Post-Previewing The AL MVP

Like I did with the NL MVP Award, I want to take a look at a few different player rating systems and a couple different voting groups.  First up, here's a look at a system that includes clutch performance via Win Probability Added.  Position adjustments and fielding numbers are taken from Justin's stats and the conversion to replacement level is done by pro-rating 2.5 WAR per 700 PAs to actual playing time.  The following is not a complete list by any means, but includes every player who either received a vote from the BBWAA, ranked in the top ten in WPA, or ranked in the top ten in Justin's total value metric.

Player WPA PosW FieldW RepW Tot WAR
Joe Mauer 4.9 1.0 .6 2.3 8.8
Grady Sizemore 3.5 .2 .9 2.7 7.2
Dustin L Pedroia 3.3 .2 .8 2.6 6.9
Mark Teixeira 4.1 -.4 .6 1.6 5.9
Carlos Pena 4.2 -1.0 .4 2.2 5.8
Josh H Hamilton 2.8 .0 .0 2.5 5.3
Brian Roberts 1.9 .2 .6 2.5 5.2
Curtis Granderson 2.3 .2 .2 2.2 4.9
David DeJesus 2.6 -.2 .2 2.1 4.7
B.J. Upton 2.2 .2 -.1 2.3 4.5
Carlos J Quentin 3.9 -.6 -.9 2.0 4.4
Justin Morneau 3.9 -1.1 -.9 2.5 4.4
Kevin E Youkilis 2.3 -.8 .4 2.2 4.1
Miguel Cabrera 3.0 -1.0 -.6 2.4 3.8
Jack Cust 2.6 -.3 -.7 2.1 3.7
Evan Longoria 1.0 .2 .7 1.8 3.7
Johnny Damon 1.7 -.3 -.1 2.2 3.6
Alex Rodriguez .5 .2 .7 2.1 3.5
Ichiro Suzuki .9 -.3 .2 2.7 3.4
Adrian Beltre -1.5 .2 2.3 2.2 3.2
Nick Markakis 1.7 -.7 -.4 2.5 3.1
Raul Ibanez 2.8 -.7 -1.6 2.5 3.0
Ian M Kinsler 1.2 .2 -.6 2.1 2.9
Aubrey Huff 1.7 -1.4 .1 2.4 2.8
Milton Bradley 2.1 -1.0 -.4 1.8 2.5
Bobby Abreu 2.7 -.6 -2.7 2.4 1.8
Jason A Bartlett -1.4 .5 .0 1.8 .9
Jermaine Dye -.3 -.6 -.7 2.3 .7

Some quick comments:

  • If you think Justin Morneau was clutch, check out Joe Mauer.  Sheesh.
  • Carlos Pena was the Rays' MVP, not Jason Bartlett.
  • Of all the players to switch teams mid-season, Mark Teixeira has the best argument for winning a league-only award, although the Angels really didn't need his performance.
  • Josh Hamilton was the most valuable Ranger, ahead of Milton Bradley and Ian Kinsler.
  • Adrian Beltre: underrated bat, grossly underrated glove, and really really unclutch in 2008.  Not that the last one means anything going forward.
  • Curtis Granderson: still underrated.
  • RJ, you may continue to pimp BJ Upton.
  • For those who must evaluate Francisco Rodriguez, his value is basically equal to his WPA, since reliever replacement-level ERA is just about league-average ERA.  Maybe you can tack on a quarter run per nine innings (a quarter win) to his 3.33 WPA for a total of 3.6 WAR, which leaves him well out of the MVP race.  Same goes for Brad Lidge in the NL.

On to the SBNation blogger vote:

American League 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Points
Dustin Pedroia 5 3 4 2 1 - - 2 - - 155
Joe Mauer 2 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 - - 109
Grady Sizemore 5 2 - - 1 1 - 1 2 - 106
Kevin Youkilis 2 - 2 3 1 4 - 1 2 - 98
Alex Rodriguez 2 1 4 - 4 - - - 1 1 96
Josh Hamilton 1 1 - 3 3 1 1 - 1 - 73
Justin Morneau 1 3 1 1 - 1 - - - 2 63
Carlos Quentin - - 2 2 - 2 2 2 2 - 58
Carlos Pena - 1 - - - 3 1 1 - - 31
Cliff Lee - 1 - - 2 - - 1 - - 24
Milton Bradley - - - 1 - - 1 2 2 2 23
Aubrey Huff - - - 1 - 1 - 1 - 2 17
Roy Halladay - - 1 - - - - 1 1 - 13
Miguel Cabrera - - - - - - 2 1 - 1 12
Evan Longoria - - - - 1 - - - 1 2 10
B. J. Upton - 1 - - - - - - - - 9
Ian Kinsler - - - - - - 1 - 2 - 8
Francisco Rodriguez - - - - - - - 1 1 - 5
Alexei Ramirez - - - - - - 1 - - - 4
Brian Roberts - - - - - - 1 - - - 4
Vladimir Guerrero - - - - - - 1 - - - 4
Jim Thome - - - - - - 1 - - - 4
Nick Markakis - - - - - - - - - 2 2
Joe Nathan - - - - - - - - - 1 1
Jermaine Dye - - - - - - - - - 1 1

Nothing too crazy there, except for the BJ Upton vote and some other singular down-ballot votes.  I would have liked to see Brian Roberts higher, however.  And congrats to the crew for mostly ignoring Francisco Rodriguez.

