In less than an hour the Baseball Writers Association of America will use their GeoCities content management system to inform the world of the winner of the 2011 American League Most Valuable Player award. With several deserving options for first place votes, it’s guaranteed to be contentious.
Fortunately, we’ll be going live on the site for one of those interactive live streaming chat thingies five minutes before the announcement is expected. So you’ll be able to see our immediate reaction to the voting results. Warning: This may result in more of an R-rated live stream than usual. It may be necessary to keep kiddie ear muffs in the vicinity.
To better prepare your impending outrage, here are a list of things that should no doubt drive you crazy.
Jose Bautista’s Second Place Vote Tally
I fully expect Justin Verlander and Jacoby Ellsbury to receive a large amount of first place votes today. However, with Verlander being a pitcher and a good chunk of Ellsbury’s value being from his defensive contributions, voters who pick either for first place, may not lock the other in for second place based on how they think of pitching and defense when it comes to MVP voting. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if Bautista wins the award based on the number of second place votes he receives.
Michael Young Will Get More Votes Than Ian Kinsler
This is more down voting ire than anything else, but according to fWAR, Michael Young was the eighth most valuable player on his team this season. How much do you want to be that the collection of writers voting consider him one of the top eight in the entire league?
Explanations For Avoiding Pitchers
It’s bound to come out following the awards that some journalists couldn’t give a first place to Justin Verlander in good conscience because he only performs every fifth day. I don’t really believe that Verlander is a better option than Jacoby Ellsbury or Jose Bautista, but that justification is absolute nonsense. Look at how many total plate appearances or how many total pitches that position players faced this season, then compare that to how many times Verlander threw the ball and to how many batters he threw to. That type of contribution is far more important, so much so that I think based on level of importance to the game, MVP votes should only ever go to a pitcher.
Other Side Of The Coin
Voters who support Justin Verlander will no doubt look to his win and loss record this season, which quite simply relies far too heavily on other players on his team to be used to justify for or against an individual award.
Jose Valverde only faced 301 batters and while he didn’t blow a save, he was far from the most effective reliever last season. Nonetheless, his perfect save record, one of the most arbitrary statistics ever dreamed up, will ensure unwarranted MVP votes.
This is in stark contrast to his teammate Miguel Cabrera whose offensive contributions this season for the AL Central Division winning Detroit Tigers is neck and neck with what Jose Bautista did for the Toronto Blue Jays, and should enter him in the conversation at least with Bautista and Jacoby Ellsbury. However, with all the attention going to Justin Verlander and Jose Valverde, Cabrera seems to be considered more of an also ran before the votes were even tabulated.
Down Ballot Voting Exchange
This one could be more of a myth, but it’s a fun one to look for and believe and then get irrationally upset over. The legend goes that no one’s better at trading votes for favours than writers from New York where the competition for exclusive sound bytes is more fierce than anywhere else. Just as David Robertson received Cy Young Award votes, don’t be surprised to see Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera get undeserved attention in addition to the votes that go to Curtis Granderson.
No Playoff Justification
It blows my mind that anyone considering the most valuable player award would use the performance of the rest of his team as an excuse for voting for or against. However, that’s exactly what happens when voters suggest that they can’t vote for someone on a team that wasn’t competing for a playoff spot. It’s complete and utter malarkey to consider anything other than the individual player’s accomplishments this past season when considering who to vote for.
- Jose Bautista
- Jacoby Ellsbury
- Miguel Cabrera
- Jacoby Ellsbury
- Jose Bautista
- Justin Verlander