Baseball BeatNovember 22, 2006
RBI, RBI, RBI . . .
By Rich Lederer

The 2006 Most Valuable Player voting results have been tabulated...and the winners are Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau!


Player            Team  1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Pts  
Ryan Howard       PHI   20  12  -   -   -   -   -   -   -    -   388  
Albert Pujols     STL   12  19  1   -   -   -   -   -   -    -   347  
Lance Berkman     HOU   -   -   21  4   3   2   1   -   1    -   230  
Carlos Beltran    NYM   -   1   5   15  6   2   2   1   -    -   211  
Miguel Cabrera    FLA   -   -   2   6   10  5   5   1   2    -   170  
Alfonso Soriano   WAS   -   -   1   2   4   6   1   7   2    1   106  
Jose Reyes        NYM   -   -   1   1   5   5   3   4   1    2    98  
Chase Utley       PHI   -   -   -   1   -   6   7   10  1    1    98  
David Wright      NYM   -   -   1   1   2   2   5   2   3    1    70  
Trevor Hoffman    SD    -   -   -   2   1   1   1   2   2    7    46  
Andruw Jones      ATL   -   -   -   -   -   1   2   1   5    3    29  
Carlos Delgado    NYM   -   -   -   -   1   1   1   -   2    4    23  
Nomar Garciaparra LA    -   -   -   -   -   -   2   -   3    4    18  
Rafael Furcal     LA    -   -   -   -   -   -   1   -   3    1    11  
Garrett Atkins    COL   -   -   -   -   -   1   -   1   -    2    10  
Matt Holliday     COL   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1   2    3    10  
Aramis Ramirez    CHC   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1   1    -     5  
Freddy Sanchez    PIT   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   2    1     5  
Chris Carpenter   STL   -   -   -   -   -   -   1   -   -    -     4  
Chipper Jones     ATL   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1   -    -     3  
Mike Cameron      SD    -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1    -     2  
Jimmy Rollins     PHI   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1    -     2  
Bronson Arroyo    CIN   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -    1     1  
Jason Bay         PIT   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -    1     1


Player            Team  1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Pts  
Justin Morneau    MIN   15  8   3   2   -   -   -   -   -    -   320  
Derek Jeter       NYY   12  14  -   1   -   1   -   -   -    -   306  
David Ortiz       BOS   -   1   11  5   7   3   1   -   -    -   193  
Frank Thomas      OAK   -   3   4   7   7   4   1   -   -    -   174  
Jermaine Dye      CWS   -   1   2   6   5   7   4   2   1    -   156  
Joe Mauer         MIN   -   -   3   6   1   2   5   3   2    1   116  
Johan Santana     MIN   1   -   5   1   3   3   3   1   1    3   114  
Travis Hafner     CLE   -   1   -   -   -   2   4   7   3    2    64  
Vladimir Guerrero LAA   -   -   -   -   -   2   3   4   6    -    46  
Carlos Guillen    DET   -   -   -   -   1   -   3   3   2    3    34  
Grady Sizemore    CLE   -   -   -   -   1   -   1   1   2    7    24  
Jim Thome         CWS   -   -   -   -   -   1   3   -   -    -    17  
Alex Rodriguez    NYY   -   -   -   -   1   -   -   2   -    1    13  
Jason Giambi      NYY   -   -   -   -   -   1   -   -   1    -     9  
Johnny Damon      NYY   -   -   -   -   1   -   -   -   -    1     7  
Justin Verlander  DET   -   -   -   -   1   -   -   -   -    1     7  
Ichiro Suzuki     SEA   -   -   -   -   -   1   -   -   1    -     7  
Joe Nathan        MIN   -   -   -   -   -   1   -   -   -    1     6  
Manny Ramirez     BOS   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1   1    1     6  
Miguel Tejada     BAL   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   2    1     5  
Raul Ibanez       SEA   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1   -    1     4  
Robinson Cano     NYY   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1   -    -     3  
Paul Konerko      CWS   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1   -    -     3  
Magglio Ordonez   DET   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1   -    -     3  
Vernon Wells      TOR   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1    1     3  
Carl Crawford     TB    -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1    -     2  
Mariano Rivera    NYY   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1    -     2  
Kenny Rogers      DET   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1    -     2  
Chien-Ming Wang   NYY   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   1    -     2  
Troy Glaus        TOR   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -    1     1  
Gary Matthews Jr. TEX   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -    1     1  
A.J. Pierzynski   CWS   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -    1     1  
Michael Young     TEX   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -    1     1  

There were 32 voters in the NL and 28 in the AL. Two writers per team. The results left me scratching my head on Monday and Tuesday.

Howard picked up 20 of the 32 first place votes. Morneau received 15 of the 28. The NL MVP placed first or second on every ballot. The AL MVP finished no lower than fourth.

I "voted" for Albert Pujols and Derek Jeter. I still feel good about both. But what do I know? I had Howard fourth and Morneau seventh!

Pujols and Howard were close, but it's much easier to make an argument for the former than the latter. Pujols (.331/.431/.671) beat Howard (.313/.425/.659) across the board in AVG/OBP/SLG. He led the league in OPS (1102). They both play first base - Pujols like the Gold Glove winner he was; Howard like a DH. In short, Pujols, not Howard, was the best player in the league.

I realize that Howard (58) hit more HR than Pujols (49). He also had more RBI (149 to 137). Good for him on both fronts. But if we are going to make a big deal about RBI, what about runs scored? Pujols had 119. Howard had 104. Albert had more RBI plus R than Howard. Subtract the double counting from the roundtrippers and the gap widens to 12. Yes, Pujols produced a dozen more runs than Howard.

Now I don't want to overstate the importance of runs batted in or runs scored, particularly as standalone stats. Instead, my purpose is to point out the foolishness of paying so much attention to RBI, especially at the expense of R. I recognize that voters have valued this stat highly now for a number of years but that doesn't make it right.

Moving on to the AL, Morneau's selection is even more difficult to comprehend. He was second in the league in RBI (130) behind David Ortiz (137). Ortiz, in fact, had more RBI and R (115 to 97) than Morneau, yet finished third in the voting. Ortiz also had a much higher OBP (.413 to .375) and SLG (.636 to .559) than Morneau. Other than the differences in positions, it is hard for me to even understand how one could vote for the Minnesota first baseman over the Boston designated hitter.

Mind you, I'm not trying to make a case for Ortiz per se. I'm only pointing out that he was at least as worthy as Morneau. Writers apparently got behind their MVP choice based on what he did from June 7 through the end of the season. Look, I don't want to dismiss his contributions and how they coincided with the fortunes of the Twins, but don't the first two months count, too? Justin was as responsible for the team's shortcomings in April and May as he was for the club's surge in June through September.

I believe Morneau was no better than the third most valuable player on his own team. Yes, I have no doubt that Joe Mauer and Johan Santana were more deserving than their teammate. Mauer led the league in batting average (.347) and had a significantly higher OBP (.429) while playing a more important and demanding position at or near the highest level in the game.

Santana led the majors in ERA (2.77), wins (19), and strikeouts (245) - the Triple Crown of Pitching. Although a starting pitcher only takes the mound every fifth game, they have just as much impact as hitters. To wit, Santana faced 923 batters last year and was partly or wholly responsible for 701 outs. Morneau had 661 plate appearances.

Morneau was 10th in the league in Runs Created Above Average. I know this much for sure: if a 1B who adds little or no value in the field or on the base paths is 10th in an all encompassing hitting stat like RCAA, he ain't the MVP.

ESPN's Keith Law wrote an excellent diatribe on the MVP selections (subscription required):

I think all carping about the NL MVP voters getting their choice wrong must immediately cease. The AL's voters couldn't even correctly identify the most valuable Twin, never mind wrapping their heads around a whole league.

The reality of baseball is that a great offensive player at an up-the-middle position is substantially more valuable than a slightly better hitter at a corner position. And when that up-the-middle player is one of the best fielders at his position in baseball, there's absolutely no comparison. Joe Mauer was more valuable than Justin Morneau this past season. If you don't understand that, you don't understand the first thing about baseball.

Dayn Perry of FOX Sports wrote an equally profound piece:

The fact that Howard had more RBI is a result of the fact that he had more RBI opportunities - period. As well, consider how their 2006 numbers (AVG/OBP/SLG) compare in certain RBI situations:
Player    w/RISP           w/Runners on base    w/RISP and two outs 
Howard   .256/.423/.518    .287/.436/.644       .247/.468/.480 
Pujols   .397/.535/.802    .343/.475/.729       .435/.581/.826

There's just no comparison. Pujols, quite plainly, was better than Howard in RBI situations, and it's not a particularly close call. Again, Howard had more RBI because he had more opportunities. This is say nothing of the fact that Howard played his home games in a park that's much more accommodating toward hitters.

