2018 Awards Voting: MVP

Greetings, everyone! Dr. Doom here again.

Doug is generously letting me write awards-balloting posts again. So I’ll start with some discussion, and you can feel free to weigh in with your ballots in the comments. Rules are at the bottom of the post. More after the jump.

In the Junior Circuit, there are a lot of strong candidates. There’s a pretty strong argument that the 5-7 best players in baseball this year are all in the AL. So let’s start there. Mike Trout is continuing to be a wonder, but he also continues his recent trend of missing time. Two years in a row, he has been, per PA, the best hitter in the AL while playing above-average (and occasionally stellar) CF. Yet, once again, he missed substantial time. Also missing time was Mookie Betts who, when he played, had the argument that he was right up there with Trout. But it was neither of them, but rather Betts’ teammate J.D. Martinez that made a run at a Triple Crown, mashing all over Fenway. And speaking of mashing, no player in either league matched the power prowess of Khris (Don’t Call Me Chris) Davis, who clubbed nearly 50 home runs, many of them moon shots in the AL’s biggest ballpark. Davis’s teammate Matt Chapman combined power at the plate and stellar defense at the hot corner for an 8.2 WAR season. In Cleveland, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez anchored the left side of the infield. with each scoring 100+ runs and compiling identical 7.9 WAR scores. In Houston, third baseman Alex Bregman had a breakout 30 HR, 100 RBI season while leading the league with 51 doubles, good for a 6.9 WAR total. Angel defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons garnered 6.2 WAR with a solid .292 BA, while becoming one of only three players to record more RBI than strikeouts for each of the past three seasons. In Seattle, Mitch Haniger showed that his 2017 rookie season was no fluke, topping 6 WAR with a 90 run/90 RBI season and almost 300 TB in one of the league’s toughest hitter’s parks. In the Bronx, rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar, replacing fan favorite Todd Frazier, struggled in the field but was a hit at bat with 27 HR, 47 doubles and “only” 97 strikeouts, while teammate Giancarlo Stanton put up typical Stanton-esque totals of 38 HR and 100 RBI to help fill the void when 2017 home run champ Aaron Judge lost significant time to injury.

In the Senior Circuit, Christian Yelich wowed in the second half, and it took an unbelievable Brett– or Yastrzemski-like final week (or two) to finally nab the WAR lead among position players from teammate Lorenzo Cain, who might have less baseball mileage on him than any 32-year-old in history (the Brewers were banking on that low mileage when they gave him a five-year deal this last off-season). Cain was decent with the bat, hovering right around a .400 OBP in a league in which only Joey Votto cleared that figure by any substantial margin. The rookies Ronald Acuña Jr. and Juan Soto made a splash. Bryce Harper was an absolute failure on balls in play (just a .281 BABIP), yet led the NL in walks and crept toward a .400 OBP in a 30-HR, 100-RBI season for the (perpetually) disappointing Nationals. His teammate Max Scherzer battled division-mates Jacob DeGrom and Aaron Nola for the title of the league’s best pitcher. Matt Carpenter was a surprise contender on the HR leaderboard. Paul Goldschmidt put up the exact same (MVP-type) season he’s had three years in a row. Nolan Arenado continued to rake in Colorado, smacking two homers on the final day to take the NL title. Javy Báez proved that a low OBP is no barrier to a fabulous season both in the field and the batter’s box, showing heretofore unseen power (more than 80 XBH this year, after a previous best under 50). And dozens of other players (Freddie Freeman, Jesus Aguilar, Trevor Story, Brian Anderson, Anthony Rendon, Max Muncy, Brandon Nimmo, Scooter Gennett, and SO MANY more) had seasons that could and maybe should earn them down-ballot votes. This one’s ridiculously hairy, so good luck with it!

Rules: Vote by making a comment below and numbering your choices with 1 being the MOST preferred candidate, and 10 being your LEAST preferred candidate of your ten choices. Please vote under only one screen name (I’m looking at you, RockInTheHall; it’s been five years, but I haven’t forgotten). Your ballots will be EXACTLY ten places for each award, just as the BBWAA does. Scoring will be 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, just as the BBWAA does. You may post all your ballots in the same comment, or you may vote in separate comments. You are not required to vote in all elections; only vote in the ones you would like to vote in. You may make vote changes, if the discussion so moves you. If you change your vote, please do so in a new comment, not as a reply to your original comment (it’s a lot easier to find new comments than replies to old ones). Please don’t vote strategically; we’re trying to get the best result, not to manipulate the vote totals based on what others have done. Voting will remain open about one week.

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117 Comments on "2018 Awards Voting: MVP"

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Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

What does your comment about Lorenzo Cain s baseball mileage mean?

Dr. Doom
Guest

Cain didn’t start playing baseball – at all – until age 16. He literally apparently thought you were supposed to wear the glove on your throwing hand, so he grabbed a lefty glove on his first day of high school baseball. I (and others) hope this means his knees will hold up longer than other speed-reliant players, many of whom start logging hard outfield innings young, and often play upwards of a hundred games per year as amateurs.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Logging hard outfield innings? Hmmmm, I dunno. I played nine years of little league. And at least three hours a day of basketball as a teenager. I can’t recall ever being sore.

