I can understand why it might be somewhat easy to dismiss my soapbox routine when it comes to why Jose Bautista, and not Adrian Gonzalez, is the obvious choice for first half American League MVP Champion of the World. I live in Toronto, where I support the Blue Jays, the team of players for whom Mr. Bautista obliterates opposing pitching.
While I’m fairly confident that my case is airtight, as it depends on the actual measured performance of Bautista in comparison to the actual measured performance of Gonzalez, I’m not so self assured as to think that I’m 100% correct in my analysis of the best player on my favourite team. After all, people are capable of bending the appearance of numbers to fit any argument.
And to be perfectly honest with you, before comparing Jose Bautista’s WAR, wOBA, wRC+, TAv, VORP, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS with runners on base, OPS with runners in scoring position, etc. to Adrian Gonzalez’s, I was already firmly of the belief that Bautista was having a superior season. I’m certainly not above bias.
It just seems like such an enormous gap in performance to me, that when I hear Joe Buck and Tim McCarver wax on about Adrian Gonzalez being the undisputed MVP of the first half, I actually wondered if my blindness to the other side of the argument was rooted in some sort of raging homerism.
That’s why it was so refreshing to come across this recent post on Over The Monster from voice of reason and former Getting Blanked podcast guest Patrick Sullivan. My favourite quote from which:
The gulf here goes way beyond the painfully idiotic “MVP’s can only come from playoff teams” debate, too. Gonzalez is having an MVP-caliber season, sure, but to suggest he’s the MVP is to ignore the player who is currently far and away baseball’s best.