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April 10, 2013 5:00 am

Sobsequy: Austin Jackson's Most Valuable Future

0

Adam Sobsey

Might Austin Jackson have a Trout-like season ahead of him?

When making my choices for last week’s pre-season BP staff predictions, I nearly included the Tigers’ Austin Jackson on my MVP ballot. I settled on safer choices: Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, and Mike Trout, who took three of the top four spots in the cumulative staff voting results.

Jackson, though, while not an obvious candidate, is at least a defensible choice by one important advanced metric. He finished tied for 10th in BWARP last year at 5.8. Yet although 12 of the top 16 players in BWARP from 2012 appear on BP’s 2013 pre-season MVP ballot this year, Jackson is not among them. Perhaps this has to do with PECOTA, which projects his WARP to fall to 2.7 WARP, making him less than half as valuable, overall, as he was last year. He is also projected for a big drop in TAv—over 40 points’ worth. But since PECOTA makes a strong case against A-Jax for 2013, let’s make the MVP case for one of the most valuable players in baseball last year. The ultimate goal here, though, is to consider the complexities of predicting.

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A look at some of the more unjustified uses of MVP votes in recent memory.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.

On Thursday, the BBWAA announced its selections for AL and NL MVP, and while you may not have agreed with the results, they were from from the most controversial we've ever seen. James Click identified some of the least-defensible first-place MVP votes ever in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as a "Crooked Numbers" column on November 17, 2005.
 


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November 12, 2012 5:00 am

Pebble Hunting: How Many MVP Votes Will Ryan Braun Lose?

7

Sam Miller

If the BBWAA doesn't select Ryan Braun as NL MVP, should we blame PED payback?

A few years back, Jay Jaffe introduced an MVP Predictor formula called JUMP on Baseball Prospectus. It was, if his descriptions of his spreadsheets are any indication, a spectacularly messy equation, befitting the complex and irregular methods voters use to choose their MVPs. As Jay wrote at the time,

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For reasons unclear, Matthew wants the Rangers' third baseman to be the AL MVP. Can he make a case?

I’ve wanted to write about Adrian Beltre for a long time, but with the Rangers' quick playoff exit there hasn’t been a good excuse. Then today, at the sports bar, standing at the urinal, I thought, "You know, Adrian Beltre should be the MVP." Because that’s what I think about in the bathroom, standing at the urinal: Adrian Beltre and the MVP race. And nothing else.

The MVP votes have already been cast so this is as effective as a political advertisement on November 7th, but hey, sometimes the candidates have money left over and what are you gonna do? Besides donate it to a homeless shelter or something all moral or whatever.

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October 15, 2012 5:00 am

Baseball Therapy: The Case for Cano

19

Russell A. Carleton

Why Robinson Cano deserves a second-plate vote on your mental AL MVP ballot.

Depending on the day, Robinson Cano is often the third- or fourth-most-talked-about member of the Yankee infield.

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The end of the season has arrived, so BP is ready to hand out its awards for the best of 2012.

Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff choices for the major player awards  (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results.

For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.

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A handy guide to understanding what WARP means without many numbers.

Over the weekend, there were plenty of end-of-season retrospectives from columnists who cast non-existent ballots for the MVPs, Cy Young award winners, and Rookies of the Year. As might be expected, many of the columnists brought up the WARP (Mike Trout) vs. Triple Crown (Miguel Cabrera) angle. There was a common theme running through the pieces that argued for Cabrera: WARP is a complicated and math-heavy stat, and because it is so complicated, how can we be sure that Trout was actually the better player?

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The best way to win a debate is to make the argument for the other side better than your opponent does. To support Mike Trout's MVP case, Russell tries taking the opposite stance.

In high school, I had a very wise history teacher whose motto was that the best way to win a debate was to be able to make the argument for the other side better than your debate opponent. So, I decided to challenge myself. Can I make a case that Miguel Cabrera deserves the American League MVP over Mike Trout using sabermetrics?

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Andrew McCutchen is continuing his pace to stardom and bringing big attention to Pittsburgh.

The Tuesday Takeaway
Remember when Matt Kemp was “the league’s best player, and the most valuable player to his team”—not to mention “the best show in the NL.” Over his first 100 at-bats of the season, Kemp produced 40 hits, including four doubles, a triple, and 12 home runs. The Dodgers were running away with the National League West, and Kemp was running away with the Most Valuable Player race.

No one knows how long a healthy Kemp could have sustained his incredible early-season run, though by the time he landed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury on May 13, his batting average was down to .359, and he had added only one more extra-base hit. Likewise, no one could have predicted that a player would top that run less two months later.


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Which players have won MVP awards without making the Midsummer Classic?

If you watched the All-Star game on Tuesday—and judging by the ratings, that’s a pretty big “if”—you probably thought you were watching the best players Major League Baseball had to offer (except for some injured ones). After all, bringing the best in baseball together for our viewing pleasure is what the All-Star game is for, or ​was for when it was still relevant. And since nothing can be better than the best, you're probably thinking, why even bother to see the second half of the season?

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Pegging BP's favorites in both leagues, both in the standings and for the major awards.

Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division with first-place votes in parentheses, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting. 

For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.).

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Now that the regular season has wrapped up, here's a look at who BP staffers think should win the major awards.

Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff choices for the major player awards  (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results.

For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.

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