Who's the American League MVP?

On sports radio, there is alot of discussion on the NL MVP, especially in comparing Sabathia and Ramirez’s half-seasons to Howard and Pujols’ full seasons.

But I think that the AL MVP is even tougher. If I went by numbers alone, A-Rod should get it again. If you look at all the numbers, his are the best. Milton Bradley didn’t have enough at-bats to be in the conversation, imho. To me, it’s between A-Rod, Youkilis and Quentin. But with A-Rod’s 18 stolen bases, I can’t see why you would put anyone above him.

Pujols should win it easily in the NL. He was consistent all year, not just the second half.

For the AL, I’d like to see Josh Hamilton get it. He won’t, since the Rangers were never contenders.

MVP is the guy who helped his team the most. It is not the numbers. The Yankees underachieved this year. That eliminates any Yank from consideration.
A few years ago a Dawson won for a last place team. That was a joke. He he was so valuable that they wound up last instead of what, last.

Your first sentence contradicts your second sentence and your fourth sentence.

There’s no way in hell he’ll win, but to my eyes the AL MVP is Joe Mauer, no doubt about it.

Agreed, but it’s rare that the MVP comes from a team that didn’t at least contend. Ideally I think the writers would give it to someone from Tampa, but it looks hard to pick a single candidate from that team. Rodriguez underachieved, at least by his standards. This reminds me of the year where a few good candidates split the vote and Pudge Rodriguez ended up winning in a surprise.

It should be Youkilis, it will be Pedroia. He’s not a horrible choice, but Youkilis has been better. The only real edge Pedroia has is games played, which is substantial.
Youkilis has the edge over both Carlos Quentin and A-Rod in games played, and their stats are close enough that that should make the difference.
There’s an interesting argument to be made for Grady Sizemore (very high playing time, great defense to go along with very good OPS), but his BA will kill any chance of winning in the real poll.

If I had a vote I’d go Youkilis / Sizemore / Pedrioa / ARod / Hamilton / Quentin.

Looking at the stats - boy, did Aubrey Huff have a good year out of nowhere.

ETA after seeing RickJay’s post - I forgot about Mauer. Put him 4th ahead of ARod.

So you’d pick Youkilis? I’ll counter that 89 wins for a team that lost their starting #1 pitcher, all-star catcher and left fielder for most of the year can’t be viewed as under-achievers this year. Additionally, they got nothing near expectations from their young center fielder, 2nd baseman and Hughes or Kennedy. Plus, Giambi, Abreu and Jeter had below-average seasons. In fact, the numbers show that the only Yankees that contributed more or at expectations were, A-Rod, Damon, Mussina and Rivera. Pre-season expectations for the Yankees would have been different had anyone known these things in advance. Who knows, without A-Rod the Yanks may have had a losing season. To me, there’s nothing that tells me that A-Rod DIDN’T “help his team the most”. In fact, combining his OPS, steals and fielding, A-Rod did indeed help his team more than any other AL player helped their teams…with the possible exception of Youkilis.

Based on Win Probability Added (and obviously depending on our ability to agree on what it is to “help your team,”) it was actually Mauer who did the most to improve his team’s chances of winning, followed by Quentin, then Pena, then Hamilton, and Youkilis is way down at 12th.

I don’t think Youkilis has that much of a case any way you slice it, honestly.

I was just reading Jayson Stark make the case for Dustin Pedroia:

I have to agree, with the principal criteria (for me) being that he helped his team the most and the team made the playoffs.

Just to Satisfy my own curiousity I went out and looked at all the stats I usually look at for four players mentioned : Mauer, Petroia, Youkilis, or ARod. These seem like the frontrunners to me…

Anyhow, here’s the stats:

Name/AB/BA/OBP/SLG/OPS/2B/HR/RBI/TB/Runs created per 27 outs/VORP

Mauer/533/.330/.415/.454/.869/31/9/85/242/6.9/56.4

Pedroia/653/.326/.376/.493/.869/54/17/83/322/6.85/62.3

Youkilis/538/.312/.390/.569/.958/43/29/115/306/7.8/55.8

ARod/510/.302/.392/.573/.965/33/35/103/292/7.89/65.6

The first one I’d drop is Youkilis. The main reason is that he’s a first baseman and his offensive production doesn’t set him all that far apart from his competitors.