There’s probably truth to what you’re saying, but, he was an athletic kid. Whatever he was doing with his time before baseball probably put some wear on the wheels.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Let’s say ballots are due by Wednesday night, October 10, at 11:59:59 your local time. West Coasters, enjoy your 11th-hour advantage. (Ultimately, though, I probably won’t be checking until I get to work on Thursday morning, so that’s really the end time; point is, if you get it done Wednesday before you go to bed, it’s sure to be counted).

Paul E
Guest

Lists? Everybody likes to make lists, right? :
1) Yelich
2) Baez
3) Story
4) Goldschmidt
5) Freeman
6) Carpenter
7) Arenado
8) Acuna
9) Albies
10) Aguilar

1) Betts
2) Bregman
3) K. Davis
4) JD Martinez
5) Trout
6) Ramirez
7) Lindor
8) Haniger
9) Hicks
10) Chapman – my concession to dWAR

At the All Star break, I thought Baez and Ramirez were locks for these awards. But, that’s why they play 162 (or 163). Could have gone with Andujar or even Gleyber Torres over Hicks but…..And, yeah, would have loved to give Soto a vote for making baseball interesting in DC.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Just curious: why no pitchers?

Paul E
Guest
In the NL, the Phillies (Nola), Mets (deGrom), and Nationals (Scherzer) didn’t win anything and weren’t contending. I probably should have voted for Kyle Freeland? In the AL, there was an abundance/preponderance of “hitters” who slugged the ball and, in general, I’m not a big fan of the 6-inning starter. Let them try to win a Cy Young award In my lifetime, off the top of my head,Mike Scott (1986), Dwight Gooden ’85, Bob Gibson ’68, Denny McLain ’68, Clemens ’86, Seaver ’69 and Koufax ’66 probably deserved MVP awards or at least very serious consideration. I mean, should we… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Carlton finished 5th in the MVP. Had more than triple the WAR of Stargell, who got 3rd.
Stargell was 4th in WAR on his own team. Of course, WAR didn’t exist in 1972.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

His 30 complete games are more than the last 7 NL leaders combined.

Paul E
Guest

Voom,
Funny that you mention Stargell in 1972. I definitely thought he could have won the MVP award in ’71 or ’73

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
I agree with Paul’s reasoning that the changed role of starters makes them less competitive for the MVP, although I’ve always felt pitchers need to be equally considered in MVP ratings. But I also think, focusing here only on the 2018 NL, that there are significant differences among the leading MVP-pitcher (and Cy Young) candidates. The four pitchers who top the NL total WAR charts are not all 6-inning starters. They range in IP/GS from a low of 6.1 to a high of 6.8. the latter really being a 7-inning starter. For me, there is a lot of difference between… Read more »
koma
Guest

AL MVP:
1. Mike Trout
2. Mookie Betts
3. J.D. Martinez
4. Matt Chapman
5. Blake Snell
6. Francisco Lindor
7. Alex Bregmann
8. Jose Ramirez
9. Chris Sale
10. Justin Verlander

NL MVP:
1. Jacob DeGrom
2. Christian Yelich
3. Max Scherzer
4. Aaron Nola
5. Lorenzo Cain
6. Kyle Freeland
7. Javier Baez
8. Freddie Freeman
9. Nolan Arenado
10. Trevor Story

no statistician but
Guest
The problem I see this year is the paucity of viable candidates down-ballot, or perhaps the abundance of possibles in this regard. Since I try to keep the “value” in MVP, and I don’t include pitchers, who (according to me) have their own award, the final three in the AL and final four in the NL were difficult to winnow from the crowd. I suspect my picks will be suspect to many. American League: 1. Mookie Betts—situation reversed from two years ago when Trout’s season edged his in WAR. 2. J.D. Martinez—deserves recognition for monster year. Without him the Bosox… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
I’ve so far been focusing on the NL and trying to set some criteria for what I think counts towards MVP. I have no problem with the top spot. While my own approach to the MVP considers team records and competitiveness basically irrelevant, except as a sort of tie-breaker concept (I don’t really know why player value should be converted to player value in pennant-contention context), a September performance like Yelich’s breaks through that point of view. Conspicuous contribution in pennant-clutch contexts is something I see differently from simple quality stats on a contender. In fact, I’m very interested in… Read more »
Doug
Guest

NL Players with 70 XBH.
1998-2008 – 10+ every year, incl. 16+ eight times
2009 – 9
2010 – 7
2011 – 5
2012 – 4
2013 – 3
2014 – 0 (first time since 1986)
2015 – 6
2016 – 8
2017 – 7
2018 – 9
2019 – ???

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
I compiled some stats for the AL parallel to the ones I used to think through my NL vote. First, looking at pitchers, and keeping Paul’s idea that a 6-inning starter is not what we have in mind when we speak about pitcher-MVPs, here are the figures I came up with for the pitchers who top the pWAR chart: ………………ERA+……IP……..IP/GS……Ave.GSc……8+IP……..6>IP………K/9 Snell…………219……..180……….5.8…………64………0…………12……..11.0 Sale………….207……..158……….5.9…………66………2…………..9……..13.5 Verlander…159……..214……….6.3…………64………3…………..6……..12.2 Kluber………151……..215……….6.5…………61………6…………..6………9.3 Bauer……….198……..171……….6.3………….63………4………….5………11.5 Clevenger…140……..200……….6.3………….58………1………….7………..9.3 Cole………….145……..200……….6.3………….63………1………….8………12.4 Some notes: Sale’s IP total is too low to make him a qualifier, though the distance to the minimum is really negligible. Consequently, his K/9 total, which would, with four more IP establish… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Bob: Adding in pitchers does carry some advantages, I suppose, such as not having to fill a ballot of 10 when there are just seven—6 in the NL, per me— unquestionable choices. My impression is that short ballots aren’t allowed. Otherwise, though our orders are different, we agree fairly closely on who is worthy and who is the top pick. It’s interesting to compare Acuna’s age 20 season with Trout’s. Trout came up mid-season the previous year and was in over his head for six weeks, then straightened out, but began 2012 in the minors. Starting April 28th with the… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Yeah, Doom’s a hard taskmaster: no short ballots. But I wound up thinking harder about players I’d never paid much attention to, and Acuna was one. I had him on the cusp, but not enough playing time. Your comparison with Trout might have made me think again, if you’d suggested it earlier.

