As I alluded to in the previous post, I wasn’t all that upset by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s voting for the AL MVP. It’s not who I would’ve selected, but it wouldn’t take much of an argument from anyone to convince me that the top five vote getters were the top five best players in the league this year.

My ire was reserved for one first place vote in particular, the one given to Michael Young by Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News, no stranger to previous voting controversy. According to fWAR, Young was the eighth best player on his team in 2011, but thanks to Grant’s vote, he ranked as the eighth best player in the league according to baseball writers.

Back in September, while participating in an online chat, Grant revealed some of the reasoning behind his belief that Young was deserving of some post season hardware.

Michael Young is emerging as a legit MVP contender. To me he has been the most valuable player, but people don’t know the intrinsic value he brings.

I’m sure that this is much like the intrinsic value that Jose Bautista brings to Toronto, or Dustin Pedroia brings to Boston, or that Curtis Granderson brings to New York. The very fact that it is intrinsic means that its incomparable to what other players do. So, by definition, it shouldn’t be used to judge and compare with other players. The fact that Grant seems aware of other people’s ignorance of Michael Young’s intrinsic value, but unaware of his own ignorance when it comes to the intangible value of other players is completely inconsiderate and evidence of something less than an objective approach.

They see that he’s hitting .338 and has 105 RBIs, but they don’t see that his 14 games at 2B probably had some impact on Ian Kinsler staying fully healthy for the first time in his career.

So, by playing 14 games at second base and costing his team multiple runs with his defense even during that limited time, he should be considered the most valuable player because he played horribly at a position that allowed a better baseball player to play more.

They don’t see that he gave Ron Washington an attractive option at first to try and rest Mitch Moreland, particularly against lefties.

Please notice that according to Grant, Young’s two  most important contributions come from acting as a replacement player. Young was not an attractive option at first base. Again, according to every defensive metric, he cost his team on defense.

They may not be aware that he hit in the 3 spot when Josh Hamilton was hurt, took over the 4 spot for most of the year and hit No. 5 as well.

No, we may not be aware of this, but I do understand that Young had 73 more plate appearances with runners on base than Adrian Beltre did this season and within those 73 extra chances, he had a single more run batted in than the Rangers full time third baseman. This might lead me to believe that his position in the batting order had a little bit more to do with Ron Washington than his performance compared to other hitters in the lineup.

They don’t know that Derek Holland has met with him after almost every start lately for a critique and that Young and Holland have a special player-pitcher rapport. They don’t know that Mike Napoli, who is having a career year, lockers next to Young and has followed him around like a puppy dog.

I suppose that for next year’s awards, pitching coaches should get Cy Young consideration and bench coaches should should get MVP consideration. After all, these are the type of contributions that a manager or team of coaches make that isn’t relevant to how a player performs on the field.

No, they will see stats. They will see his WAR or his OPS and believe that others are more valuable. I can’t see how one player meant more to all facets of his team than Young.

Yes, we will look at stats because they offer us the most objectivity and show us who was actually the most valuable in terms of creating runs for his team and stopping runs against his team. I’d hazard a guess that Grant can’t see how one player meant more to all facets of his team than Young because he didn’t follow another team for the entirety of the season, collecting quotes and forming a narrative around them.

If he had worked in Toronto, he might have seen Jose Bautista unselfishly playing third base for a portion of the season to cover for the shortcomings of others. If he had worked in Boston, he might have seen Dustin Pedroia have more total chances on defense than any other player in baseball while trying his best to lead a divided club house. If he had worked in New York, he might have seen Curtis Granderson meet all the demands placed on him by the team and media off the field to have one of the best seasons of a center fielder in recent memory.

Grant doesn’t work in those places. He works in Dallas. And he saw first hand how Michael Young replaced and coached his way into being the Most Valuable Player in the American League. Then again, maybe I’m the one in the wrong. After all, Young’s BARBI is off the charts.

Comments (15)

  1. … and Bautista didn’t bitch about it when he was asked to move positions. He said he would prefer RF, but moved to 3rd, then moved back when Lawrie came up…

    … this man is a joke.

    • … in reading the article from above…

      “When it got down to it, the last place on my ballot was Pedroia or Pena, Pedroia or Pena. I don’t have a guy from the Rays on my ballot and they won 97 games. I was going to vote to make sure Carlos Pena got recognized. I’m not afraid to say I was wrong. I have no issue with Dustin winning.”

      … because you couldn’t NOT have a player on there who’s TEAM won a bunch of games… bullshit…

  2. What’s even worse is that he covers the Rangers, and doesn’t even realize that guys like Beltre, Kinsler and Napoli (and even Andrus & Hamilton according to fangraphs WAR, which I know is not a be all, end all) were better than Young this year. Not to mention any pitchers.

  3. Well, EG is getting what he probably wants. Attention. Links. Tweets, Buzz, Reaction…

    Would you also reserve some scorn for the voters who put MY 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc? Or was it all spent here?