Let's look at the number of ballots on which each player appeared:

17    Dustin Pedroia
15    Kevin Youkilis
14    Joe Mauer
13    Alex Rodriguez
12    Grady Sizemore
12    Carlos Quentin
11    Josh Hamilton
9    Justin Morneau
8    Milton Bradley
6    Carlos Pena
5    Aubrey Huff

That's a little more frustrating.  Two voters left off Youkilis, three left off Mauer, and five left off Grady Sizemore?  Yikes.

How about top fives?

15    Dustin Pedroia
11    Joe Mauer
11    Alex Rodriguez
8    Kevin Youkilis
8    Grady Sizemore
8    Josh Hamilton
6    Justin Morneau

Let's take a look at the vote most people will be talking about, the BBWAA 2008 AL MVP Award:

Player Club 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Points
Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox 16 6 4 1 317
Justin Morneau Minnesota Twins 7 7 6 3 3 1 1 257
Kevin Youkilis Boston Red Sox 2 4 4 9 2 4 1 2 201
Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins 2 8 1 3 4 3 3 2 1 188
Carlos Quentin Chicago White Sox 1 4 8 4 4 4 1 1 160
Francisco Rodriguez Los Angeles Angels 1 2 6 1 6 3 2 2 143
Josh Hamilton Texas Rangers 2 2 3 7 3 2 4 3 112
Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees 1 1 4 1 4 7 45
Carlos Pena Tampa Bay Rays 1 2 2 3 2 3 44
Grady Sizemore Cleveland Indians 2 1 5 6 1 42
Evan Longoria Tampa Bay Rays 2 2 5 2 1 38
Cliff Lee Cleveland Indians 1 1 1 1 1 24
Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers 1 1 4 1 17
Vladimir Guerrero Los Angeles Angels 2 2 1 16
Jermaine Dye Chicago White Sox 1 2 2 14
Aubrey Huff Baltimore Orioles 1 2 3 12
Milton Bradley Texas Rangers 1 1 9
Jason Bartlett Tampa Bay Rays 1 6
Mike Mussina New York Yankees 1 3
Raul Ibanez Seattle Mariners 1 1
Ian Kinsler Texas Rangers 1 1
Ichiro Suzuki Seattle Mariners 1 1
Mark Teixeira Los Angeles Angels 1 1

Oh, Jason Bartlett, how silly.  I obviously think the Morneau second-place finish is dumb, too but the good stuff is in the total ballots:

28    Justin Morneau
28    Kevin Youkilis
27    Dustin Pedroia
27    Joe Mauer
26    Carlos Quentin
23    Josh Hamilton
21    Francisco Rodriguez
14    Grady Sizemore
11    Alex Rodriguez
11    Evan Longoria
10    Carlos Pena

Somebody didn't vote for the overall winner?  Seriously?  And someone left Joe Mauer off their ballot?  Crazy!  On the other hand, I'd like to thank the two people who showed some rationality (hopefully) in leaving Carlos Quentin off their ballot.  And the seven who ignored Francisco Rodriguez's saves record, too.  As for Sizemore making the cut on only 50% of the ballots, ugh...

Top fives?  Nothing all that interesting:

27    Dustin Pedroia
23    Justin Morneau
19    Kevin Youkilis
14    Joe Mauer
13    Carlos Quentin
10    Francisco Rodriguez
4    Josh Hamilton
1    Carlos Pena
1    Cliff Lee

Finally, let's take a look at a non-clutch metric, combining Justin's total value with a tRA/xIP system using data from statcorner.com -- no relievers included.

RAR    Player
80    Cliff Lee
76    Roy Halladay
76    Grady Sizemore
69    Alex Rodriguez
67    Ervin Santana
62    Javier Vazquez
61    Dustin L Pedroia
61    Joe Mauer
60    AJ Burnett
59    Brian Roberts
55    Zach Greinke
53    James Shields
53    Adrian Beltre
51    Curtis Granderson
51    Josh H Hamilton
51    Jon Lester
51    Mark Buehrle
51    Josh Beckett
50    Andy Sonnanstine
50    Kevin E Youkilis
48    Gil Meche
48    John Danks
48    Nick Markakis
46    Evan Longoria

What's surprising to me is how many starters deserve MVP credit.  My calculation is simply (5.75 - tRA +.35) / 9 * xIP, where the .35 term is to put tRA on the ERA scale.  Combining this list with the first one using WPA, it appears Cliff Lee, Joe Mauer, Grady Sizemore, Roy Halladay, and Dustin Pedroia are the five most realistic MVP choices.  I'd go (and I've moved into subjective mode here) Mauer, Sizemore, Halladay, Lee, and Pedroia.  Of course, we should be celebrating them all.

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