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The 2005 MVP's

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The awards for the 2005 season have started to be presented, with the Silver Slugger award winners announced yesterday. Good luck trying to find which awards come next by the way; I cannot seem to find a schedule anywhere, and no one I have talked to this morning seems to know. As far as player award goes, my guess is Jackie Robinson Awards, Cy Young Awards, and finally the Most Valuable Player awards. I have chosen to write about the MVP for both leagues, and different writers here will give their take on the other awards this week before they are presented. As my main tool of analysis I am of course sticking with Net Runs Above Average. I took the top 10 in the American and National Leagues in both NRAA and NRAA/GP (Net Runs Above Average per Games Played; the cumulative version of the rate stat). This allows us to see who was the most dominant, but also who was the most dominant for a longer time. A note on the National League list: J.D. Drew looks like he would have ended up somewhere in the middle of the top ten if he had avoided injury. Most likely healthy next year we can expect the same from him. I will also use mOPS+, which is just like OPS+, except obviously with Sal's version of the statistic. Essentially, (2.2*OPB)+ISO, then use a multiplier to get a league average baseline of 100. Numbers above and below 100 are the percentage +/- league average.

According to the regular version of Net Runs Above Average, Travis Hafner was the most valuable player in the American League this year, followed by Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. Part of the problem with this, and I am sure it is something that Richard Wade will figure out how to adjust for roughly 15 minutes after publication of this article, is how we adjust for Hafner and Ortiz DHing. I already adjusted his Rate2 for playing time; it was 113, and with that he is by far the AL MVP. He cannot receive so much credit for a handful of games, but I chose not to ignore it completely and settled on giving him a Rate2 of 101, or 1 run above average per 100 games. Some other interesting items from this top 10 list:

  • Mark Ellis finished 9th in the American League in NRAA. No, seriously. With a .290 EqA and superb defense at second base, he deserved it completely. It just surprised me.
  • Jhonny Peralta was by far the best starting shortstop in the American League. Not to mention he was the best defensive starting shortstop in the American League. Juan Castro, in 62.9 AdjG (estimation of complete 9 inning games) posted a Rate2 of 123.
  • With all the bad things going on in Baltimroe this year after a promising start, Brian Roberts still managed to finish 7th in NRAA. What about his much more heralded teammate Miguel Tejada? He finished 93 in MLB with a 12.89 NRAA, a fall from 2004's 27.37.
To account for Hafner's lack of games played in comparison to Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, we have to use NRAA/GP.

And that may be our verdict. Hafner falls to fourth (although a valiant effort for someone who played 22-25 games less than the three players ahead of him) and Rodriguez takes the top spot. And as I've said (which I'd prove to you if I could find the link from April) and James Click recently said, A-Rod does not simply beat up on bad pitching alone, so he does deserve the award. Interesting by the way that Derek Jeter slips in to the top 10 using this metric. My take on his supposed Gold Glove for 2005 is that he was not the best defensive shortstop, but atleast he was not below average like last year. Gold Gloves are essentially meaningless thanks to picking famous or offensive players to receive them.

Here are the top 5 in the American League according to mOPS+:

  1. Jason Giambi 141
  2. Alex Rodriguez 139
  3. Travis Hafner 136
  4. David Ortiz 135
  5. Manny Ramirez 132

Looks like A-Rod remains on top, since Giambi does not have as much of a claim as Ortiz or Hafner. On to the National League...

Many think Albert Pujols is beginning to bald because he is older than his stated age. I am going to stick to the claim that a lack of MVP's is seriously eating away at his forelock. 2005 is no different, because even with Barry Bonds out due to injury for all but a handful of games, Pujols finished #2 to Derrek Lee. Will Pujols get the MVP in 2005? Most definitely. If Lee had surged in the second half rather than the first (although he was excellent all year long according to Derek Smart) he most likely would go home with the hardware. Really defense is all that is separating these two anyways, and I do not think the voters took that into consideration too much. By the way, is it scary that an off-year from Todd Helton is the third best season by NRAA in the majors? I know he's third in the NL, but the National League claimed the first five spots this year overall. Jim Edmonds for AL MVP!

The NRAA/GP tell us nothing different, as everyone but Brian Giles, Nick Johnson and Morgan Ensberg stay put. Interesting that Cliff Floyd makes both lists and Andruw Jones makes neither eh? I would not be surprised if Jones wins either, although he clearly does not deserve it according to these charts. Here are the top 5 in mOPS+ in the NL:

  1. Derrek Lee 143
  2. Albert Pujols 140
  3. Todd Helton 136
  4. Chipper Jones 133
  5. Carlos Delgado 133
"These are not the Joneses you're looking for." Poor joke I know, but Episode III did come out today, so atleast its (somewhat) warranted. Chipper, not Andruw, is the only Atlanta Jones to make these lists. If they could move him back to the outfield, where he could play roughly league average defense, his value would be much higher. Of course, with defensive studs out there in Jeff Francouer, Ryan Langerhans and Kelly Johnson, I do not see that happening. That is a topic for another day of course. Derrek Lee tops the list for mOPS+, and since the difference is only 3 percentage points above league average, let me also show you their raw mOPS:

Lee: 1.247
Pujols: 1.225

Close, but no cigar for Pujols. Until the writers give him the award of course.