Law and Perry got it right. Kudos to them. I wish I could say the same for the writers who voted for these awards.


As always, there are some ridiculous votes thrown in there. Who could honestly vote for "Brandon" Arroyo or Mike Cameron? I think if the voters were only allowed 5 votes, there would be less hometown/in-joke/my-go-to-clubhouse-guy votes in the 8-10 slots. But then again, we are dealing with some notoriously short-sighted and petty voters.

To another point, for anyone who would like insight into the mindset of an irresponsible MVP voter, look no further than Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. He is the man who voted Jeter 6th, which seems very harsh, but could theoretically be justifiable.
However, if you listen to the conversation linked below, between Cowley and the always abrasive and dismissive Mike and the Mad Dog of NY talk radio fame, he doesn't make it very clear why he voted the way he did.

I posted my diatribe on the AL selection in the comments section of Extreme Fantasy Baseball, but I wholeheartedly agree. Morneau's selection reveals, once again, that most baseball writers are poor evaluators of 'value'.

Anytime Keith Law and Dan Perry agree, I'll disagree. Both those guys need real jobs in life instead of critisizing every little thing they don't happen to agree with just to write something. It's like they're addicted to writing and are always looking for topics no matter what the subject. How do they know how to judge a player? Just be looking at stats? Pleaseee! Stats are better for judging minor leaguer players and their projected futures before they arrive in the majors. I bet those 2 clowns couldn't win in a rotissirie league. By the way, e-mail me when Pujols hits 58 home runs and his team has a better recored that the Phillies do.

How bout I email you when Pujol's team wins the World Series?

If you aren't going to use stats to measure a player, then surely you should measure them by their teams sucess?

Or how about jeter over Morneau? Last time I checked, Yanks had a better record than the Twins.

The voting was done before the World Series. Sorry you didn't know that, dummy.

I think it's generally accepted that the people who vote on these things (MVP, Gold Glove, etc.) have very little idea what they're doing, and the times when they do get it right, it's purely by coincidence.

Regardless, I think the most important prolem with the MVP voting process in particular is that no two voters (or fans for that matter!) have the same definition of what "Most Valuable Player" means. If you want to have a serious discussion about who the "most valuable player" is, first you've got to get everyone in the conversation to agree what the "most valuable player" is.

I am really surprised that you bolstered your argument in favor of Pujols over Howard by referring to the myth of "double-counting" home runs when calculating runs produced. I thought that this approach to calculating a player's runs produced had been discarded years ago! The concept of adding runs scored to RBI and subtracting home runs in order to calculate "Runs Produced" is non-sensical on it's face. A simple example will illustrate my point.... Let's say the Cardinals are playing the Phillies and in the first inning, Eckstein walks, steals 2nd, and Pujols drives him in with a single. In the bottome of the first, Howard hits a solo home run to tie the score. In the 3rd inning, Howard hits another solo home run, putting the Phillies up 2-1. In the 7th inning, Pujols reaches base on an error and is driven in by Rolen's double to tie the score at 2-2. In the bottom of the 9th, Howard hits his 3rd solo homer of the game and the Phillies win, 3-2. Now lets' look at the Runs Produced totals. Eckstein gets 1 for his run scored. Pujols gets one for his RBI and one for his run scored. Rolen gets 1 for his RBI. Howard gets 3 for his 3 runs scored, and 3 for his RBI, minus 3 for his homers, for a net of 3 Runs Produced. If we then add the totals we get 4 for St Louis (Eckstein 1, Pujols 2, Rolen 1) and only 3 for the Phillies (Howard 3). If the Cardinals had 4 'Runs Produced' and the Phillies only had 3, how is it that the Phillies won the game and not the Cardinals??? Clearly, subtracting Howard's homers from his Runs Produced total for this game resulted in a nonsensical result. A much better approach would be to just add runs scored to RBI and divide the sum by two. In the game I just described, this would result in the following Runs Produced totals: Eckstein 0.5, Pujols 1.0, Rolen, 0.5, and Howard 3.0. The team totals would be 2.0 for St Louis and 3.0 for the Phillies, which is, not coincidently, the actual number of runs each team scored in the game! I apologize if I seem to be belaboring the point, but I'd love to drive a stake thru the heart of the old canard about "double-counting" homers once and for all! Oh and by the way, in the your discussion of the American League results I noticed that you didn't mention double-counting. Is that because Ortiz hit 18 more homers than Morneau? Hmmmmm.

