“Milwaukee's Prince Fielder had a terrific statistical season (.299, 46 homers and 141 RBIs) and will likely make a vast majority of NL MVP ballots, but the "most valuable'' part of the equation is weighed heavily here, as I don't believe players on also-ran teams should win the award.”
A terrific statistical season. Not a terrific season, mind you. Just a terrific statistical season. Apparently he hit all of those HRs for show. He’s an artiste, this Fielder bloke. A true creative genius. We loved the shockwave. Sure, give the man a Tony, but the MVP? Feh. Let’s see him hit a few HRs that actually matter first. Like he did last year. Because they were in contention. Because their pitching was better. Which made Fielder more valuable even though his stats say he was less valuable. Or something.
Sure his statistics might be better this year, and he may have been responsible for the Brewers being in contention as long as they were, but…what was I saying again?
We’d better check out the rest of his ballot. Make sure he didn’t…
“2. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: Spectacular talent could have won Comeback Player. Playoff failures don't count.”
Oooohhh no. He did. I know VORP isn’t everything but Troy is 7th in it. And I know that by all accounts Tulo plays some stellar defense, but really? Did you know that Tulo was caught stealing in over 1/3 of his stolen base attempts (20/31)? He’s a good player, but Hanley Ramirez’s offense was 20 runs better than Troy’s. I guess this isn’t the most ridiculous vote I’ve ever seen, but…
“4. Andre Ethier, Dodgers: Six walk-off hits led league.”
Let’s see…(scanning VORP top 20 for Andre Ethier’s name)
Hmmm. I can’t seem to find it. Matt Kemp is there at 12. Let’s expand it to 22, maybe he just barely missed the cut…nope, there’s Manny Ramirez though. Huh. Manny out-VORPED Ethier even though he had 250 fewer plate appearances and VORP is a counting stat.
Ah. There’s Andre, at 23. 3rd highest VORP in his outfield. But hey, he was super clutch, right, I mean…
Hardball Times Clutch Rating (Not perfect, but it’s what we’ve got):
Ethier – (-6.8)
Matt Kemp - (-2.3)
Manny Ramirez – (-2.2)
Oh. So he was only clutch in really high profile situations that everyone noticed, but not really in general. At all. And while good defensively (at least I think so, though his OOZ wasn’t as good as Kemp’s, whatever that means. I mean, I don’t always understand all these things, I just look them up on the internet to see which number is higher. Ethier has a higher RZR).
But the third best offensive outfielder in his outfield is the 4th best player in his league. This may be the most ridiculous vote I’ve seen.
“NL LVP (Least Valuable Player)
Milton Bradley, Cubs: Alfonso Soriano (20 HRs, 55 RBIs, .241) and Geovany Soto (positive test for pot, .218 batting average) were dreadful, as well. But Bradley was asked to leave the team for the final two weeks. Tough to top that.”
Milton Bradley is a malcontent who lost all of his power for some reason, but here is a list of prominent Cub players who put up lower VORPS:
Milton – 9.1
Geo Soto – 3.2
Soriano – 2.2
Micah Hoffpauir - -.02
Mike Fontenot - -.20
Many pitchers did as well, though I don’t know how well Pitcher VORP compares to player VORP, so we’ll leave that out.
Let’s do OPS+ just for kicks:
Milton – 101 (Hey! Average!)
Soto – 81
Fontenot – 74
Theriot – 84
Soriano – 85
Hoffpauir – 85
Fox – 98
Sure, Milton wasn’t great, and I’m sure he wasn’t a clubhouse guy, but he was hardly the worst player on the Cubs, let alone the league.
Finally, this one just ticks me off:
“3. Ryan Howard, Phillies: May actually be underrated.”
There is no reasonable way to conclude that Ryan Howard is more valuable than Prince Fielder. There just isn’t. They’re both sub-standard defensively, and in this instance defense isn’t really worth considering, because Prince is so much more valuable than Howard that Howard would have to turn into Ozzie Smith to make up the difference.
Prince hit more HRs. Prince hit for a higher average. Prince had a higher OBP (.412 to .360, not even close). Prince had 35 more walks. Prince had a higher OPS+. Prince struck out 50 fewer times. Prince had a VORP of 70.3. Howard had a VORP of 47.7. (Chase Utley, by the way, had a VORP of 61.7, and plays a tougher position. Howard wasn’t even the most valuable player on his own team. Heyman has Utley at 9th). Prince did not turn into Jason Kendall against lefties (.292/.359/.584/.943 for Fielder, .207/.298/.356/.653 for Howard, .241/.331/.305/.636 for Jason Kendall, just so you know I’m not kidding,)
Prince did not become less valuable just because the Brewers replaced CC Sabathia with Braden fucking Looper. If anything he got MORE valuable. Without him, they’re not in contention at any point this season. The Brewers were in the race for a long time, largely because of Fielder. Holding individual baseball players accountable for a team's record is idiotic. It’s completely nonsensical. If you swapped Howard and Fielder at the beginning of the year, the Phillies would have won their division by even more, while the Brewers would have been eliminated earlier, seen lower attendance, and possibly traded off a bunch of the team at the deadline. This is because Fielder is a better, more valuable player than Howard.
That is what valuable means. If player A plays just well enough to make his team filled with awesome players good enough to get into the playoffs, while player B puts up better numbers but plays on a team that is so bad that it would have taken 93 HRs, 342 RBIs and a VORP of 884 to get them into the playoffs, player A is not more valuable than player B.
And Ryan Howard is NOT underrated. That’s right, I used all caps. People fawn over Ryan Howard like he’s Albert Pujols. One time, in 2006, sports writers voted for him like he was Albert Pujols even though he’s wayyyyy worse than Albert Pujols. Howard gets at least as much respect as he deserves, and probably a whole lot more.
Someone needs to take away Jon Heyman’s voting rights. Not just his MVP voting rights, his American Democracy voting rights too. If this is the level of thought you put into baseball, what are the odds you get life right?
Andre Ethier?...Good lord…