Previewing The NL MVP

This afternoon, either Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard will win the National League MVP Award, resulting in one of two memes spreading throughout the blogosphere:

  1. Hey, look, the BBWAA got it right!
  2. Hey, look, the BBWAA got it wrong, yet again!

Either way, Howard's going to finish way too high.  But, since critiquing the writers has gotten a bit old and I hate to give their award more publicity than it deserves, I want to present some other views on the NL MVP.

First, from an article I wrote in September, is the a list of the top NL MVP candidates using WPA and Justin's defensive stats.  Surprisingly, Berkman's clutchiness puts him ahead of Albert Pujols.  If we limit the winner to guys from playoff teams, Carlos Beltran is your man.  You'll have to click through to see where Ryan Howard ranks, because, well, he's not in the top 25.

NL Rank Player WPA (WPA/LI) rep Def WAR
1 Lance Berkman 6.7 4.7 1.8 0.1 8.6
2 Albert Pujols 5.6 5.7 1.7 0.6 7.9
3 Carlos Beltran 3.9 2.8 1.9 1.3 7.1
4 Hanley Ramirez 4.6 3.7 1.9 0.4 6.8
5 Matt Holliday 5.1 4.2 1.7 -0.1 6.7
6 Chipper Jones 3.6 4.1 1.5 1.5 6.5
7 David Wright 3.4 4.4 1.9 0.3 5.7
8 Pat Burrell 3.6 2.5 1.7 -0.1 5.2
9 Carlos Lee 4.8 3.1 1.4 -1.2 5.0
10 Chase Utley 0.9 3.0 1.9 2.0 4.8
11 Aramis Ramirez 3.1 2.6 1.7 -0.1 4.7
12 Dan Uggla 2.8 2.3 1.6 0.2 4.7
13 J.J. Hardy 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.3 4.6
14 Cody Ross 2.2 1.7 1.3 1.1 4.6
15 Ryan Braun 2.7 2.6 1.7 0.1 4.5
16 Chris Iannetta 2.8 2.2 1.1 0.5 4.4
17 Nate McLouth 3.8 2.5 1.8 -1.3 4.3
18 Russell Martin 1.4 0.5 1.8 1.1 4.2
19 Jason Bay 3.9 2.8 1.3 -1.0 4.2
20 Brian Giles 1.5 1.3 1.8 0.9 4.2
21 Andre Ethier 2.8 2.3 1.6 -0.3 4.1
22 Adrian Gonzalez 3.0 2.3 1.9 -0.9 4.0
23 Randy Winn 1.9 1.7 1.8 0.2 3.9
24 Mark Teixeira 1.8 2.8 1.3 0.7 3.8
25 Jayson Werth 1.8 2.8 1.2 0.6 3.6

 

Next let's take a look at what SBNation bloggers thought of the NL MVP race:

National League 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Points
Albert Pujols 13 4 - - - - - - - - 218
Lance Berkman 1 2 3 4 1 1 4 - 1 - 113
Hanley Ramirez - 4 1 3 2 - 1 1 1 - 86
David Wright - 1 3 1 2 3 2 3 - 1 95
Chipper Jones - 1 3 3 1 5 - - - - 85
Ryan Howard 3 1 1 1 - - 1 - - 1 71
Chase Utley - 1 1 1 4 2 2 - 2 1 71
Ryan Braun - - 1 3 - 2 1 1 2 1 51
Carlos Beltran - - 3 - - - - 3 1 1 36
Manny Ramirez - 1 - 1 1 - 1 - - 1 27
Matt Holliday - - - - 1 2 - - 4 - 24
CC Sabathia - 2 - - - - 1 - - 1 23
Carlos Delgado - - - - 2 1 - 1 1 - 21
Aramis Ramirez - - - - 2 1 - - 1 2 19
Ryan Ludwick - - - - - - 1 3 2 2 17
Jose Reyes - - - - 1 - 2 1 - - 8
Brad Lidge - - - 1 - - - - - - 8
Carlos Lee - - - - - - 1 - 1 - 6
Pat Burrell - - - - - - - 1 - 1 4
Brian McCann - - - - - - - 1 - 1 4
Prince Fielder - - - - - - - 1 - 1 4
Stephen Drew - - - - - - - 1 - - 3
Geovany Soto - - - - - - - - - 2 2
Tim Lincecum - - - - - - - - 1 - 2
Brian Giles - - - - - - - - - 1 1

