Each and every November, after a World Series pitting two teams against one another that were not the best teams during the regular season, I feel the urge to write a post about the award winners.
Not so much awards that I don't care about, like rookie of the year and manager of the year, but the Most valuable players from each league along with the Cy Young winners.
Today, if you haven't noticed, is the 5th of November. You might know this date because quotes from the movie 'V for Vendetta' have probably been scattered all about your Facebook news feed and/or your Twitter account. Yes, they do mention the 5th of November in the movie.
The significance of this date for me? Well, not much significance at all, except that it has been nearly two years since I have written anything baseball related that was more than 140 characters long. January 17th, 2010; my last baseball writing.
If you don't know who I am, I go by the name 'Statistician Magician' on Twitter, and used to write a blog site of the same name. It was a well received blog, high-trafficked on a daily basis, sometimes seeing nearly four to five visitors a day. I could barely manage to keep up with nearly two-three comments a day. Something had to give. Either I need to be paid for my stellar, sometimes flawless work...or I needed to retire altogether.
So after being showered with hypothetical champagne and having imaginary cake smothered all over my face, I did it; I retired from blogging about baseball, and took the Twitter route instead.
So anyway, here is a post concerning who I believe to be the MVP's and Cy Young award winners for each league. Those leagues being the American and National league if you are new to the game, but somehow stumbled upon a site in 'Beyond the Box Score' that is heavy on advanced metrics.
The awards, as promised:
AL MVP: Mike Trout
Blah, blah, blah, Mike Trout was an up-the-middle defender, who was pretty good at playing the ball, stole a crapload of bases, and hit like a 1B -- who happened to be a very good hitting first baseman at that. His "most valuable" competitor posted a great year, once again, and won the vaunted Triple Crown. And that isn't even sarcastic. You win the Triple Crown and you probably had a hell of a year. The stats that the Triple Crown consists of don't tell us how good he really was, but they tell us that he was probably, in fact, very good. Cabrera is no exception. He was worth seven wins, he reached base nearly 40 percent of the time, and he slugged .606. Seven wins is great, Hall of Fame great. Even MVP great. But not historically great. And Mike Trout was historically great. Now Cabrera is Trout's biggest threat to winning the MVP, but that doesn't necessarily make Cabrera the 2nd best player in the American League this year. Robinson Cano, who you may have heard of, was worth nearly 8 wins. Cano slugged .550, while playing solid defense at 2B. He batted .313 and reached first base, at least, 38 percent of the time he entered the batters box. I have a feeling Cano gets very few first place votes, if any, despite being one of the best in the league, on a playoff team.
Many other years, Cano gets love for MVP and most other years Cabrera wins this thing hands down in terms of the voting. But not this year, a young man named Mike Trout wins this thing hands down. At least in theory.
NL MVP: Buster Posey
What separates the top five in fWAR this season? 0.6 wins. The players are virtually indecipherable from one another, mathematically speaking. Except the UZR boost that David Wright gets, which I don't necessarily know if he was a +15 on defense.
Ryan Braun, Wright, Andrew McCutchen, and of course Posey: there is no wrong answer out of these four names. But I tend to go with a catcher when things are so close. Being behind the dish, a player has so much impact that is basically immeasurable, yet we value anyways. They have the ability to impact every pitch, they impact every pitcher, even though no one knows how much.
Posey is no different. He was a good defensive catcher by anything that we have that measures catcher defense. His on base percentage was .408 (!) and he slugged .549. All while squatting behind the plate during 148 games in 2012. That smells of MVP.
But MVP has no odor, so one must dig deeper. That's why I mentioned some numbers as evidence to why he was deserving of MVP.
As for the others? They were all great.
As for Ryan Braun though? Well, one can't help but act human and think that maybe, just maybe he was on performance enhancers.
Is it right? Not necessarily.
Is it wrong? Not necessarily.
Sure, he never tested positive during the season. He continued to hit the shit out of the ball all while passing these tests. But just last season, he failed a test. I for one believe that performance enhancers help well, enhance performance. In which I would like to add, if they do not enhance performance, we should try and give them another name, like "placebos." Or perhaps "things that players take for no reason at all."
Buster Posey was the best player in the National League this season.
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
The difference between Hernandez and Verlander is almost indistinguishable. Hernandez pitched in an actual division, although I do not feel like checking either pitchers "opponents OPS." Hernandez had a slightly lower FIP, pitched six fewer innings, had a slightly better xFIP (if that matters), put the ball on the ground more often, had a higher BABIP, etc, etc, etc.
And after all that being said, Justin Verlander's name could just as easily have replaced King Felix's name. They did pitch in different ballparks, they did face different competition, but they pretty much worth the same value. And both were great, in what was not necessarily a great season for pitchers. None were MVP worthy, and there were few only two that even surpassed 6.0 wins. These two pitchers are the only two that did accomplish this feat.
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw threw 28 more innings than his most worthwhile competetition; Gio Gonzalez.
Kershaw was the best pitcher in the National League.
By 0.1 wins.
In other words, take your pick between he and Gio.
And I am bored of writing, out of energy and want to go play basketball. It is basketball season after all, which means instead of watching basketball, I play it.
I hope you like my post. And if not, I don't really care. I am a .org blogger anyway.