November 21, 2011

Justin Verlander Named AL MVP; Ellsbury #2

Justin Verlander of the Tigers has been named the American League Most Valuable Player. Verlander was also the unanimous choice for the AL Cy Young, the first ptcher to win both awards since Roger Clemens in 1986.

Dennis Eckersley (1992, A's) was the last pitcher to win the AL MVP award. The last NL pitcher to do so was Bob Gibson (1968, Cardinals).

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News - the guy who left Dustin Pedroia off his 2008 ballot, when FY won the MVP - awarded his first-place vote to Michael Young of the Rangers. (Grant says he will explain later this afternoon. $5 says "You had to see him play every day" is part of it.)

Young - who had the 4th best-OPS on his own team - also received one vote for second and one vote for third.

Jim Ingraham of the News-Herald (Ohio) left Verlander off his ballot, saying he does not believe (contrary to BBWAA rules) pitchers should be eligible for the MVP. ... Ellsbury received a 10th place vote, but it wasn't from Grant. (Anyone wanna bet on George A. King III?)
And as of 2:08 PM, MLB's main page has no news! At 2:12, this was the Verlander story, from the main page link:
You can always count on two things in this life: the ignorance of the BBWAA and the lameness of MLB.
Another ballot, from SB Nation:
David Fung (Beyond The box Score): Another Graphic Look at Redefining Most Valuable ("I have Jose Bautista taking this one easily."

Baseball Bloggers Alliance, AL Player of the Year
                 1st Place  Points
Jose Bautista       11        225
Jacoby Ellsbury      5        200
Miguel Cabrera       3        183
Curtis Granderson    1        135
Justin Verlander     2        126
Adrian Gonzalez               109
Dustin Pedroia                 68
Robinson Cano                  55
Ian Kinsler                    35
Michael Young                  28
My BBA Ballot
1. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
3. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
4. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
5. Curtis Granderson, Yankees
6. Justin Verlander, Tigers
7. Alex Avila, Tigers
8. David Ortiz, Red Sox
9. Alex Gordon, Royals
10. Paul Konerko, White Sox

As I said last night, ESPN's Jeremy Lundblad makes a strong case for Jacoby Ellsbury.

Lundblad uses WAR (wins above replacement) to make his case. And by that measure, Ellsbury's season was the best in MLB since 2007. According to Fangraphs, Ellsbury accounted for 9.4 wins more than a replacement level player would have provided. Bautista (8.3), Dustin Pedroia (8.0), Ian Kinsler (7.7), and Miguel Cabrera (7.3) round out the Top 5. (Curtis Granderson and Justin Verlander tied for seventh place, with 7.0.)

FanGraphs WAR (pitchers not included in this chart)

Baseball Reference also uses WAR, but they compute it differently. B-Ref has Bautista and Verlander tied for first place (8.5), followed by Ellsbury (7.2), Cabrera (7.1), Adrian Gonzalez (6.9), and Pedroia and CC Sabathia (6.8). (Granderson did not make the Top 10, and had an Offensive WAR of 5.4)
WAR         FG  +  BR =  Add
Bautista   8.3    8.5   16.8
Ellsbury   9.4    7.2   16.6
Verlander  7.0    8.5   15.5
Cabrera    7.3    7.1   14.4
Jeff Zimmerman, FanGraphs:
You can set your watch to it: Every year after the MVP awards are announced, people complain about who got — or didn't get — votes. We SABR nerds at Fangraphs are no different. But, of course, we look at things a little differently. With that in mind, here are some SABR-darlings who haven't gotten a single MVP vote in five years — and why that might not change this year.


allan said...

Michael Silverman, Herald
1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Jose Bautista
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Justin Verlander
5. Miguel Cabrera
6. CC Sabathia
7.Dustin Pedroia
8. Ian Kinsler
9. Adrian Gonzalez
10. Alex Avila

Peter Abraham, Globe
1. Justin Verlander
2. Jacoby Ellsbury

Ken Rosenthal, Fox
1. Jacoby Ellsbury

allan said...

Jim Ingraham of The News-Herald (Ohio) voted Bautista first and left Verlander off his ballot. He believes - contrary to the rules he is supposed to follow - that pitchers should not be eligible for the MVP award.

“I’d wrestled with this for a long time. If I was ever going to vote for pitcher for MVP, it would be him this year. He hasn’t appeared in 79 percent of their games, any starting pitcher really doesn’t appear in 79 percent of his team’s games in a year. Would you vote for an NFL quarterback for MVP if he only appeared in three of his team’s 16 games, which would 21 percent? So that’s part of it. Another part of it is I think they’re apples and oranges. The guys that are in there every day, there’s a grind to a season that a starting pitcher doesn’t, I don’t think, experience the way the everyday position players do playing 150, 160 games.”


allan said...

PeteAbe explains his ballot:
1. Justin Verlander
2. Jacoby Ellsbury
3. Jose Bautista
4. Robinson Cano
5. Ben Zobrist
6. Ian Kinsler
7. Curtis Granderson
8. Dustin Pedroia
9. Miguel Cabrera
10. Alex Gordon

Toughest omissions:
Adrian Gonzalez
CC Sabathia

laura k said...

Wow, great post. A lot to take in.

Maxwell Horse said...

Peter Abraham explained his reasoning. But there's a sentiment in there that I've seen coming from a lot of the Verlander-MVP camp. It makes me want to kill.

"Is there any way the Tigers win the Central without Verlander? I don't see how."

All these pro-Verlander people seem to be operating under this Candyland premise that if Verlander wasn't on the Tigers, or if he didn't have such a good year, then all those games in which he pitched and the Tigers won would've been automatically forfeited. I think the fact that pitchers get "wins/losses" included in their stats are clouding people's minds.

I'm sure there are legitimate reasons to award Verlander MVP, but that isn't one of them. I never see people applying the same reasoning to Ellsbury's season. "Without Ellsbury the Sox would've lost 162 games!"

allan said...

That's like idiots saying that Bot is gone, we have no closer - like no one will be able to pitch the 9th, so we will forfeit games. Or when we dumped a shortstop, like we'd have a gaping hole out there with no fielder, as though it was against the rules to fill the position with someone else.

Another strange reasoning is that (for example) Ellsbury batted 700 times and Verlander faced 700 batters, so that negates the "he pitches only once every 5 games" excuse.

Except Verlander can face 35 batters in 1 game, while 35 PAs from Ellsbury can affect 7 games. It's arguing apples and rowboats.

(An attorney where I work - a MFY fan - made this argument to me a few weeks ago, that verlander faces as many batters as Ellsbury had PA. Then again, he likes pitcher wins and RBI (i.e., Granderson > Ellsbury).) He thought Verlander should win, so I'll give him this argument next time I see him.