Dr. Doom
Guest

I am glad to make the task more difficult!
The BBWAA requires 10 names, so I decided to do the same. When I’ve done “historical” MVP votes, I’ve always allowed ballots to be short, partly because I think it’s harder to do in the past. But in the now? Now, we’re all living through it, so it seems fair to hold us to that same tough standard.

Michael Hall Hayes
Guest

Trout’s 2012 rookie season is one of the great seasons ever for any player at any age. He finished with 10.5 WAR. There is no comparison between the two, as much as Avinash is clearly a great, young talent.

Michael Hall Hayes
Guest

Sorry ** Acuna

no statistician but
Guest

MHH:

It’s good—metaphorically speaking—to hear a new voice. Why not cast a ballot while you’re at it.

For you and anyone else, here’s a question: in which year did Trout accumulate 11.3 WAR?

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
I think that if I understand nsb correctly, the best way to compare Trout and Acuna at age-comparable rookie levels would be to take the first two months of Trout’s 2012 season (when he reemerged from the Minors and hit his stride) and the final two of Acuna’s 2018 season (when he hit his stride). Their ages are then almost exactly comparable (Trout just a few weeks older), as was their MLB experience (Acuna with 13 more MLB games than Trout at those points), and the two periods happen to cover precisely equal numbers of PA. Here are some comps… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Well off the beaten path, but does anyone recognize the 10/3/2018 Powerball numbers: 41 53 59 63 66 ? The power play number was 3 and has nothing to do with the 5 other numbers as far as I’m thinking. Any guesses?

Dr. Doom
Guest

Those are all Dodger pennants, correct? Funny! I was thinking uniform numbers or home run totals, but that’s pretty great.

Paul E
Guest

Absolutely!!!

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Nice eye, Paul (and Doom).

Dr. Doom
Guest

Three days till voting closes. Don’t forget to cast your ballot. And vote changes ARE allowed!

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Doom, I have a suggestion: extending the deadline and encouraging more discussion. Although I expect that when January comes and the Circle of Greats ballot appears our missing stalwarts will appear, right now HHS has few contributors (only 8 so far on this string). This is true even though the string has seen some welcome new or recently absent names (at least in my memory), like Michael Hall Hayes and koma. Rather than focus on vote tallies, since there may be few votes for these MVPs, why don’t you extend the time and encourage discussion, analysis, argument, invective, etc., perhaps… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
I have a particular player to talk about: Blake Snell. I want to go back to one of the posts I wrote earlier this summer. Remember how we can use ERA+ and Innings Pitched to estimate a pitcher’s record? Well, if we do this with Snell, we see that his actual record of 21-5 is great. But if we use my method to suss out his record, he’s listed as 17-3. I’m not trying to knock a 17-3 record, mind you; that’s great. But does that merit serious MVP consideration? I’m inclined to think it doesn’t, but maybe that’s just… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
I think Snell brings us into uncharted territory when it comes to awards. His stats in W-L, ERA, ERA+, and WAR, among others, are products of his own skills only in part, even if that part is fairly large, and therefore they are unusually open to scrutiny. Comparing his year to that of more historically normal ones for a starting pitcher, say some of the other times when a pitcher finished 21-5, is not the only approach, but it is the one that came to mind, so I’m going with it: 2018 Blake Snell: 1.89 ERA—31 starts—180.2 IP—5.81 IP/S—219 ERA+—WAR… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Yup. Also, those same pitchers here are compared with their rWAR on the left and fWAR on the right: Bobo Newsom, 1940 – 7.6/5.6 Terry Bonham, 1942 – 4.2/4.5 Larry Jansen, 1947 – 5.0/4.1 Dave McNally, 1971 – 3.1/1.8 Chris Carpenter, 2005 – 5.8/6.3 Clayton Kershaw, 2011 – 6.7/7.1 Blake Snell, 2018 – 7.5/4.6 So… which is it? Was Blake Snell this year the best 21-5 pitcher of all-time, or was he middle-of-the-pack for a 21-5 pitcher? You’ll notice that, on no other pitcher is there such wide disagreement via WAR. Newsom comes close, but even Newsom’s lower number is… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
It may just be a vestigial belief of mine with no application to current practice, but another thing I find really disturbing about, not Snell, but how he was handled this year, is that he was never allowed to get to the crisis point, to face the critical moment, always being pulled before he might be put to the test. I like my heroes to go head to head with the opposition when things are on the line—or at least, for a pitcher in these strange times, when the game is drawing to a head in the critical later innings.… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
I think all of us agree that the object of playing a baseball game is to win it. I think the way Snell was handled may have accorded fully with that objective, and so would be hard to criticize. But I’m in sympathy with nsb, who I think describes why Snell’s sterling record strikes some of us as problematic. For most fans, I think, baseball is more than a game whose outcome we observe: it’s a metaphor for the trials of character we face all the time. Like nsb, we have baseball heroes, some of us have villains, and interest… Read more »
Scary Tuna
Guest

Your last line really made me laugh, Bob, and I suspect a lot of us can relate to this.

