Nine to Know: Cleaning up after Award Week

  1. Congrats to the MLB Network whose telecasts and pre- and post-award discussions made this a fun week. I must say, they do need to do a better job with the actual announcement which had no drama and no pizzazz. Also for a sport that is so stats driven it was very frustrating having to wait for the voting numbers. The highlight of the coverage was the terrific debate between Harold Reynolds, Keith Olbermann, Chris Russo, and Joe Posnanski as to who should win the AL MVP. It was fun and informative. The MLB needs more of this with high-end personalities like this. Would love to see them debate the DH
  2. Three winners from last year finished second this year: Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, and Ryan Braun.
  3. Buster Posey, Johnny Bench, and Thurman Munson are the only catchers to win a Rookie of the Year award, a World Series title and an MVP award.
  4. Posey’s winning of the MVP, Comeback Player of the Year, and Hank Aaron Award (given to the league’s best hitter) is a really impressive trifecta.
  5. Back-to-back MVP wins for the Detroit Tigers – Miguel Cabrera‘s victory follows Justin Verlander.
  6. Two Venezuelan MVPs – Miguel Cabrera in the AL and Pablo Sandoval was the World Series MVP.
  7. A Red Sox did not receive an MVP vote for the first time since 1911.
  8. If I had the ability to create an award it would be the Willie Mays Award presented to the best five-tool player each season and my first winner would be Mike Trout.
  9. I’m really tired of reading columns and blogs by those who believe that Miggy’s win was a victory for traditional stat guys over new tech stat geeks (i.e. Mitch AlbomDavid Schoenfeld).  It’s simply not the case. I agree with Larry Stone who wrote: It’s a little too clichéd to paint this Most Valuable Player vote as another battle in the war between the saber-nerds and the traditionalists — the staid Luddites of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vs. the WAR-loving eggheaded sons of Bill JamesI think many of us (this writer included) looks at all measurements and rely on perspectives of players, managers, and experts in the game. If this is a loss for anything it is a defeat for WAR (Wins Above Replacement). I’m a strong believer that the value of a stat rises and fall on the individual’s ability to figure out and to be able to determine the stat as games progress. You cannot do that with WAR. I don’t even understand the explanation of how WAR is configured on (i.e. Converted Offensive WAR from afWAR back to oWAR. Note that oWAR + dWAR now double counts position, so adding them will not give WAR.) There should be no conflict between old school and new wave stat followers, we just need to make sure that stats can be understood and appreciated without a degree in higher mathematics and acronymia.