I don't mean to spam, but Keith Olberman is on ESPN radio claiming that Jeter should have won the MVP becuase he, like Pujols, had no one else around him driving in runs.

That's right, Jeter's supporting cast was inferior to Morneau's, so Jeter should have won. Keith Olberman, baseball genius.

Lets be honest here a player from the best team in the American league should have won the MVP. If your confused by who the best team in the AL was then read no further, your to focused on the #'s and not the game of baseball.

There were 3 choices the guy who hit .321 with 34 HR's the guy who hit .347 with 13 Hr's and the guy that was the best pitcher in baseball.

Lets look at the three

Johan Santana, clear cut Cy Young, but the 2.77 and 19 wins just isn't enough to win MVP, he deserved his 1 first place votes and many more votes down the ballot, but he wasn't league MVP he wasn't even the teams best starting pitcher for most of the summer.

Joe Mauer, well if Derek Jeter should have been MVP Mauer should have been MVP more. Problem is Mauer took an off day or 2 every week, and when he did the team didn't suffer at all as Mike Redmond matched his batting performance.

Then you have the everyday kid at first base who was outhitting Mauer, and adding power the entire second half. And the Morneau brought with it a run saving glove at first base.

You take eveything into account best team in baseball, biggest reason for that teams success, and the fact that one of his teammates who was better in some catagories was also better then Jeter in those catagories, and the guy who won it should have.

Joe Mauer will win his some day, but he still needs to put together the total package, and Derek Jeter just isn't that good. He had his best year ever and it wasn't good enough. Heck of a bat to insert into that Yankee lineup but if he was a real MVP he wouldn't be part of the reason the Yankees lose in the playoffs every year.

If driving in runs is so vital, wouldn't the fact Derek Jeter hit .381 w/RISP or 21 points better than Mauer, 58 points better than Morneau, 92 points better than Ortiz, and 93 points better than Frank Thomas be an integral factor in the voting?

Pujols and Jeter should've won, but we'll now call the award the HRs and RBI counter.


1. Jeter had a better year in '99 than in '06.
2. The idea that the Yankees "lose every year" is simply ridiculous. They've been in the playoffs every year he has played. They've won four championships and been in the World Series six times in 11 seasons. That's a remarkable record. And you can't solely attribute the wins or losses solely to Jeter, as everyone knows.
3. Where is your proof that the Twins were the best team in the AL. By definition, the Yankees were the best team in the regular season and the Tigers were the best in the postseason.
4. How did Morneau "out-hit" Mauer? That's non-specific.
5. The idea that Jeter "just isn't good" is preposterous. Jeter is far above "good" by almost any standards.

"It's like they're addicted to writing and are always looking for topics no matter what the subject. "

You do understand that these men are sportswriters, correct? What is it you expect them to do exactly? Tax returns? There aren't many baseball games being played in mid-November, thus they're going to write about little things like MVP awards and ludicrous contract signings (Gary Matthews Jr. just signed!).

"Stats are better for judging minor leaguer players and their projected futures before they arrive in the majors."

Yes, there are stats for that. There are also stats for lots of other things; for instance, any variety of stats can tell you with a great degree of accuracy that Pujols was the best player in the NL this year. And without a single number, I can tell you Pujols was the better hitter (in a park less suited to hitters no less), the better base runner, and a vastly superior defender at the same position. But it's not like objectivity, facts, or sound logic matter in MVP voting.

By the way, e-mail me when Pujols hits 58 home runs and his team has a better recored that the Phillies do.

I heard that Pujols played October baseball this year, maybe won a few games?

Going down the list of comments...