The next time adulthood wants to be the killjoy, you can concede that we are grown ups and put the invented numbers in a spreadsheet instead of writing them down, then continue on creating the back story in your mind.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Thanks, Tuna. It seems as though it’s been a while since I’ve spotted your name, and it’s nice to see you here.

CursedClevelander
Guest
Definitely hits way too close to home. When I play baseball sim games like Baseball Mogul, Diamond Mind and OOTP I’m constantly crafting narratives, whether I’m using real players or fake ones. I’ve gotten my teams in financial trouble because I signed overage players to sub-optimal deals just to keep them in good graces with the “fans” and because I felt they “deserved” to play their career with one team. And these are bits and bytes, not real people! Same thing with in-game decisions – I’ve put off pinch hitting for a player winding down his career in key late… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Hey, CC. My condolences for the close of the Indians’ season. I was hoping for a long-odds 70th anniversary championship.

CursedClevelander
Guest

Thanks Bob. This one’s a lot easier to swallow than last year -we just got outplayed by a better team. We’ve gotta consider building the roster for October from Day 1 – for one or two more seasons, the Central is going to be a division winnable by 84 games or so. DH Ramirez or Lindor more often, give them rest days, do anything to keep them from burning out. Kluber doesn’t need as heavy a workload.

Josh Davis
Guest

Have you guys ever read “The Universal Baseball Association” by Robert Coover? I found it fascinating, as the main character embodies many of these remembrances you mention.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

I was a Coover fan, Josh, and I read it maybe fifty years ago. A terrific fever dream of old time baseball culture. I thought of it often when writing about 19th c. ball earlier this year, especially whenever the issue of players drinking too much came up.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

And — to pick up your main thought, which didn’t come to me till later, since I had initially forgotten the frame of the book — I remember now that the colorful old time baseball characters were actually all in the imagination of the obsessive, increasingly psychotic protagonist, the “main character” whom you thought of when reading these comments.

I’ve received more flattering comparisons, though perhaps none so accurate. I’m sure it’s why I loved the book, despite finding it . . . unsettling.

no statistician but
Guest
Not to go all literary, but the novel is an allegory that draws a parallel between the main character, J. Henry Waugh, and the Christian god. The young pitcher killed by a line drive, Damon Rutherford, has Christlike characteristics, and his tragically predestined death results in various phenomena, the chief being that Waugh, alias God to the world he has created in his mind, goes even more crazy than he already was and, as I recall, turns things very dark in the end in his madness. My question always has been this: since Coover himself is a kind of uber-deity… Read more »
Josh Davis
Guest

Bob, my intention was not to compare you to the less savory aspects of J. Henry Waugh. 🙂 Your fascination with imaginary stats (one that I share) was what brought the book to mind. I hope I did not inadvertently offend.

NSB, I’ve never heard the book explained as an allegory. Interesting. Is that something Coover himself admitted to? Or is that someone else’s interpretation of his work? I’ll have to mull over the theological implications that I had never considered…

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
No offense taken, Josh: I was just foolin’ around. The more I recall the book (and I’ve now poked around online to refresh my memory, which nsb’s comment did as well, I see more than ever how germane your connection was. There’s a nice New York Times article on the book, written on the occasion of its reissue a few years ago — perhaps those here who haven’t read the book will be tempted by it. I may be recalling the plot wrong, but it seems to me that after the beanball incident that nsb notes, which was generated by… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
NSB and Doom, Snell bothers me. For years people have diminished the accomplishments of closers by pointing out that many were “failed starters.” What’s Snell, if he can’t get through the 6th inning? And this wasn’t limited to 2018. He had a combined 43 Starts in 2016-17, with 218 IP (5.07 IP/S). If that truly is the extent of his abilities, then dial it back a few decades and Snell wouldn’t even be in the rotation–at best he’d be a useful weapon as a long reliever and occasional spot starter/second half of the double header guy. I don’t blame management… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

A good comp for Snell in 2018 might be Pedro Martinez 2002 and 2003 with the Saux. Less than 200 innings, high W-L%, few CG, high ERA+,….. not a great number of starts, either. IIRC, he may have even been making starts with 5 days rest. Nobody was suspect of Martinez’ accomplishments because he was already established as one of the top 2-3 pitchers in baseball. Maybe this is just Snell’s breakout season and he’ll do more of the same for several years to come? After all, it’s not like the workload is going to hurt him…

Mike L
Guest

I can see the point. But Pedro had 29 Starts and 208 IP in those starts, or 7.17 IP in those starts.
Snell might very well be able to increase his capacity, but he hasn’t yet.

