Comments on: Were the triple crown winners the best players? This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Neil L. Mon, 02 May 2011 00:14:36 +0000 @50
Not dead yet, John Autin, I'm still checking here.

I think MVP voters have become less dazzled by RBI in recent years than they used to. I think that the message is starting to get out that it is a lineup-dependent statistic that can have vast inequities between players.

That being said how did Josh Hamilton win AL MVP last year? Was it his BA or was it a reward for previous seasons.

As you allude to, there is still a "political" component to MVP balloting. Thank goodness Gary Carter never won an MVP. (Sorry, JA, know you are a Mets fan

By: John Autin Sun, 01 May 2011 05:35:08 +0000 Dunno if this thread is dead yet, but some thoughts on a couple of "puzzling" MVP selections discussed above:

Baylor, 1979

(1) Never underestimate the overvaluing of big RBI numbers. Look at the RBI titleists from 1969-79 who had over 130 RBI:
-- 1969, Killebrew -- won the MVP; 5th in oWAR, 8th in WAR/pos. players.
-- 1970, Bench -- won the MVP; 2nd (tie) in WAR/pos. players (trailing teammate Perez), distant 5th in overall WAR (which Bob Gibson led by a country mile).
-- 1971, Torre -- won the MVP; 3rd in WAR/pos. players (Stargell had twice as many HRs as Torre), distant 5th in overall WAR (Fergie Jenkins dominated).
-- 1977, Foster -- won the MVP; not a bad choice, but Schmidt was better.
-- 1978, Rice -- won the MVP; 2nd in WAR/pos. players (Amos Otis!), 4th in overall WAR (Guidry!).
-- 1979 Baylor -- won the MVP; 6th in oWAR, out of top 10 in WAR/pos. players.

(2) Some writers just go gaga for strong personalities -- gung-ho, no-nonsense "leader" types like Baylor. This was evident in the MVP vote for Kirk Gibson (though I also think that was not a bad selection).

Mickey Cochrane, 1934
Never underestimate the impact of the "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" fallacy. In 1933, the Tigers went 75-79 with a team that included most of the standouts of '34: Gehringer (full season), Greenberg (2/3 of season), Rowe (1/2 season). In 1934, they won 101 games and the pennant. What changed? They added Cochrane. Ergo, Cochrane won the pennant! (This, too, was a factor in Kirk Gibson's MVP.)

P.S. As Johnny Twisto noted, the Tigers also added Goose Goslin in '34. However, (a) Goslin's '34 season was merely solid, not impressive for an OF of that era (he was not on any WAR leaderboard), and (b) Goslin always seemed to get slighted by the MVP voters, for some reason. For example, in 1925, Goslin was 2nd in overall WAR, his Senators won the pennant, and he led the team in every offensive category -- yet teammate Roger Peckinpaugh won perhaps the most puzzling MVP award ever, while Goslin got nary a vote. In 1924, the Senators won the pennant, with Goslin easily the team's best hitter, also leading the league in RBI; yet he went unmentioned in this MVP vote, too. Ruth, the best player that year as usual, was ineligible by rule, having won the award before, and it went to Walter Johnson, who was not a bad option. But it's odd that Senators catcher Muddy Ruel, an offensive zero that year, placed 11th, while Goslin was utterly shut out.

By: Johnny Twisto Sun, 01 May 2011 00:10:36 +0000 Ruth led in WAR and OPS+ 11 times. I'll assume he led in WPA as well in more than a couple of those seasons.

By: Neil L. Sat, 30 Apr 2011 04:59:16 +0000 @47
Admittedly a small sample size but Bautista's early numbers are 261/13.8 (projected)/9.0 (projected).

And that doesn't include his big night tonight in NY.

By: BSK Fri, 29 Apr 2011 21:40:02 +0000 Duh, it was the first link in the "Related Posts" section. Courtesy of poster Eric:

1951: Ted Williams (165/6.5/6.4)
1953: Al Rosen (179/9.7/6.5)
1956: Mickey Mantle (210/12.9/8.4)
1958: Willie Mays (165/10.4/7.8)
1961: Mickey Mantle (206/11.9/8.9)
1962: Mickey Mantle (196/7.1/8.0)
1964: Willie Mays (172/10.2/6.2)
1967: Carl Yastrzemski (193/12.2/8.5)
1969: Willie McCovey (209/8.9/10.1)
1972: Dick Allen (199/9.3/7.3)
1975: Joe Morgan (169/12.0/7.5)
1976: Joe Morgan (186/10.0/7.0)
1977: Rod Carew (178/10.9/6.6)
1978: Dave Parker (166/7.1/6.4)
1979: Dave Winfield (166/8.4/7.2)
1980: Mike Schmidt (171/9.1/5.9)
1980: George Brett (203/9.6/6.2)
1981: Mike Schmidt (199/7.6/5.9)
1986: Mike Schmidt (152/6.6/5.2)
1990: Barry Bonds (170/9.7/5.7)
1990: Rickey Henderson (188/10.0/5.5)
1991: Barry Bonds (160/8.3/8.1)
1992: Barry Bonds (205/10.0/6.1)
1993: Barry Bonds (204/10.6/7.4)
1994: Jeff Bagwell (213/8.9/5.9)
2001: Barry Bonds (259/12.5/11.5)
2001: Jason Giambi (198/10.3/8.5)
2002: Barry Bonds (268/12.2/10.5)
2004: Barry Bonds (263/12.4/12.9)
2006: Albert Pujols (178/8.3/9.5)
2007: Alex Rodriguez (176/9.9/7.5)

I can't vouch for the accuracy, because I didn't do the research myself, but I have no reason to doubt it.

Quite an impressive list there. The slashes are OPS+/WAR/WPA, since it is not necessarily apparent which is WAR and which is WPA. I don't know the circumstances of many of these individual seasons, but there isn't a name on there I don't know. And it isn't limited to big boppers (like the TC normally is), as you have Henderson and Morgan on there.

By: BSK Fri, 29 Apr 2011 21:35:35 +0000 Argh, someone actually posted up when it came up a while back. I think it was in Andy's post last year about the potential Triple Crown guys. I'll see if I can find it. Damn you, Mr. Twisto!

By: Johnny Twisto Fri, 29 Apr 2011 18:10:29 +0000 Fine by me, but now its incumbent upon you to put together the list of STC winners.

By: BSK Fri, 29 Apr 2011 17:01:08 +0000 I still contend the STC should be WPA, WAR, and OPS+.

By: John Q Fri, 29 Apr 2011 16:48:34 +0000 @42 Lawrence A,

What's strange to me is that Baylor played DH for about 40% of the season and was a horrible defensive outfield the rest of the time. I remember there being a pretty big bias against DHs winning the MVP award during the 80's, 90's & 00's. I guess they just looked at the RBI's. Maybe it was the surprise after years of mediocrity that the Angels finally won something. It's also odd when you consider that Lynn and Brett were huge stars in 1979. I've often wondered how differently Lynn would have been perceived if he had won the '79 MVP.

I always found that '79 Angels team to be very interesting. What I find interesting is the part the Ryan-Fregosi trade had on that team. What's often left out of the Ryan trade is that the Mets gave the Angels THREE other players other than Ryan: Frank Estrada, Leroy Stanton, and Don Rose.

Frank Estrada was traded for Tom Dukes and Dukes played for a year with the '72 Angels.

Leroy Stanton played for the Angels from '72-76. He had a good year in '75 but was mostly mediocre during his Angels stint. He was picked up by the Mariners in the expansion draft in '77.

Don Rose played for the Angels in '72 and then was Traded to the Giants for Ed Figueroa.

Figueroa played for the Angels in '74 and had an great year for the Angels in '75 before being traded along with Mickey Rivers for Bobby Bonds.

Bobby Bonds played decently for the Angels in '76 and had an very good year for the Angels in '77 before being traded along with Richard Dotson & Thad Bosley for Brian Downing, Dave Frost and Chris Knapp.

Downing had an excellent year for the Angels hitting .326/.418/.462 while catching and Frost and Ryan were very good for the Angels on the pitching side.

So basically the Angels Best offensive player, (Downing) and their two best pitchers (Frost, Ryan) came both directly and indirectly from the Ryan trade. And to top it off, Fregosi came back and was the manager of this team.

By: Lawrence Azrin Fri, 29 Apr 2011 13:50:32 +0000 @39/ John Q Says: "@18, The Fred Lynn 1979 season is a completely overlooked season for some reason..."

John G, looking back at the 1979 AL MVP voting, it's hard to understand how Don Baylor finished ahead of Fred Lynn and George Brett, let alone how he won so decicively. Brett and Lynn were simply much better all-around players, and their conventional stats weren't that much worse than Baylor's. I guess being on a division-winner _and_ leading the league in RBI was a combination impossible to resist?

As for Ted Williams not winning the MVP in 1942 and 1947, I think some voters simply didn't like him, and then made up reasons to justify their votes (he's a selfish player; he doesn't hit when it counts; he'd rather take a walk than swing at a pitch outside the strike zone to drive in a run, etc...).