I believe a case can be made for including Mike Cameron in the top ten in the NL MVP voting. Although his rate stats (.268/.355/.482) are less than eye popping, remember he played half of his game at spacious Petco Park. He had 65 XBH (including 22 HR), 77 BB + HBP, stole 25 bases at an acceptable rate of 73%, and hit into only 8 double plays. His OPS+ of 119 is pretty good considering his position and defensive prowess. Cameron was tied for ninth in Win Shares and tied for eighth in Win Shares Above Bench. In my judgment, he was the most valuable player on the division-winning Padres, moreso than Trevor Hoffman who placed 10th in the balloting.

Without knowing anything more than what you wrote, Walt, I'll take my chances with Keith Law and Dayn Perry over your inherent biases. By the way, I always get a kick out of those who put down stats and then use them in supporting their very own arguments. Lastly, I am serving you notice about the personal nature and tone of your comments. This site has attracted a core group of passionate and informed baseball fans that I am proud to be associated with, and I will not tolerate a troll to come in and bash other readers. If you want to offer a dissenting viewpoint based on facts, that's not only OK but welcomed. [end of lecture]

I'm not going to try and defend my "double counting" argument. I'm not a big fan of RBI and R as standalone stats anyway. But if you're going to use one, then it only makes sense to use them both. However, as it relates to RBI + R, Pujols had more than Howard, and Ortiz had more than Morneau (with or without the "double counting"). Runs Created (which, in its simplest definition, is OBP x Total Bases) is a much better gauge of run production. Runs Created Above Average (which adds more context by adjusting for era and home ballparks) is an even better measure. Runs Created per 27 outs provides a rate stat that is also meaningful, particularly if adjusted for context.

Last but not least, if one wants to make a case for Howard, I would do so by stating that he was #1 in Total Bases and Times on Base rather than #1 in HR and RBI. Howard had the best counting stats of anybody in the league. However, let the record show that he played in a more friendly hitting environment (park factor of 103) than Pujols (98).

There is little to quibble about Howard and Pujols offensively. Howard played in more games and in a better ballpark, plus he had more opportunities to knock home runs than Pujols. According to Jim Baker of Baseball Prospectus, "Howard batted with more men on base than anybody else in the National League: 509. That's over 80 more than Pujols and Berkman, 99 more than fifth-place vote getter Miguel Cabrera, and 132 more than fourth-place finisher Carlos Beltran." That's a significant advantage and the only reason he had more RBI than Pujols.

If we were talking about the Silver Slugger, I would be more or less indifferent as to Howard or Pujols. I would favor Pujols but not by enough to get all hot and bothered about. However, when it comes to the MVP, I believe Pujols' superior defense and base running push the debate clearly in his favor.

Good comments Rich, and thank you for keeping a strong grip on the tone and tenor of this board. There are plenty of baseball blogs that get just horribly abusive. I appreciate that this is a place for balanced, intelligent and mature discussion on this great game.

Now, for Morneau. I think I have the answer. I think it has less to do with stats in this case and more to do with the mystique surrounding the remarkable turn-around of the 2006 season for the Twins. It is seen as no coincidence that they screamed along at almost a .700 pace over close to 100 games right when Justin got red hot. During that period he was driving in a run per game and slamming homers every third game. In June through July he was 77/199 for a .387 average with 18 homers and 52 RBI. He was nowhere near as hot before or after that streak, but this is what drove the Twins - and I think this is where he won the award. People in general, and sports writers specifically, love the "story" behind the numbers. Here you have a real life hero to tag a medal to for an amazing season by what was believed to be a less than stellar group heading into the season.

I agree that "most valuable" is too ambiguous a term to consistently bring agreement on who deserves that designation. I looked at Pujols's RISP stats and his game-winning RBIs, both of which easily trumped Howard's. If "most valuable" is supposed to designate who helped his team more, then Pujols is the easy winner. If it means "stat king," it's still debatable. It's a given Pujols is the better fielder, but are there any stats on runs saved or run-costing errors to further define that comparison? In the end I think it's time the BBWA set some clear criteria for MVP. Then at least we could quit comparing apples & oranges.

Thanks, Dave. There is no question in my mind that Morneau was awarded the MVP in the AL based on a combination of his RBI total and the "story" (using your word) behind the numbers as you described.

I even acknowledged this fact in the article: "Writers apparently got behind their MVP choice based on what he did from June 7 through the end of the season. Look, I don't want to dismiss his contributions and how they coincided with the fortunes of the Twins, but don't the first two months count, too? Justin was as responsible for the team's shortcomings in April and May as he was for the club's surge in June through September."

Hey, there's a part of me that is happy Morneau got the nod. He was on my fantasy baseball team and our league gives cash payouts for MVP and CYA honorees. But the objective side of me says he was a poor choice, and I haven't seen anything yet to convince me otherwise.


According to Baseball Prospectus, Pujols was +18 in Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA). Howard was -14. That's a 32 run difference over the course of the season. In other words, while Pujols was one of the absolute best at run prevention, Howard was a butcher in the field and is much better suited for a DH role.

Here's what I don't understand about this years' voting: Who on Earth gave Derek Jeter a 6th place vote and, even worse to a degree, who gave David Ortiz a 7th place vote?! That seems pretty ridiculous. I mean, I know in the past some voters have actually left worthy players off their ballots completely, but if you're not going to do that, that means those voters actually believed that there were 5 and 6 players (respectively) more valuable than Jeter and Ortiz? Even the 7 5th and 3 6th place votes for Ortiz seems a bit ridiculous to me. Any thoughts on that?

I had Ortiz fifth so I probably can't provide too much support for him (other than what I already have offered), although I will say I had him ranked higher than Morneau.

More disturbing to me is that five writers didn't include Mauer on their ballots and seven failed to vote for Santana. Yes, nearly 20% of the voters couldn't find room for the first catcher to lead all of MLB in batting average while playing Gold Glove-type defense.

Similarly, 25% of the voters thought there were at least 10 more valuable players than the best pitcher in the game, someone who became just the eighth different hurler (covering a total of 13 seasons) to lead the majors in ERA, W, and SO.

I was even baffled by the lack of respect for Sizemore, a player I ranked fourth. I guess .290/.375/.533 with 53 2B, 11 3B, 28 HR, and 22 SB as a CF wasn't good enough. That's mystifying to me.

I find it hard to justify selection of players on loaded teams. You take any one Yankee, including Jeter, off the Yankees, they make the playoffs. How is that "most valuable" then? People are using poor arguments - "Jeter plays Gold Glove defense." Yeah, Gold Gloves he obviously deserves as much as Bret Boone did over Orlando Hudson. Jeter is on a team with how many Hall of Famers and former MVPs? An MVP, to me, has to be indispensible. No single Yankee fits that description. Furthermore anyone who complains about Jeter not winning has to face up to the fact that on a team that couldn't score as many runs, Carlos Guillen was a better candidate.

When it comes to the pure numbers, Jeter can't match up to the other guys. If positions are so important to the mix than Andruw Jones should've clearly beaten out Albert Pujols when he hit 50 home runs whenever that was, a year ago. And where were the number crunchers when Derrek Lee was way back in the MVP voting in 2005? It's cherrypicking. Vote on the best numbers, or the best numbers from a premium position, or best numbers on a playoff team, there is little consistency.

Derrek Lee finished 3rd in voting for a team that was 21 games back in their division. The #2 guy was Andruw Jones, who hit 50 HRs and single handedly carried the Braves the entire year. And the #1 guy was Albert Pujols, who was even better than Lee (and everyone else) and led his team to the best record in baseball. No one complained because the BBWAA actually got the vote right in 2005--at least as far as MVP voting is concerned. They still screwed up the Cy Youngs.

"I find it hard to justify selection of players on loaded teams." I don't understand this comment, almost all players who finished in the top ten in the MVP voting process were on winning teams. To some extent all of those teams were "loaded," or they would not have won as many games as they have. To suggest that the MVP cannot come from a "loaded" team, would suggest that the MVP must come from a team with a losing record. The Yankees are loaded compared to most teams, but so are the Twins (3 MVP candidates and that Liriano kid who is pretty good), Red Sox (Manny isn't too shabby), even the Phillies are loaded when compared to the Pirates. Perhaps, I do not understand your argument.


I have to confess- I didn't look carefully enough at Mike Cameron's stats. You made a good case for his inclusion in the top 10.


Here's an example of my original point. this poster, without even seeing any games played, would argue who is more deserving just by reading the stats. What if that formula is wrong? You know like Einsrein's E=MC cubed? Howard is NOT a butcher, as he says. ANd here's a new piece on Keith law from Tracy Ringolsby...

Let's see, Keith Law is forced out as an adviser to Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi, and ESPN makes him an instant celebrity in his evaluation of everything from amateur draft choices to MVP voting.