Paul E
Guest

Mike L:
FWIW, in 2002-2003, Pedro started 60, completed 5, pitched a mere 386 innings (6.43/Start) and went an average of 17-4 with a 206 ERA+…..that 6.43/Start wouldn’t be as much of a stretch for Snell (2018 – 5.83/Start – uggghhh). Pedro had a superior resume prior (obviously) but, if they’re going to baby Snell for the next few years, he might be able to duplicate this past season

Mike L
Guest

Paul, Pedro didn’t pitch the second half of 2001, which likely led to more careful use in 2002.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
I think Mike’s comparison of Snell to a platoon player is worth thinking about. I had been thinking of “very long reliever,” a sort of starter version of Ryan Yarbrough, the way Cash used him this year. But platooning captures more of what’s going on, especially if we broaden the concept from simple lefty/righty considerations and consider the idea more broadly as role playing. For position players, the most profoundly “platoony” manager ever was actually Gil Hodges. If we look at the 1969 Mets, only two hitters were qualifiers. Cash had four, but not one of them was a solid… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Bob (epm)
” “: For position players, the most profoundly “platoony” manager ever was actually Gil Hodges.” ”
Gene Mauch used to keep the public address announcer pretty busy as well by making constant “in-game” defensive changes. But, he wasn’t quite the genius that Joe Maddon/Tony LaRussa are with the pitcher batting eighth……
And, yeah, Mauch usually had capable veterans with power to bat for the all-field/no-hit guys so it generally resulted in over-achievement for the roster

no statistician but
Guest
Off on a tangent due to your remark about platooning: Just recently I got interested in the strange career of Fred Lynn, who burst on the scene at age 23 by winning the ROY and MVP for the Red Sox in 1975. An excellent fielder, he seemed destined—in a sort of slightly older, pre-Mike Trout way—to have a HOF career lying before him. Well, the next three seasons he had some injuries but put up decent to very good numbers, then came his career year in which he swept the league in BA, OBP, SLG, and OPS+. Finished only 4th… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Responding to nsb re: Fred Lynn.

Lynn wasn’t the only lefty batter who couldn’t hit lefties. The 25 worst splits (difference between BA against LHP and overall BA) among 285 lefty batters with 1000+ PA against LHP include these names.
6. Johnny Mize
10. Vic Wertz
11. Jim Bottomley
14. Norm Cash
18. Roger Maris
20. Ryan Howard
23. Carl Yastrzemski
24. Paul O’Neill
25. Bill Dickey

Lynn checks in at the 28th worst split, just behind (or ahead of?) Eddie Mathews in 27th spot.

no statistician but
Guest

Kind of makes you wonder about Yaz—if free agency had carried him away from Fenway in his prime, where his career might have gone. Dickey, being a catcher, was easy to platoon, I’d guess. Mize, the other HOFer here, seems to have had far less trouble after WWII than before. Learned to hit the curve, maybe. At any rate he had many big seasons, not just a couple. Norm Cash may be the closest comp to Lynn.

no statistician but
Guest

I guess Bottomley was a HOFer, too, courtesy of the blind vets committee.

CursedClevelander
Guest
The interesting thing to me about the “opener” (well, one interesting thing – I suspect there are dozens) is that it’s a strategy that we know is sub-optimal. Every manager in baseball history starts the game with the best possible outcome being their pitcher throwing a complete game shutout. Doesn’t matter if it’s 27 strikeouts or 27 line drives to deep center field – no manager has ever thought “You know, I’d prefer to juggle 5 or 6 bullpen guys to get this win instead of just letting my starter finish the game.” It’s a strategy born of necessity –… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Two things. For nsb: as far as “platoon players” go, I immediately thought of Lou Whitaker. In 1989, over a third of his starts were against LH starters. In 1990, it drops to about 10% of his starts (just a shade over, actually). It’s a shade under 10% in 1991. In 1992, it’s 3%. Then 1%, then none his last two years. Yet, look at his OPS+ marks those years: 129 in his final six combined. That’s nearly Jim Thome (136) in his last six, and it’s better than Reggie Jackson (111) or Ken Griffey, Jr. (110) when all those… Read more »
CursedClevelander
Guest
Doom: You’re definitely correct on that second part – when the ‘opener’ was just something that people were batting around at rotisserie league drafts and SABR conventions, the analytical rationale was both the amount of scoring that happens in the 1st inning (because, as you said, we know the 1-2-3 hitters are going to bat) and the certainty of knowing who your pitcher will be facing, which allows you to try and work a platoon split or certain pitcher vs batter match-ups. I also stacked the deck a bit with my example – if your opener gave up 3 runs,… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
It seems to me that part of the issue here is hidden in the Minors. Why should there be below-replacement-level starters at all (apart from a pitcher on contract because of an adequate record simply having a bad year)? Replacement-level players are available, either within the organization or through a low-level trade. It used to be that the lowest talent level of MLB pitchers were in the bullpen: that’s where you might find sub-zero WAR cases — especially before WAR was measured and managers could make that assessment easily. Although a starter might have a sub-zero year, there should not… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Is there a way to search for all pitchers season stats through their first 5 innings of work?
Or first 75 pitches?

Would be interesting to see how Snell measures up that way,

Doug
Guest

Voomo, you can do a P-I split query for innings 1-3 and 4-6, saving the results. Then you can match up the saved results in Excel to get the Inning 1-6 comparison.

Richard Chester
Guest

You could also do each of the first 5 innings one at a time and sum up the results in an Excel spreadsheet.

Dr. Doom
Guest
At Bob’s urging, I think maybe we should extend the deadline. Let’s give ourselves a week from today; we’ll finalize votes as of 11:59:59 on Sunday, October 14. My main hesitation in having long deadlines from the past was to get us to the next award. There is a Cy Young post, and a RotY/MotY post, as well, and I didn’t want the season to be a distant memory when those finally came about, nor did I want us to be TOO influenced by the playoffs. However, I think you’re right; it’s nicest when these posts have a large amount… Read more »
Doug
Guest
Boston’s 16-1 thrashing of the Yankees last night was the most lopsided post-season win by a visiting team and trails only the 16 run margin when Boston beat Cleveland 23-7 in game 4 of the 1999 ALDS (the Red Sox would win that series with a 12-8 triumph in game 5). Post-season games with a 15 run margin for the home team are game 7 of the 1996 NLCS (Braves beat Cards 15-0) and game 3 of the 2001 ALDS (Indians beat Mariners 17-2, but Seattle would come back to win the series). Austin Romine became just the second position… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Hilariously, according to the Baseball-Reference Stathead email that I now get every morning (plug-plug-plug! It’s really great!), there are two other “position players” who pitched in the postseason. Their names are “Babe Ruth” and “Rick Ankiel,” because those two were pitchers when they pitched in the postseason, but the Play Index classifies them (with good reason, mind you) as position players. Ankiel was absolutely atrocious in three playoff appearances: in three appearances (two of them starts), Ankiel pitched only 4 innings, yet gave up 7 runs (all earned) for a 15.75 ERA. He struck out 5 (pretty good, actually, in… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

I remember them, Doom, and there was indeed concern at the time that something was screwy and that meltdowns like that could mess with Ankiel’s mind in the future. I think they did. It reminded me of the feeling that Calvin Schiraldi never seemed to bounce back after the disastrous last two games of the ’86 Series, where he gave the Mets 7 runs in 3 innings on successive days, dooming his break-out season to a gut-wrenching close.

Doug
Guest

That ’86 post-season was tough on relievers. Angels’ closer Donnie Moore was an out away from knocking out the Red Sox before his home run ball to Dave Henderson started the Boston comeback from 3-1 down in the ALCS. He pitched fewer than 60 innings over the next two seasons, though that was due mainly to injury, before taking his own life a year later.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Another pitcher who melted down in the Series and later took his life was Hugh Casey, but the distance between the two events was ten years (he died in 1951, and his WS disasters were in 1941, including his response to his catcher, Mickey Owen, missing a game-ending strike to Joe D.), and it’s hard to draw a straight line between the two events.

Richard Chester
Guest

That potential game-ending strike occurred with Tommy Henrich at bat.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Right — my second-hand memory was at fault.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Well, the largest single game margin was only 13, but it would be hard to top the 1960 Yankees’ three wins over the Pirates by a combined 38-3 score. Of course, they lost the Series.

Doug
Guest

Nathan Eovaldi is just the fourth former Yankee and start and win in the post-season against his former club. Who are the other three?

Mike L
Guest

Here’s our friend Doug, under the guise of a seemingly abstract, purely academic, quiz, rubbing it in. Sigh. We are on to you, Doug!

CursedClevelander
Guest

I really wanted Jake Westbrook to be an answer, with his whole 6.2 innings as a Yankee in his first cup of coffee in 2000, but unfortunately he’s the only Indians pitcher that lost to the Yankees in the 2007 ALDS.

But I can do one better. 1957 WS MVP Lew Burdette and his whopping 1.1 innings for the 1950 Yankees gets him on the list.

Richard Chester
Guest

Larry Gura is one.

Doug
Guest

The third pitcher enjoys the distinction of being the oldest to start and win three games in a single post-season.

CursedClevelander
Guest

I wager someone should know it by now, though it’s no black mark against you if you haven’t figured it out yet.

Richard Chester
Guest

I’ll be a gambler and say Kenny Rogers.

Doug
Guest

Rogers is the one. As a Tiger at age 41, he beat the Yanks in the 2006 ALDS, the first of his three winning starts in that post-season. He was really on his game that October, pitching into the 8th inning and allowing no runs in each of the three games, while allowing just 9 total hits. Those three games are the longest post-season streak of 7 IP starts with no runs allowed, tied with Christy Mathewson (1905) and Whitey Ford (1960-61).

Dr. Doom
Guest
OK, here’s my ballot. It’s been a crazy couple weeks, so I haven’t had as much time as I’d liked to have had to do this, but it’s done now. Unsurprisingly, I have more NL thoughts than AL ones, but that’s just because of my own rooting interests. Please feel free to debate with me on any of this; I love the discussion! AL: 1. Mike Trout – I have Mike Trout’s 2018 offensive season ranked as slightly better than Albert Pujols’ 2009, when he was the runaway NL MVP. I see it as similar to Norm Cash’s 1961 or… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

** only the FIFTH one so far; I was going for memory, not checking my spreadsheet. Whoops!

Dr. Doom
Guest

Also, Doug, if you could close the Bold tab after Francisco Lindor’s name, I apparently forgot to do so. 🙂

Paul E
Guest

DOOM,
” “Anthony Rendon – You’ve got to think a LOT of his defensive abilities to get a guy with a 137 OPS+ super high on your player listings. Not that 137 is bad, but Fangraphs has Rendon 2nd in the NL among position players in WAR.” ”

FWIW, Baseball Prospectus has him 2nd in the NL in VORP as well, and his 137 OPS+ is superior to Arenado’s 133.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Yeah, but I know Arenado to be a superior defender. I have them exactly tied as batters given their number of PAs. Keep in mind that Rendon played only 136 games this season, and managed 76 fewer PAs than Arenado. I think the offensive difference is there (one with better quality, one with greater quantity), but if they’re about even, I’ll take Arenado’s defense over Rendon’s.

Paul E
Guest

DOOM,
“Yeah, but I know Arenado to be a superior defender. ” Yes, but do you believe him to be even close as a hitter?:
2018 Roadwork
.316/.383/.563 Rendon
.248/.325/.447 Arenado
.276/.328/.452 Story

Not for anything, I’d just once like to see a Rockies position player hit on the road like he does at home. Maybe somebody can PI search it but, apparently, it’s an impossibility…….
does anyone else think Story looks a little bit like Ryan Gosling (who probably didn’t play in high school)?

Dr. Doom
Guest

Larry Walker was better on the road than at home in his MVP season.

Paul E
Guest

and Walker had a career slash of .381/.462/.710 @ Coors….Holliday? .360/.427/.655 Helton .345/.441/.607 Castilla .333/.380/.609
Numbers like these leave the BBWAA incredulous when it’s time to vote for Cooperstown. The numbers are so skewed they are not to be believed but, we’ve had this discussion on here before…

Dr. Doom
Guest
From 1995-2003 (Larry Walker’s full seasons with the Rox) he had a 138 road OPS+; that is, his OPS was 38% better than other players’ road OPSes, and they all had the benefit of hitting at Coors, which was completely eliminated from him in those years. Notable players with career OPS+es between 137-139: Reggie Smith, Al Rosen, Sherry Magee, Will Clark, Jack Clark (137) Darryl Strawberry, Carlos Delgado (138) Reggie Jackson, Jason Giambi, Norm Cash (139) So he hit like those big boppers, only provided top-notch baserunning and defense. That’s all without the benefit of EVER hitting in Coors in… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
Doom, Sorry to piss on Walker but, that career home slash line has been duplicated in seasonal notation by only Ruth (once) and Williams (twice). My point is that those home numbers “bleed” into a Colorado ballplayer’s overall numbers and inflate to the point of incredulity. No, I don’t believe Walker’s a Hof’er and, of the above mentioned ballpark 138 OPS+ players, only Jackson is in the Hall. As far as Arenado, he’s a Gold Glover, and if he stays in Colorado, he’ll continue to post .290 35 125 seasons. But, I wouldn’t expect that to continue if he opts… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
I have to side with Doom on the Walker question. Another factor regarding an extreme ballpark situation (and Coors is that like no other—consider the oxygen level adjustment players have to make for instance, coming and going. What big league city has the highest altitude next to Denver? Pittsburg, probably, 1365 feet) is how players on the home team adjust their games to take maximum advantage of the field. The downside of this is readjusting to the other stadia where that advantage doesn’t exist when the team goes on the road. Larry Walker came into his maturity in his age… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
Doom epm If we’re going to “sample” Walker, let’s take that career OPS+ matching season at age 25 in 1992 Montreal. That year his 141 OPS+ yielded a slash of .301/.353/.506 in a typical Walker “full” season of 143 games. His counting states weren’t inflated by Coors and that 1992 season/ environment is more typical of a standard/average ML season through the last 100 years. Multiply THAT season’s counting stats by 13.5 and that’s what Walker’s career would be w/o Coors. You could also just go to his baseball-reference page, click “advanced batting” and set the environment to 1992 Montreal….… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Doug,
Thanks. Those numbers give him credit for missed games due to the strike of 1994-1995(since the “system” is “neutralizing” with the 162 game season of 1992).
I just don’t believe the 1994 season (OPS+ of 151) is a good example of his “new found/improved production since he played in only 103 games. But, that being said, while I believe these 1992 neutralized numbers to still be impressive and certainly more credible, even coupled with the fact he ran, fielded, and threw well, i just don’t believe these numbers make a HoF case