No major complaints right off the bat.  But one thing I like to do is see how many ballots each player appeared on.  Here's everyone to appear on at least five ballots, sorted by number of total ballots:

17    Albert Pujols
17    Lance Berkman
16    David Wright
14    Chase Utley
13    Hanley Ramirez
13    Chipper Jones
11    Ryan Braun
8    Ryan Howard
8    Carlos Beltran
8    Ryan Ludwick
7    Matt Holliday
6    Aramis Ramirez
5    Manny Ramirez
5    Carlos Delgado

To me, it's shocking that someone would leave Wright, Utley, Hanley, or Chipper off their ballot, and at least three bloggers left the players other than Wright off their ballots.  Crazy.

How about the number of times each player appeared in the top five on a ballot?

17    Albert Pujols
11    Lance Berkman
10    Hanley Ramirez
8    Chipper Jones
7    David Wright
7    Chase Utley
6    Ryan Howard

And how about the number of top three ballots?

17    Albert Pujols
6    Lance Berkman
5    Hanley Ramirez
5    Ryan Howard
4    Chipper Jones
4    David Wright
3    Carlos Beltran
2    Chase Utley
2    CC Sabathia
1    Ryan Braun
1    Manny Ramirez

This demonstrates some obvious trends.  Ryan Howard mostly received high-ballot votes or no votes.  Same for Hanley Ramirez, but to a lesser extent.  David Wright tended to appear on a lot of ballots, but nobody really placed him all that high.

Finally, let's take a look at the Internet Baseball Awards, run by Baseball Prospectus.  The top ten finishers look like this, ranked by weighted point total:

1    Albert Pujols
2    Hanley Ramirez
3    Lance Berkman
4    Chase Utley
5    David Wright
6    Chipper Jones
7    Ryan Howard
8    Manny Ramirez
9    Tim Lincecum
10    Ryan Braun

But things are slightly different when looking at total ballots:

1406    Albert Pujols
1129    Hanley Ramirez
1024    Lance Berkman
952    David Wright
927    Chase Utley
815    Chipper Jones
557    Ryan Howard
543    Manny Ramirez
517    Tim Lincecum

Once again, David Wright was listed on a lot of ballots, but lower than other players who didn't appear as often.  Ryan Braun and Ryan Howard were on the opposite side of the coin, not appearing as much (relatively), but ranking higher when they did appear.  It's also interesting that  Hanley Ramirez  finished higher in the IBA vote than the SBNation blogger vote.  And Carlos Beltran got zero love from the IBA.  Personally, I side with the SBN bloggers on both those issues.

I know I said "finally" when introducing the IBA awards, but here's one last analysis.  I'm taking Justin's final 2008 numbers and combining it with starters' value according to tRA and xIP:

RAR    Player
98    Albert Pujols
81    Chipper Jones
79    Hanley Ramirez
76    Chase Utley
74    Lance Berkman
71    Tim Lincecum
68    Brandon Webb
67    David A Wright
66    Carlos Beltran
62    Dan Haren
57    Derek Lowe
56    Brian Giles
54    Matt T Holliday
52    Jose Reyes
51    Randy Johnson
51    Cole Hamels
51    Ryan Ludwick
50    Brian M McCann
50    Johan Santana
50    Ryan Dempster
49    Ben Sheets
48    Jimmy Rollins
48    CC Sabathia
45    Ryan J Braun
45    Dan C Uggla

My predictions of how that list will compare to the BBWAA ranking:

  • Chipper and Utley will finish lower.
  • Hanley will finish second (or third behind Howard).
  • Beltran won't sniff the top ten.
  • Giles won't sniff more than a couple ballots.
  • The starters, as a whole, won't receive nearly as much respect.  Sabathia will probably finish the highest, with Lincecum perhaps finishing in the top ten.
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