Law runs his statistical analyses and gets personal with those with whom he disagrees.

Wonder if he is using the same analysis system that helped him in Toronto when the Blue Jays signed Eric Hinske to that four-year contract and proclaimed him the foundation for the Jays' future?

Was it the same approach to evaluation that led to the Jays using back-to-back first-round picks on Russ Adams and Aaron Hill, neither of whom emerged as the needed shortstop?


Regarding the Keith Law issue, I think that argument is too simplistic. I don't feel Ricciardi should be let off so easily. The buck stops with him.

No one looks at a stat sheet and determines their MVP voting from it alone; reasonable, logical people look at the entire scenario and form an opinion that is consistent with and supported by actual facts and analyses. You may, in your heart of hearts, believe that Ryan Howard is a steller defensive player, but every available bit of evidence says otherwise. That the objective evidence is incongruent with your opinion doesn't mean that the statistic is flawed--quite to the contrary actually.

Even just looking at errors, which is a horribly crude and inefficent way to measure defense, Howard's 14 errors were the 2nd most in MLB. Whether you want to argue he's horrible or just merely bad, he's obviously not near Pujols' level with the glove.

Even just looking at errors, which is a horribly crude and inefficent way to measure defense, Howard's 14 errors were the 2nd most in MLB. Whether you want to argue he's horrible or just merely bad, he's obviously not near Pujols' level with the glove. >>

What evisence?? But you called him a butcher. I saw all his games this year, live or at CBP, and he isn't that. As for number of errors, it depends when they were made. How many of those errors were made that cost his team the game? How many weremade with a 6-run lead. THAT'S more important, and your stats don't show that.
Here's another thing for you to do. Go back to the beginning of the season and read the headlines for all Cardinals and Phillies games. Even the first paragraph too. See who's name appears in that headline the most. That's your MVP. Also look at the strength or weaknesses of their division rivals' pitching. i.e. who were the toughest pitchers Pujols had to face this season in his division and who were Howard's toughest. Little things like this don't get picked up in stats, like a 2-run HR that doesn't count with RISP. As for the glove, can Pujols throw? I personally saw Howard start some tought double plays and then finish them off where the pitcher couldn't make it to first. I don't really know how good Pujols can throw People are lead like stray dogs looking at stats all the time and fail to see the forest for the trees.

There are plenty of stats that can tell you how Pujols fared in different situations, there are stats that take into account the quality of competition faced, and defensive stats such as FRAA aren't error-based. If your MVP arguments go along the line of "I saw him play a lot" and "his name was mentioned in a lot of headlines", that's okay, but maybe this isn't the blog for you.

"If you want to have a serious discussion about who the "most valuable player" is, first you've got to get everyone in the conversation to agree what the "most valuable player" is."

When read Law's piece, I thought he seem to be conflating most valuable player with most valuable position. I'm not quite sure if this a problem though.... so given comparable performance, the implication of Law's line of thinking is that you have to vote for an up-the-middle position over a corner position everytime. Thus corner position players are at an inherent disadvantage when it comes to MVP voting if everybody followed Law. Is there a way to construct an argument that a corner position player is more valuable to his team than an up the middle position player given comparable statistics?

I'm sick and tired of all the Jeter crap. Without even considering how boosted his statistics were from playing in the NY offense (which undoubtedly is a truth and should be a huge factor in his consideration) I could never agree on calling someone "most valuable" on a team that had so many offensive weapons. The guy was NOT EVEN CLOSE to the most valuable player...I can't respect anyone who views it otherwise.

As for just about anyone else under consideration...Dye, Morneau, Santana, Mauer, Ortiz, etc...I personally like the fact that it was a very close race and a very debatable one. My two cents: Santana should never be considered an "MVP" on a team that was loaded with pitched an had exceptional defense. Mauer is very sensible, but I really dislike how people say Morneau was a "bad" pick. Feel free to have a preference for someone else, but don't knock him. Morneau was the engine of an offense that would have fallen apart without him (more so, I think, than without Mauer). Even more to the point, it seems everyone has forgotten that Morneau carried the Twins throughout the stretch run and had exceptional clutch hitting, especially late in games...of course, the anti-Ortiz crowd has succeeded in reducing the perceived value of clutch batting *sigh*. Not the best choice? That's a viable opinion. A bad choice? That's a poor opinion.