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Blowing Away the Joneses

As promised, here is the article on the Most Valuable Players from each league so far. We'll start in the National League, where much noise has been made lately to include Andruw Jones in the MVP race. Without even looking at any numbers I know it is a silly idea to make him the Most Valuable Player in the National League as long as Albert Pujols and this season Derrek Lee are still alive and well. I want to see just how far behind he is, so I ranked the top ten VORP leaders from the National League according to Net Runs Above Average. Let's take a look at what we have.

Derrek Lee still leads the field according to NRAA, with Albert Pujols the only other player in the 40/100 game range. Just so everyone knows, young Jeffrey Francoeur has an NRAA/100 games of 41.04, third best in the league. Even though he has not hit at Pujols or Lee's level, he is a superior defender to both, and it puts him in the same company so far. Maybe not right away, but I think we're seeing a pretty good player developing in Atlanta. If my MVP choice came from my use of NRAA (which I think it very well may) I would go with Derrek Lee for now, although Pujols has taken over the lead in Win Shares, 34 to 33 through September 6th. Derrek Lee has a slight edge in EqA but a hefty 7 run per 100 game lead in Rate2 over Pujols, securing his lead comfortably. As for our friend Andruw Jones, who is putting together a fine season. He is 8th among those listed in the top 10 in VORP in NRAA. He is behind David Wright, who until recently was having some fielding trouble inhibiting his NRAA score. Brian Giles, whose name most likely will not be mentioned anywhere on the World Wide Web besides in this venue and at one of the excellent San Diego Padres's blogs around, is 5th, behind the slugger he was traded for, Jason Bay. An argument can most assuredly be made that for all the worth Andruw Jones has to the Braves, Brian Giles is that much more valuable to a Padres team that cannot hit its way out of a soaking wet paper bag 3 nights a week. Of course, I would ignore said argument, because I for one do not adhere to the "the team is so much better for having him on it!" argument. Well yes, every team with an MVP caliber player is better for having Player X now are they not? Most teams cannot win with 8 men on their starting roster, and most can use an Albert Pujols type. By most I mean all teams. In fact, when we start cloning Albert Pujols, I'll take two. One to play corner outfield and one to play first base, maybe even a third to play the hot corner. Does anyone know if he can pitch?

So, with Derrek Lee winning NRAA handily, beating Pujols out in VORP 93.0 to 88.7, and only losing Win Shares by 1 to Albert, I think I can say that unless something changes in the next month (which it most assuredly will) than your 2005 NL MVP should be Derrek Lee.

As for the American League, the decision may be a little tougher to make.

1 and 2 in the American League in NRAA are designated hitters (hiss and boo goes the NL crowd). Alex Rodriguez would be first...if he was not a subpar defender. Travis Hafner does not get any extra credit for interleague games, as his Rate2 on the season is an even 100. David Ortiz on the other hand, has a Rate2 of 111. I did what I could to tweak that. 111 is 11 runs above average per 100 games, so I took 11, divided it by 100 and multiplied it by his AdjG (Adjusted Games) defensively (which was 8.9). This gave me .979, which is almost one run. I added that to 100, giving me 101. That is either really right or horribly wrong, but it does not matter much at the moment for one reason. Travis Hafner is ahead of both ARod and Ortiz according to NRAA, and should be seriously included in the discussion, DH or no. It comes down to whichever of these three players has the best offensive month, or if ARod can all of a sudden learn to play third base for 3 weeks. The chances are good that the three will slug it out for the title, but ARod will inevitably win, because DH's are inherently evil and were created by war wizards seeking to ruin baseball's purity...sarcasm my friends, I like DH's because I'm a Red Sox fan, and I want to see 1,000 runs scored in a season. More on that tomorrow though, on one way I think it could possibly be done.