no statistician but
Guest
Paul: Let’s carry your logic a further step and look at Walker’s career neutralized to some different parks and different seasons. Some highlights, since I can’t duplicate Doug’s graphics. First, Wrigley 1999: 1336 runs; 484 doubles; 380 HRs, 1302 RBIs, .308 BA; OPS .948. Fenway 2000: 1395 runs; 498 doubles; 391 HRs; 1358 RBI; .313 BA; .965 OPS. Enron 2001: 1357 runs; 489 doubles; 385 HRs; 1325 RBIs; .309 BA; .954 OPS. And here here are the number that Walker actually put up: 1355 runs; 471 doubles; 383 HRs; 1311 RBIs; .313 BA; .965 OPS. Now compare these to the… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
Take the above average 4.25 rpg on baseball reference and run with that if you like….he played in the greatest hitter’s park in the history of the sport in the greatest hitting era of all time. He was better than all his teammates but that’s a hollow argument….Bichette, Castilla, etc..I don’t think that’s the standard of greatness. FCS, Dick Allen was better than all his teammates, too-Callison, Simmons, Brock, willie Davis, etc..; and, Jeter and Pete Rose weren’t but somebody (25 guys) has to play for a loser. And, Walker had some average teammates, plenty of them. But, my point… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
I think the teammate argument is difficult to make in one respect, and plausible in another, though I don’t think it works as well for Walker in the latter case as I’d have thought. I think Paul E is right that to say that the fact that Walker was not only better than his teammates at Coors, but also better by a similar margin on the road, just says Walker was the best among the Rockies, which doesn’t concern his absolute quality. But the argument that could work would be one that said the Walker was better than his teammates… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Bob: This is getting a little thread-worn, so to speak, but I can’t help correcting a probably unintentionally misleading element in your closing comment: Bichette and Castilla definitely did magnify their hitting skills at Coors to a huge degree, but with what result? Bichette’s career OPS+ in Colorado was 112, but in only one year did it rise above 117. His highest OPS+ away from Coors was 110. Castilla? One year above 115 in Denver, only 106 career. In other home parks his highest figure was 101. Walker’s LOWEST yearly OPS+ anywhere was 110 in 2000 for the Rockies, an… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
It’s a relative issue, nsb, rather than an absolute one. The question I’m raising is the degree to which each player magnified his skills in Coors (which is different from the season OPS+ measure). The argument for Walker, as I understand it — and as I have made it myself before — is that he deserves credit for having seized on the opportunities of his home field to a greater degree that anyone else, and that is precisely what a great player should be able to do. Of course Bichette and Castilla did not have anything like the batting ability… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest
Here’s my list. I don’t like comparing batters and pitchers in the same category so I am showing position players only. For the top 3 in the AL I could not decide in which order to place Trout, Betts and Martinez. So I resorted to my tie-breaker stratagem which is to determine the percentage on base runners driven in after subtracting out those PA in which the batter received a BB or HBP except for the bases loaded situation. I did not subtract out those PA with SH or CI since their numbers are so few. Martinez came in at… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Richard, as you know, I like your %RoBBI stat, and I can see it as a useful tie-breaker here. But I wonder whether it wouldn’t be interesting to buffer it with related stats like RE24 and WPA. If I understand it correctly, RE24 eliminates one issues with comparative %RoBBI, which is that for any potential %RoBBI PA, it makes a difference which bases are occupied, and that’s something reflected in RE24, though that stat doesn’t differentiate between runners advancing and runners scoring. WPA attempts to weight runners advanced to the game goal of winning, and does make that differentiation. Moreover,… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

Richard, I would be interested in another stat. If you kept the denominatorthe dame but changed the numerator to (AB-H+GDP), what would we learn? The reason I ask is that I’m curious what kind of out-makers these guys were in these RBI situations. If you can run that for me, I have a purely academic interest in the results.

Richard Chester
Guest

I’ll look into it.

Richard Chester
Guest

Here is some data for Martinez, Betts and Trout showing ROB/Outs/PA with men on base/AB with men on base.

Martinez/440/190/317/264
Betts/279/114/205/160
Trout/301/115/231/163

Doug
Guest

Really interesting article on mlb.com on why pitchers that the Astros acquired over the past few seasons have performed markedly better after coming to Houston than before. https://www.mlb.com/news/how-astros-analytics-improved-their-pitchers/c-297698084

Doug
Guest

Brandon Woodruff’s home run tonight is just the third by a relief pitcher in post-season history, and first in an LCS.

Dr. Doom
Guest

That game wound up WAY too close for comfort, but I can’t say I’m disappointed in the result!

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

I was at an event last night and didn’t learn about the game result till midnight, so I didn’t experience the way the game tightened. Had I watched it, as a Brooklyn fan, I would have been frustrated that the comeback fell short. But the Brewers are such an attractive team that even though I’d rather see the Bums in the Series, I’d feel ok if it were Milwaukee, especially since I’m reading here the reactions of a Brewer fan much more passionate than I’ll ever be again.

Doug
Guest

Enjoy your free hamburger, Doom.

Josh Davis
Guest
I will throw my hat into the ring here in the AL discussion. I originally intended to do an NL ballot as well, but I had a bit of a crazy week, and I don’t feel like I’d be able to defend it very well, nor have much confidence in it at this point. AL MVP: 1. Mookie Betts Did everything well for the team with the best record in the baseball. Led the league in WAR, WPA, BA, SLG. He even stole 30 bases. That all says MVP to me. 2. Alex Bregman Was the anchor on an Astros… Read more »
Josh Davis
Guest

For the record, I think Yelich is clearly the NL MVP, but I’m not prepared to vote on 2-10.

no statistician but
Guest

Josh:

I like your #10 argument.

Josh Davis
Guest

Thanks. It is unfortunate that Ohtani got hurt. I would have liked to seen him maintain his production over the season and see how it all played out.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Off-topic, but… Yasmani Grandal is the MVP of the NLCS so far… for the Brewers. He had a terrible day yesterday, with a passed ball and some other bad defense. Today, he pinch hit and grounded into double play with the bases jacked and one out. I breathed a sigh of relief!

Doug
Guest

So, why exactly do you remove Miley after only 74 pitches? With Hader unavailable, seems you would want to stick with the hot hand as long as possible. Whatever the reasoning, it obviously didn’t work out.

Doug
Guest

Red Sox pitchers tonight allowed a combined 13 runners to reach base via the walk or HPB, tying the post-season record achieved previously by the White Sox (2005 WS), Astros (2005 NLDS) and Indians (1998 ALCS). Only the Indians also reached this total in a 9 inning game.

Doug
Guest

Alex Bregman has joined Jimmy Sheckard (1910) as the only players with three walks in consecutive post-season games.

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