Once you drop Youkilis, however, it gets much tougher for me. This is contrary to what I have posted weeks ago, but considering he’s a catcher I may have to go with Mauer even though he doesn’t have the sexy power numbers others have. He’s a damn good catcher and has a solid OPS.

This is pretty freakin’ wide open though. I wouldn’t even be too upset if they gave it to any one of a half dozen players I didn’t mention.

It would be very interesting if Manny Ramirez (or someone like him) could win the MVP in both leagues. Think about it. He plays half the season in the AL, rips the league apart, puts his team 20 games in the lead but because he’s such a destructive SOB, has impossible contract problems, etc. the team swaps him to the NL, where he has an even better second half, and takes his NL team from sub-.500 to the NL pennant. Meanwhile, back in the AL, his original team plays lousy ball and barely hangs on the lead they’d built while they had him.

Isn’t the guy I describe the MVP in both leagues?

I keep hearing it’ll be Dustin Pedroia.

I suspect it will be Justin Mourneau again.

But if I had a vote, it would go to Joe Mauer.

No way. To be valuable you have to elevate your team. The Yanks underachieved ,therefore nobody elevated them. Just like the Tigers. Nobody qualified because the team was well below expectations.
I vote Mauer.

That doesn’t make sense. As noted, several key players were injured or struggled for the Yankees while Rodriguez hit 35 home runs and drove in 100 again. He won’t win because he didn’t do as well as last year and the perception is that he struggled and didn’t hit in the clutch, but you make it sound like they were destined to win 89 games regardless of what he did.

The Yankees were significantly better than the Tigers.

The Yankees finished with a better record than the Twins.
If the Twins lose later today, will you change your vote?

If his teammates were much better this year, and Rodriguez was worse, would he be more valuable to his team, or less? Say, for instance, if every batter in the Yankee lineup had the same numbers as A-Rod, except like 5% worse. The team would presumably have won like 135 games, because it would score about 1250 runs, so would he definitely be the MVP then, because of how good his teammates were? Contrariwise, if Rodriguez had had a much better year, like .385/.515/. 720, but his team had performed worse in the standings, would he be more deserving or less deserving of MVP consideration? Would it even matter?

Hopefully you see where I’m going with this. Basing MVP voting on how one’s teammates perform (i.e. seeing whether they were “elevated” or not") is just a godawful way to do it. How’s a guy supposed to elevate his team in baseball, if not by, say, failing to make outs and striking the ball forcefully? (And if you like the sound of out-making-failure and forceful ball-striking, have I got some numbers for you!)

All of which is not to say, of course, that Rodriguez should be the MVP. But I mean, you can’t just pretend he didn’t have the season he had because some other guys weren’t as good as you thought they were going to be. It’s an award for the most valuable individual player, not the “player with the best numbers whose teammates performed most to someone’s expectations of their ability (or preferably above).”

I’ve always found it to be a fantastically stupid argument to say that the MVP’s team has to be a winning team or a playoff team. A given player has far too little effect on the overall outcome of a game, let alone a whole season.

35 HRs and 100 RBIs on a 72-90 team are worth exactly as many runs as on a 96-66 team. One could even make a pretty compelling argument that it’s harder to put up huge numbers on a bad team than a good one because pitchers are less likely to pitch to you when you don’t have a strong lineup around you. When a player is the only power hitter on a small budget team you might argue that he’s much more critical to that teams success than a player as part of a loaded lineup with other players to pick up the slack when you slump. Are 35 HRs more valuable on a team with a top 5 pitching staff than on a team that plays in a bunch of 9-8 games?

It’s a really silly argument.

I think Morneau, Mauer, Pedroia and Youkilis are all damn near equal to me, and if I were God-King I’d give it to Mauer simply because the Catcher position has the most intangible benefit on winning games. Watching Geo Soto everyday for the Cubs proved to me that he’s more responsible for the Cubs turnaround than everyone else combined. That said, with those 4 guys all on the same teams I wonder if Quentin will steal it as those 4 guys split their respective Homer votes, especially if the Sox win that play-in game tomorrow over the Twins.

I generally look at the MVP as being the best player overall in the season, and don’t put as much stock in their value for the team, but that’s just me. In the Al this year, I’d be inclined to go with A-Rod, but I also think Mauer would be a solid choice.

I’ve seen most every AL player this season in person, and Dustin Pedroia seemed the scariest and most important to his club. His speed on the base path opens up a lot of possibilities for abilities, plays good/great defense, smart player, hits well. If I could snatch one player from another team to put on my club, it would definitely be him.