Monday, November 13, 2006

Permutations and Complications

Gleeman has a new post up today with his top 10 A.L. MVP candidates. Suprisingly (to us), the battle came down to Jeter vs. Mauer, with the mighty Canadian a distant...10th? 10th!?
Luis Rodriguez did not appear, but I assume he's 11th.

This has stirred up a good deal of debate within the Tuesdays With Torii front offices, in parallel with the national mucky muck on this issue. Even the mail room clerks and college interns are all tirades and hissy fits today, extruding anger in gooey explitive-encased furniture-punching. And even though that is a questionable and confusing analogy, this appears to be one of the trickier MVP debates in recent memory, so irrational behavior and metaphors are probably no suprise.

Gleeman's argument relies on several mathematically-inclined postulates, as he is want to do, and clarified and indepthnified with trickier geometry. In other words...boring. Who wants to decide an MVP this way? Not us. That's why we didn't become astrophysicists because...you know...we totally could have.

The TWT staff generally agrees (yeah, until you start reading the comments section) that when deciding, "Who is the best?", intangibles have to be a large part of the argument. Where are the categories for Memorable and/or Clutch Hits, I Can't Believe He Did Thats, Wow! Performances, and Instances of Gut Showing (not in a cut off t-shirt way -- I'm looking in your direction Matthew Lecroy)? Anyone who watched 90% of Twins games this year would HAVE to say that Morneau was the most valuable player on this team this year, even though he's not a middle defensive player with a superior OBP. Sure, on a national scale, intangible criteria like this gives an advantage to large market players, as more of the baseball-viewing populace probably gets to see these highlights, or watch their games on national television, or hear Brantley and Dibble drivel concerning said candidates, but I for one believe it still has to be a part of the equation. Baseball is about legends and myths and Bucky Fucking Dent stories, and not just about Value Over Replacement Player numbers.

Sure, I'm biased. Sure, I can't pick MVPs based on objective facts. But I also don't watch and enjoy baseball to construct clever algorithms. I don't watch it to constantly prove myself right about my own opinions. It's much more fun to be proven wrong.

Morneau for MVP.

12 comments:

Kaiser said...

One more thing that I couldn't artfully squeeze into the post. When it comes to pitchers being up for MVP awards, you always hear that they have to have a standout, exceptional year to be even considered, because they only pitch every fifth game or so. Well, shouldn't there be an equivalent adjustment factor for offensive players who either play on a tremendously offensively gifted team (Jeter) or a putrid one (any Devil Ray)? Shouldn't Jeter have to have had a simply ridiculous year to justify him being so integral to his team's success and therefore worthy of an MVP? This is the thing that I keep coming back to and simply can't ignore.

Hops said...

My problem with Gleeman's ballot isn't that Jeter's the winner...but that Mauer's second.

Gleeman, and many others, are WAY too numbers based. As someone who watched or listened to 95% of the Twins' games this year, I just can't be convinced that Joe Mauer was more valuable to this team than Justin Morneau. And I don't believe this is my usual Mauer bashing. Above all else, the Twins needed someone to drive in runs...and Morneau did that like no other player in recent history. His march toward 30 home runs galvanized the team...and helped them all believe they finally had a "slugger" that could intimidate opposing pitching. OBP is a wonderful stat that has been completely ABUSED in the moneyball era. You can't win games with guys who get on base...unless you have monsters behind them in the line-up...turning solo home-runs into two- and three-run homers.

Kaiser, in your statement about pitchers and Jeter, you're assuming being integral to your team's success is automatically the first criterion for any voter...I don't think that's true. Voters look to reward someone who has had a "special" year, first and foremost. And that's usually when pitching can enter the equation. In the absence of such a candidate, I believe the voters move their focus to dominate offensive years by hitters. In that absence of THAT (i.e., this year)...the voters move to sentimentality; Who hasn't won this award, but probably should sometime before their career is over? I haven't even gotten to "value" yet...

