Thursday, October 13, 2005

2005 MVP Voting

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One Man’s MVP Ballot
Contributed By: Ray Flowers

OK, so MLB isn’t knocking my door down looking for my thoughts in the 2005 MVP races, but that never stopped me before. Here is my MVP ballot, one that I hope makes sense to all of you even if you don’t necessarily agree with my conclusions.


Candidates: David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez

DAVID ORTIZ (.300-47-148-119-1)“Big Papi” is widely regarded as the heart and soul of the Red Sox. Seemingly always coming through with a clutch hit Ortiz lead the AL in RBI, was 2 nd in HR and 3 rd in Runs. One huge negative against him is that he played only 10 games at 1B this year.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ (.321-48-130-124-21)
The leader of the Yankees offense, Arod bounced back after his worst full-season last year setting an all-time Yankees record for HR by a right hander in 2005 (46 by Joe D. was the old mark). Arod led the AL in HR, was 2 nd in AVG and finished 4 th in RBI. Arod is also in line to win a Gold Glove this year with an excellent defensive season in the books.

MANNY RAMIREZ (.292-45-144-112-1)
Often overlooked with the Big Papi fervor in Boston, Manny had his 2 nd consecutive 40 HR 130 RBI season and 4 th of his career (ties Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa for most such seasons amongst active players). Finished 2 nd to teammate Ortiz in RBI, was 3rd in HR, and 7 th in Runs in the AL.


Let’s compare the three men in the following offensive categories:


Ortiz – .300-47-148-119-1 with .397/.604/1.001

Arod – .321-48-130-124-21 with .421/.610/1.031

Ramirez – .292-45-144-112-1 with .388/.594/.982

Listed below is each man’s ranking amongst AL hitters.

Ortiz – .300 (14 th), 47 HR (2 nd), 148 RBI (1 st), 119 Runs (3 rd), .397 OBP (4 th), .604 SLG (2 nd), 1.001 OPS (3 rd)

Arod – .321 (2 nd), 48 HR (1 st), 130 RBI (4 th), 124 Runs (1 st), .421 OBP (2 nd), .610 SLG (1 st), 1.031 OPS (1 st)

Ramirez – .292 (22 nd),45 HR (3 rd), 144 (2 nd), 112 Runs (7 th), .388 OB (7 th), .594 SLG (4 th), .982 OPS (4 th)

If you add up those rankings, with the lowest number being the best, here is what you get:

Ortiz – 27
Arod – 12
Ramirez – 49

Much like Andruw Jones in the NL, Ortiz has been billed as the ultimate “clutch” performer this year, so let’s look at the numbers to see if that belief is supported by fact.

Runners on base: .315 with a 1.006 OPS
RISP: .352 with a 1.043 OPS
RISP with 2 Outs: .368 with a 1.226 OPS
* 289 AB with runners on base produced 119 RBI, or one RBI per 2.43 AB.

Runners on base: .305 with a .957 OPS
RISP: .290with a .894 OPS
RISP with 2 Outs: .302 with a .940 OPS
* 305 AB with runners on base produced 103 RBI, or one RBI per 2.96 AB.

Runners on base: .346- with a 1.182 OPS
RISP: .358 with a 1.244 OPS
RISP with 2 Outs: .301 with a 1.063 OPS
* 280 AB with runners on base produced 131 RBI, or one RBI per 2.14 AB.

Well, Ortiz sure was a clutch hitter, an a fantastic one at that, but look at his teammate Ramirez. Manny averaged an RBI every 2.14 AB with a runner on base!!! I know it might be taboo to say, but the best “clutch” hitter in Boston this year was the aloof LF Manny Ramirez and NOT Big Papi!

How about their September/October performance?

Otiz hit .321-11-30-20
Arod hit .330-8-25-26
Ramirez hit .309-12-29-21

One last area we need to cover, and that is defense. Arod will probably win the Gold Glove this year after committing only 12 errors all year. Manny, well he is a pure adventure out there playing the Green Monster, but at least he is out there. Ortiz played 1B in only 10 games this year, and I don’t care how good a hitter he was, he only played half of the game, and that just isn’t what an MVP should do (there are gloves for a reason). Plus, his hitting was almost exactly matched by Ramirez in every category including “clutch” hitting, so I just don’t see how the voting should lean toward Ortiz.


4. Travis Hafner. (.305-33-108-94-0 with a 1.003 OPS). Just like Ortiz, Hafner failed to play half the game appearing in but a single game this year in the field. Led the Indians late charge with 11 HR and 26 RBI in September.

3. David Ortiz. Teammates Ortiz and Ramirez will probably split some of the votes since they should be considered the 2 nd and 3 rd best hitters in the AL this year. Ortiz just can’t win the award, he doesn’t play defense. Even the often-lost Ramirez gives it a shot.

2. Manny Ramirez. Quietly just as productive as the man who gets all the publicity in BOS, is this the quietest 144 RBI ever? With the game on the line this is the Red Sox I would want at the plate, and the numbers support that view.

