with Youkilis. Same situation in the NL, but I think Pujols is a pretty easy pick.
AL MVP: I was all set to pick Morneau with his RBI’s and reasonable but I’ve got to go with Pedroia, I think. Some of the more obscure stats really did it for me like Runs Created. It’s pretty wide open though.
NL MVP: It has to be Pujols. The average, OBP, Runs Created, and Total Bases are way up there.
AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee
NL Cy Young: I’m really not blown away by anyone but Lincecum is as good as anyone.
Do I have to pick one? I guess I’ll go with Joe Mauer
NL MVP: Albert Pujols in a walk. He made an, at best, mediocre team into a contender.
AL Cy: I really want to give it to Halliday, but it really has to be** Cliff Lee**. The arguments for Halliday are his complete games and the fact that his competition has been much harder than Lee’s. It doesn’t quite make up the gap of performance though. Maybe a stellar finish can put him over Lee. Rodriguez wouldn’t be in my choices for top 3 relievers, let alone garner a Cy Young vote.
AL MVP: All the numbers point to Pedroia, but I really hate to see a guy get MVP this early in his career. Not that he doesn’t deserve it, but that just puts so much pressure on him for the rest of his career. Youkilis is also a good choice, as is A-Rod. A couple of outside chances: Josh Hamilton of the Rangers and Vlad Guerrero of the Angels.
NL MVP: As good as Pujols is, I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest Carlos Delgado of the Mets. After getting off to a slow start, he has absolutely caught fire and inspired the rest of the team. That’s one of those things that doesn’t show up in the stats that, for me, defines the MVP.
AL Cy: Cliff Lee loks like a shoo-in, but Halladay could contend with a big finish.
NL Cy: If Webb can get off his slump and finally win his 20th plus a couple more, I like him for it more than Lincecum.
Half an ERA point is fairly significant. Lee is ahead in virtuously all the advance stats (other then K rate) by small but clear amounts. It is a bit closer then I thought though. Let’s see how the final few weeks play out.
I wonder if Delgado was decent instead of horrible the first couple months he would be getting consideration. The first two month count in the standings too, and are the reason the Mets haven’t run away and hid. Delgado has been the third most valuable player in the category of Met infielders.
There’s still 18 games left to go and a lot of guys could make moves. But so far my choices would be:
AL MVP: Joe Mauer, Twins. Doesn’t have the flashy homers, but he’s a high percentage hitter and the best defensive catcher in the majors. I know, everyone wants an RBI man, but I’ll take the defensive standout catcher who’s hitting .322.
AL CY: Cliff Lee, Indians. Hard to argue with his stats.
NL MVP: Albert Pujols, Cardinals. He’s just a monster. What are ya gonna do?
NL CY: Tim Lincecum, Giants. Hardly anyone noticed the guy and he’s freaking awesome.
I’ll list who I think should win, followed by who I think will win.
NL MVP: Pujols should win by a mile, and I think he’ll eke it out in a close vote. The only other reasonable candidate is Lance Berkman, IMO. Delgado, although one of my favorite players, isn’t the best or most valuable player on his team. And a special shout out to Chipper Jones, who’s having an incredible year when he’s healthy.
AL MVP: This is so wide open… part of me wants to say Milton Bradley, part A-Rod. But if I had a vote I’d vote for Kevin Youkilis. I think Justin Morneau will win if the Twins make the playoffs, otherwise I think Youkilis gets it.
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum should win, Brandon Webb will win. Voters favor wins a bit too much. CC Sabathia is the dark horse candidate.
AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee should win and will win. Halladay has an outside chance if he gets super hot in the last couple of weeks.
For ROY - are there really any other candidates besides Geovany Soto and Evan Longoria? I can’t think of any…
First, if we just take the old-fashioned triple crown stats (AVE, HR, RBI), Pedroia leads the league only in average, and is not even in the top 20 in the other two.
Now, i would never argue that we should select the MVP based on these stats, as they’re not a very good indication at all, especially the ridiculous RBI stat.
But what, then do we use? And where does Pedroia stack up in the alternative stats?
How about OBP? Or SLG? Or the even better OPS? Among batters with enough plate appearances, Pedroia doesn’t make the top 10 in any of them.
Even if we go with even more sophisticated stats like Runs Created, as suggested by drm, Pedroia is behind Hamilton, Huff, and Sizemore. Now, you might argue that those three players, because they play on non-contending teams, should not be in the running, but that’s not the same as saying that “all the numbers point to Pedroia.”
Of course, another thing to consider is that Pedroia fields at a difficult position, and he is probably more valuable to his team than, say, a first baseman or a left fielder with similar batting stats. This year he has been, according to Baseball Prospectus, a perfectly average fielding second baseman. His Rate is 100, and his FRAA is 0, putting him smack in the middle of second basemen. Still, he’s more valuable to his team in the field than first basemen/DH types like Huff.