Also, keep in mind, the system is set-up perfectly. The idea behind giving awards isn't solely to reward the players...it's to stimulate discussion (and thereby interest) in the game. Done and done.

Kaiser said...

I didn't mean to imply that importance in team success is the first criteria, but rather should/could be used as a separator when things are close. "Specialness" of the year is a great way to put what should be the primary resume builder for candidacy.

Also, I grant that these kinds of arguments are difficult to make because, for instance, I really have no good impression of how "special" Jeter's year was because I did not pay a great deal of attention to him on a day to day basis, whereas I saw or heard or read about Morneau nearly every day of the season. I don't think I'm probably a great deal different from most sportswriters on that count. And that is once again a symptom of East Coast Bias Syndrome. How many writers unconnected to the Twins or Yankees directly would be equally aware of Morneau's contribution to the Twins as Jeter's to the Yankees. I think that pendulum swings primarily in one direction. East.

Hops said...

Stop it, stop it, stop it.

Population of New York
8.1 million

Population of Chicago
2.8 million

Mpls is, what, 350 thou?

There's no bias.

Smitty said...

I'm a rube and therefore believe Morneau is your MVP. I agree with Hops that the OPS is overrated as the "tell all" offensive stat.

When looking at MVP's, it's hard to differentiate between the offensive stats when looking at the top candidates. Moreau hit .321, Dye hit .315, Mauer .344, Jeter .343 all good. HRs, Runs, RBI are alittle different. 35HR vs 14, 130 RBI vs 97 RBI, 34 SB's vs 4, you get the point. It has to then come down to the intangibles and what this player means to the teams success. Morneau has to be favored vs Jeter.

Morneau definately, without question was the most important player on our squad this year. He was clutch, he drove in runs. His ability to be the silver slugger definately improves Cuddy and Hunter's stats. It took pressure off the other guys. This was a career year for a winning team and a team that was "dead" two months into the season. Come on.

Yes I dislike the Yankees. Yes they get too much pub (as do the BoSox). Let's be honest, Jeter was the most consistent player (I can say that cause he was on my fantasy squad) on the "best" team in the AL. He had a really good year, but I will not be convinced that if he was not there, the Yankees would not have made the playoffs. That their record would have been significantly different. When you have an all-star team offense in a division that doesn't need pitching (no one has a good staff), I'm sorry they still would have won the East.
I dislike the "career reward" arguement cause this is an annual reward for season.

Unless a pitcher goes for like 25+ wins, 300 k's, 10+ shutouts, I'm not going to consider one for this award. That's why we have the Cy Young.

Wow, am I really this angry?

crystal said...

Your love spats are so cute!

Can we try to find uniforms that allow increased Instances of Gut Showing next year in the cut off t-shirt sense of the word (especially since LeCroy won't be involved)? I think I could handle that.

Hops said...

If you accept my rationale that "special-ness" of the season is a major factor in MVP voting...why can't it be considered a career achievement award? Especially in a year where there is no clear-cut winner? Jeter's been a big part of MLB for his entire career...who cares that he plays for the MFY's.

Give it to him.

(Possible bonus, Morneau gets Ortiz-level pissed and hits .340, 45, 165 next year?)

Hops said...

Awards Season updates:

Hanley Ramirez beat out the rest of the Florida Marlins roster to win NL Rookie of the Year, and Justin Verlander took home the AL honors. He who shall not be named until 2008 finished third.

And the home club's very own Terry Ryan was named Executive of the Year by The Sporting News. Evidently, Mr. Ryan has used his superpowers to have the Tony Batista signing removed from the historical record.

Read about it here

Hops said...

More updates...B-Webb wins the JV Cy Young.

I saw him pitch this year in Cincinatti against Eric Milton. Yes, I'm still yawning.

Pooh said...

Hanley Ramirez beat out the rest of the Florida Marlins roster to win NL Rookie of the Year

Curse you, Josh Beckett...

$51 Mil for Daisuke Matsuzaka?

Hops said...

Pooh,

You're required to post something longer about the $51 Million Dollar Baby.

Hops said...

shocking