  4. I’d be really interested in seeing this guy’s ballot. Wonder if he was the guy who had Ellsbury and Bautista so far down.

    • Hi Tim, this is the moron’s ballot. He had Ellsbury 5th and Bautista behind A-Gon. Total bullshit…

      1. Michael Young, Rangers
      2. Justin Verlander, Detroit
      3. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
      4. Curtis Granderson, New York
      5. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston
      6. Adrian Gonzalez, Boston
      7. Jose Bautista, Toronto
      8. Robinson Cano, New York
      9. James Shields, Tampa Bay
      10. Adrian Beltre, Rangers

  5. Honestly, there needs to be some sort of relegation system put in place for these award voters. If too many other writers think you know nothing about baseball and not taking the ballot seriously, you’re not voting again until you earn it back. Under a system like this, he would of lost the privilege a long time ago and writing nonsensical garbage about Young he would never get it back. Then again, the intelligent writers are a minority so it probably would not function anyway.

  6. Can we stop giving the BBWAA the privilege to vote on these awards? They aren’t worth anything if the people voting on them don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

  7. Lets just get rid of awards. I’m not saying this out of ire, but simple, pure notgivingafuckoscity.

    Who cares? If some inbred hick likes the idea of Michael Young being Qui-Gon JInn, so be it, I just hope Evan is aware the Obi Wan Kenobi (Ian Kinsler) is the one who’ll be remembered as a great player by this current rendition of rangers fans.

    No idea why I put that there, carry on.

  8. Mr. Parkes,

    What we need is an overhaul of the voting system. Here are a couple suggestions:

    1) You’re not allowed to vote for anyone, in any slot, that plays for the team that you cover (or in the city you cover).
    2) Of the 28 writers who vote (I believe it’s 28, please correct me if I’m wrong), a random pool of representatives are chosen (let’s say a panel of 5). They then either choose the MVP, or choose 3 finalists and take those finalists to the larger BBWAA consortium to vote for one of those 3.
    3) Say “fuck this nonsense” and turn the MVP into a Player’s Choice Award. Have the players vote on the winner.

    Not to take anything away from Verlander – even if you subtract his wins, a relatively useless statistic, he had a great year – but he was arguably less valuable to his team than most of the other candidates. His team won the division by 15 games, over 4 sub-.500 teams. A replacement level pitcher wouldn’t have kept the Tigers from winning that division. However, if the Tigers were in the AL East or NL East, perhaps even the NL West, they’re not going to the post-season, Verlander or no Verlander.

    On top of everything else, the NL voters are going to prove that you don’t need to be on a playoff team to be the MVP when Matt Kemp wins the trophy in that league.

    • Oh, and I should have mentioned – I’m aware there are problems with the suggestions I gave above. For example:

      1) If a Detroit writer wasn’t allowed to vote for Verlander, he’d put Bautista and Ellsbury 9th and 10th on his ballot to tank their votes and ensure Verlander wins. This method could also lead to vote swapping (you vote my guy 1st, I’ll put your guy 1st).
      2) You could randomly choose a pool of writers from the East Coast, or from the West. This is easily remedied (let’s say you choose a pool of 6 panelists – pick one writer from each division). Still could cause problems.

  9. Someone please shoop “bitches don’t know ’bout my intrinsic value”.

  10. I don’t think there’s any need to overhaul the voting process for the BBWAA awards. They are slowly moving themselves into a state of irrelevance and other, more informed awards will eventually take over as the ones that people truly care about.

    Many of us already know that the awards given out by other organizations are far more worthy of our attention and acknowledgement than these stupid things.

    This problem will take care of itself.

  11. I’m glad we have idiot voters. The MVP award would be pretty boring if we didn’t have morons voting for Young. There wouldn’t be much to talk about if Ellsbury (my pick) or Bautista (#2) would have won and Young didn’t pick up silly votes.

    In other words the only thing better than the MVP is being able to make fun of the Dinosaurs that are the BBWAA.

  12. Jeff Wilson was who voted MY 3rd. “Young was the MVP for the team that won the AL West by 10 games. He hit a career-best .338 with a career-high 106 RBIs, played all four infield positions and filled in admirably when Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre were injured.”

    I like the theme where MY spells all of the better players so by that he’s the “Most Valuable”.

    Jeff Wilson’s ballot

    1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, Boston Red Sox

    2. Curtis Granderson, CF, New York Yankees

    3. Michael Young, Utl., Texas Rangers

    4. Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers

    5. Jose Bautista, 3B/RF, Toronto Blue Jays

    6. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

    7. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Boston Red Sox

    8. Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees

    9. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Cleveland Indians

    10. Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago White Sox

    Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/11/21/3543396/verlander-not-as-deserving-as.html#ixzz1eSdf98qS

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