I should make clear my prejudices here, though, by stating that i hate—absolutely detest—the idea that any player should be rejected from MVP contention simply because they play for a crappy team. I don’t give a flying fuck if the guy’s team is running away with the Division, stuck in a close wild card race, or languishing at .375.
As someone said upthread, Albert Pujols is fucking awesome. He’s been, consistently over the past 5 years, one of the best 2 or 3 players in baseball every year. This would not change is he was playing for the Kansas City Royals or the Washington Nationals.
Yeah, Bradley’s had quite a year. One thing that works against him though is that he only has about 380 at-bats, which is about 100 fewer than other contenders like Rodriguez and Youkilis, and almost 200 fewer than Texas’ Hamilton.
NL MVP: Should be Pujols for sure. Could definitely see Delgado taking it in Real Life.
NL Cy: Lincecum should win it; whether or not he does depends mostly on how Webb finishes.
NL ROY: Soto, definitely. The easiest one on here I think.
AL MVP: Obviously the most wide open of them. Mauer is the most valuable on the Twins, Youk is the most valuable on the Red Sox; Morneau and Pedroia respectively will likely get more votes than either of those two. All of them splitting all sorts of votes makes this a mish-mash. If Quentin doesn’t get injured, I’d say that would be to his benefit, but… yeah. Sizemore may have had the most statistically impressive season. A-Rod is A-Rod. Geez. Put me up against the wall and I’ll say that I think Mauer should be the winner, but I almost guarantee he won’t win it. Stellar defense at a premium position + stellar OBP at a premium position = huge combination of value, and huge combination of things the BBWAA could give a damn about.
AL Cy: Lee should run away with it, Halladay should run away with second. K-Rod will finish near the top, when frankly I’m not sure he’d make the top ten on my ballot. Off the top of my head, I’d put Lee-Halladay-Santana-Lester-Nathan-Soria-Papelbon-Rivera all ahead of K-Rod. And that’s without thinking about it too hard.
AL ROY: Longoria is the odds on favorite, assuming he does come back and get another couple of weeks in. He’s missed quite a bit of time, and his stats are excellent of course but not THAT overwhelming. If you’d asked me two weeks ago I might have said Armando Galaragga, but he’s added almost a half run to his ERA the last two times out. That said, if he finishes strong, it’s hard to sneeze at 180 IP and an ERA under 3.5 in the AL as a rookie. Alexei Ramirez in a distant third, though in reality he may well contend for the award.
A-Rod and Pujols are currently the best players in their respective leagues, maybe of their generation, but I think there is a difference between best player and MVP. I am not sure what that difference is, however. I believe MVP should be considered year-to-year and not be a lifetime achievement award. I also hate dynasties. Maybe that’s why I hated Bonds winning year after year, even though he was obviously the best player of my lifetime. Or maybe it was because Bonds is a douche. You decide.
I concede that Lee and Lincecum should probably win the Cys. Although I still think K-Rod should be runner-up in the AL over Doc.
Just thought i’d add a quick update, which was brought to my attention by the guys at the awesome Fire Joe Morgan blog.
If the rest of the BBWAA members are as retarded as the Tampa Bay chapter, we can expect the following awards this year:
AL MVP: David Eckstein
NL MVP: Juan Pierre
AL Cy Young: Daniel Cabrera
NL Cy Young: Jeff Suppan
Seriously, these guys voted Jason Bartlett as MVP for the Rays this year. Part of their rationale was:
According to Baseball Prospectus, Bartlett’s fielding Rate2 (adjusted and normalized) this year is 97 (100 is average), and his FRAA is -6. So, not only has Bartlett not been a great shortstop this year, he has not even been an average one.
By contrast, standing to Bartlett’s right at third base, Evan Longoria has an adjusted Rate of 118, and an FRAA of +16. If you want to look for the origins of the Rays’ defensive improvements this year, you might look at Longoria before naming Bartlett as MVP.
Of course, it’s hitting that really counts in these things, and here the choice of Bartlett becomes even more unbelievable. About the only stat where Bartlett ranks near the top of his own team is in Batting Average, where his .288 average puts him second among Rays with more than 400 at-bats.
But it just gets worse from there. His OBP of .328 puts him behind Longoria, Navarro, Iwamura, Pena, and Upton, and all five of those hitters are also ahead of him in slugging, some by well over 100 points. It’s not even close.
Baseball Prospectus gives his WARP3 for this year as 4.1, while Iwamura is 7.0, Navarro is 8.4, Longoria is 9.2, Upton is 9.2, and Pena is 9.3. Baseball Reference gives Bartlett’s OPS+ as 86 (100 is league average).
Bartlett is, possibly, the sixth-best hitter on his team, and is a below-average fielding shortstop. And i haven’t even looked at the Tampa Bay pitchers. I’m willing to bet that at least two (Kazmir and Shields) have been more valuable to the team this year than Bartlett.