1. ARod. Undoubtedly the best all-around player in the game, this is the type of performance that should result from the largest contract in the game. If Arod doesn’t win the award this year, an I can’t believe I’m saying this since I despise the guy, he will have been robbed worse than that poor slob who Bill Gates stole the DOS operating system from all those years ago.


Candidates: Andruw Jones, Albert Pujols and Derrek Lee

ANDRUW JONES (.263-51-128-95-5)
Unquestionably the best defensive player under consideration, Jones posted career highs in HR and RBI this year leading the NL in both categories. Jones is often credited with leading an injury depleted Braves team to the playoffs, and while there is no disputing the fact that he was often protected by less than “seasoned” major league players, should this really be a deciding factor in the race?

ALBERT PUJOLS (.330-41-117-129-16)

Pujols lead the NL in Runs, was 2 nd in AVG and 3 rd in HR while leading all 1B in SB with 16 (his previous career high was 5). Much has been made of Jones leading a Braves team with little offensive help, but were the Cardinals really a better offensive team this year? I mean the last time I looked Scott Rolen played in only 56 games, Jim Edmonds had his worst season since coming to St. Louis, Reggie Sanders suffered multiple injures limiting him to only 93 games and Larry Walker could only be found in the trainers room for large portions of the season (100 games). Does that really give Pujols a “better” lineup hitting around him than Jones?

DERREK LEE (.335-46-107-120-15)
The talk of a Triple Crown died as the season progressed, but no Cub fan or fantasy owner of Lee could complain. Easily eclipsing his career highs of .282-32-98, Lee finished just a single hit away from his first 200 hit season (his previous career high was 168). Lee also played his usual stellar defense at 1B, but the Cubs dismal finish, in the mind of most, sunk his chances to win the award.


Let’s compare the three men in the following offensive categories:


Jones - .263-51-128-95-5 with .347/.575/.922

Pujols - .330-41-117-129-16 with .430/.609/1.039

Lee - .335-46-107-120-15 with .418/.662/1.080

So despite leading the NL in HR and RBI Jones finishes last amongst our three in Slg% and over .100 points behind the other two in OPS! In fact, Jones .922 OPS was only the 12 th best in the NL, extremely unimpressive for an MVP candidate don’t you think (Lee led the NL and Pujols was 2 nd)? Another interesting fact is that Jones’ OBP of .347 is barely ahead of the other two men’s batting average… does that signify an MVP season?

Listed below is each man’s ranking amongst NL hitters.

Jones - .263 (50 th), 51 HR (1 st), 128 RBI (1 st), 95 Runs (15 th), .347 OBP (40 th), .575 Slg% (5 th), .922 OPS (12 th).

Pujols - .330 (2 nd), 41 HR (3 rd), 117 (2 nd), 129 Runs (1 st), .430 OBP (2 nd), .609 Slg% (2 nd), 1.039 OPS (2 nd).

Lee - .335 (1 st), 46 HR (2 nd), 107 (7 th), 120 Runs (2 nd), .418 OBP (4 th), .662 Slg% (1 st), 1.080 OPS (1 st).

If you add up those rankings, with the lowest number being the best, here is what you get:

Jones – 124
Pujols – 14
Lee – 18

Yikes is right.

The last point put out there by Jones supporters is that Andruw was “clutch” all year long which is why he lead the NL in RBI. Do the numbers really back that up?

Runners on base: .236 with a .823 OPS
RISP: .207 with a .721 OPS
RISP with 2 Outs: .244 with a .880 OPS
* 297 AB with runners on base and produced 96 RBI, or one RBI per 3.09AB.

Runners on base: .313 with a 1.032 OPS
RISP: .329 with a 1.093 OPS
RISP with 2 Outs: .308 with a 1.113 OPS
* 272 AB with runners on base produced 96 RBI, or one RBI per 2.83 AB.

Runners on Base: .309 with a .995 OPS
RISP: .331 with a 1.133 OPS
RISP with 2 Outs: .308 with a 1.096 OPS
* 236 AB with runners on base produced 76 RBI, or one RBI per 3.11 AB.

So despite leading the NL in RBI Jones was actually the WORST “clutch” hitter amongst the group, and the only reason he had more RBI than the other two hitters was because he had more opportunities with runners on base!


3. Andruw Jones. Despite his defense, Jones finishes a distant 3 rd in any rational person’s MVP vote. If he finishes higher than that, I would seriously question the writers wisdom and whether or not the current system of voting should continue into the future.

2. Derrek Lee. Unfortunately his teams poor finish will distract slightly from his overall performance. Also, the fact that this was obviously his career year might cause some writers to devalue him versus Pujols mind-numbing consistency. This is really one of the closets MVP calls in recent memory. If he won, I really couldn’t put up a strong argument against him.

1. Albert Pujols. Has to be given a little bit of credit for leading his team to the division title. Also, in ALL 5 years of this man’s career he has hit at least .314, with at least 34 HR, with at least 117 RBI, with at least 112 Runs, with at least 185 hits with at least a .955 OPS. Get out to the ballpark to watch this man, in 15 years he will be considered one of the 10 best overall hitters who ever lived.

Ray Flowers, a member of SABR and FSWA, can be reached with comments/questions or suggestions at: