|BBWAA Still Cannot Get MVP Voting Right||| Print ||
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on November 27, 2007
Once again, the Baseball Writers Association of America, otherwise known as the BBWAA, has released the results of their votes for the Most Valuable Player Awards. Once again, they have missed the vote entirely. Sometimes one must wonder if the BBWAA actually watches a game of baseball or spends the entire game in the press box, surfing the internet and scarfing down that fourth hot dog.
In the American League, the right player won the award: Alex Rodriguez was clearly the best player and deserved the award by a unanimous vote. However, two writers saw fit to give the Detroit Tigers’ Magglio Ordonez two first place votes.
Now, why does Rodriguez clearly outpace Ordonez? Let’s take a look at the stats.
Most writers usually vote the player who performed best in the Triple Crown categories as the league’s MVP. Rodriguez was first in both home runs and runs batted in, but didn’t finish in the top ten in batting average. Ordonez, on the other hand, finished first in batting average, second in RBIs, and seventh in home runs.
For voters who consider their candidates a little bit further, they look a player’s ability to get on base, which is seen as the best measure of a hitter’s abilities; ability to hit for power, which is measured by slugging percentage; and the combination of the two, as measured by on-base plus slugging percentage or OPS.
Rodriguez was fourth in getting on base, first in slugging, and first in OPS. Ordonez finished second in on base percentage, fourth in slugging, and fourth in OPS. As can be deferred, Rodriguez was easily the better all-around hitter and he easily should have won the award unanimously.
However, the National League was no exception. Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies won the award, when he wasn’t even the most valuable player who played on the left side of an infield in the National League East. Let’s delve further.
On every ballot for the BBWAA, it specifically states that, “The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.” So everything that sportswriters say about a player needing to come from a playoff team is bogus; teams qualify for the postseason, not single players. It’s unfair to penalize a player for having the wrong teammates. This means the best player deserves the award, regardless of how his team finished.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to David Wright, the third baseman of the New York Mets. He outclassed Rollins as a hitter by having more hits, getting on base more often, slugging better, hitting more home runs, and driving in more runs. He’s everything one would need when handing out the hardware.
Except for the fact that Wright wasn’t the best player on the left side of the infield in the National League East. That would be Hanley Ramirez, shortstop of those loveable Florida Marlins. And yes, they still exist.
Ramirez beat Rollins in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, doubles, and stolen bases. He beat Wright in batting average, slugging percentage, hits, doubles, triples, and stolen bases. In fact, Ramirez was so good that he finished second in the major leagues in VORP, a “computer nerd” statistic that measures the value of a player over a replacement player (i.e., one easily available from Class AAA or via free agency). Ramirez was the best player not named Alex Rodriguez last season. However, he finished tenth, only four places ahead of the closer of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Jose Valverde.
The voters need to spend a little more time on their votes for the MVP awards. There were two egregious errors this year, and likely more to come.