Thursday, November 16, 2006
Who Should Be... MVP?
Good morning everyone! Well, I think that many of my projections for how much some of the free agents will make will be far off. Baseball is in a great state right now. Owners are making a lot of money from TV, radio, satellite radio and more places. After a couple of slow offseasons, the money is flowing again right now. A perfect case is that the Cubs re-signed former Twins catcher Henry Blanco for two years and $5 million. Do you think that Terry Ryan is thrilled that he locked up Mike Redmond for two years during the season? Wes Helms was a guy I was hoping that the Twins would be able to sign to split time at 3B with Nick Punto. Yesterday, he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for two years and $5.5 million. Mark Derosa got three years and $13 million. Imagine how much the big name free agents will get! If you missed any of my free agent postings, click the link below. I will try to keep up the signings and post an "Actual" in the player profiles showing where the player went and for how much, so bookmark them and check them from time to time.
Today, I am going to re-post an article on the AL MVP that I wrote for Twin Cities Dugout last weekend. They put it in the Insider's section, meaning that you would need to pay for a membership to scout.com to read it. Now, I should say that I would encourage people to sign up for the membership because there is really a lot of great content there. But for today, I will repost that article here so that you can read it. I have altered minor parts of it to make it today, rather than last weekend, but nothing in terms of actual content.
Who Should Be... MVP
This week, and next Monday, the major Major League Baseball Awards will be handed out. We will find out who the winners of the AL and NL Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP Award winners will be. As Twins fans, we believe that Francisco Liriano should garner a significant number of votes for AL Rookie of the Year. We also think that if Johan Santana somehow does not win the AL Cy Young Award, a special Congressional commission should be set up to investigate.
However, I think that the most intriguing vote will be for American League MVP. As Twins fans, we should be proud to know that there are three Twins players for whom an MVP case could legitimately be written. Joe Mauer became the first catcher in AL history to win a batting title. He also did a great job behind the plate and with the pitchers. Johan Santana is the best pitcher in baseball and when he pitched, especially at home, the Twins won. Justin Morneauís rise to stardom coincided directly with the Twins winning ways after May. All three had remarkable seasons, and in all likelihood, all three will fall short of the MVP award.
Now, I will not bash Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees. He had a season worthy of an MVP award. When he wins the award, I will not be upset. I think that a Twins player would have a better chance of winning the award if each person knew which of the three worthy candidates to vote for. I am sure that if you asked ten voters which Twins player they would vote highest, you would get three answers. The problem is that Jeter will likely rank in the Top two in most every ballot. Justin Morneau, Johan Santana and Joe Mauer could each get first place votes and seventh place votes and anywhere in between depending on the opinion of the individual voter. That is why Derek Jeter will win.
Today, I will explain why my vote for MVP, or certainly for Twins MVP, would go to Justin Morneau. Here are reasons that I would vote for him over the other deserving Twins candidates:
Why Justin Morneau should get the vote over Johan Santana? This is an easy one for me. I do not believe that a pitcher should win the MVP. The Twins played 162 games during the season. Santana pitched in 34 of them. Thatís just 21.0% of the Twins games. In other words, in 79% of the Twins games, he made no contribution. Joe Nathan pitched in 39.5% of the games. Joe Mauer played in 120 games, or 74.1% Justin Morneau played in 153 games, or 94.4% of them. The Twins played 1,439 1/3 innings during the 2006 season. Johan Santana pitched 233 2/3 of those innings. That is just 16.2% of the innings. Nathan pitched in 68.1 innings, or 4.7% of the innings. Joe Mauer caught 73.6% of the Twins innings. Justin Morneau played defense in 93.5% of the innings this season. That is just their time on defense and doesnít include the 450-600 innings in which they hit. I realize that the effort and importance of the pitcher when the team is on defense is more important than that of a 1B, but I just canít get over the fact that Santana (the leagueís best pitcher) still helped his team win in such a small percentage of the teamís games.
Why Justin Morneau should get the vote over Joe Mauer? I read so many places that Joe Mauer is the teamís MVP because he is a catcher. Now, I understand what a catcher does and how difficult it is on the body. That makes what Mauer did in 2006 even more impressive. He has a VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) of 66.9 which is incredible. Justin Morneauís VORP is 52.0. Mauerís VORP is 22% higher than Morneauís. (Santanaís VORP was 79.6, but Iíve already eliminated him because of his number of games and innings) So, what we find out is that Mauer is better than the average, or replacement level, catcher than Morneau is better than the average, or replacement level 1B. Mauerís nearest competition in VORP at catcher was the Atlanta Braves Brian McCann. Morneau plays the position that has many of the leagueís top hitters. The only 1B that had a higher VORP than Morneau were Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals, Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies and Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros who all play in the National League. Mauerís VORP is swayed by the likes of Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals, Chad Moeller of the Milwaukee Brewers, Brad Ausmus of the Houston Astros and Danny Ardoin of the Colorado Rockies. Morneauís is swayed by the numbers of Sean Casey of the Detroit Tigers, the San Francisco Giants Lance Niekro and Shea Hillenbrand and the Oakland Aís Dan Johnson. The MVP Award is not about Value compared to position. Itís about Value as compared to the league.
Final Summary - In the end, Twins fans have to be thrilled that their team is so well represented in the big awards, especially the MVP. I just believe that Justin Morneau deserves it over Johan Santana and Joe Mauer. He deserves it over Santana just because of the number of games that a position player can contribute to compared to a pitcher. Although Joe Mauer led the Major Leagues in batting average with his .347 average, Morneau still hit a very strong .321. Mauer led baseball in on-base percentage, getting on 42.9% of the time which Morneau was on 37.5% of the time. Mauer hit 13 homers. Morneau hit 34. Mauer drove in 84 runs. Morneau had 130 RBI. Mauerís OPS was .936. Morneauís OPS was .934. Mauer had 36 doubles. Morneau had 37. Morneau had nine more hits. Mauer had five more stolen bases. Morneau led the league in two-out RBI if you want to add in a ďclutchĒ factor.
The Twins Baseball Writers acknowledged Morneau as the teamís 2006 MVP last week. And both Johan Santana and Joe Mauer have endorsed Morneauís candidacy all year. That tells us that his teammates are behind him. Hopefully the national Baseball Writers of America with an AL MVP vote will give their top Twins player votes to Justin Morneau.
I do realize that there is more to winning an MVP than games played (Although I think it is important) and any one stat, like VORP. I believe that a player's number should be put up against everyone, that a DH would have to be significantly better than anyone else to win, and that there needs to be a level of subjectivity in the voting. I just believe that Morneau is the right choice. The other day, Aaron Gleeman said his vote would go to Derek Jeter with Mauer placing second and Santana third. He had to sneak Morneau in at #10. I know Stick & Ball Guy believes that Santana should be the choice. I believe that Jeter will win it. I think that Morneau will finish second.
I'd love to hear your opinions. Please leave a comment below with your choice. Feel free to argue your reasons, or simply tell us which of the three Twins you would vote for ahead of the others if you had an MVP vote. Who knows, maybe someone will argue for Joe Nathan or Michael Cuddyer. Of course, you can always e-mail me as well.
Today's posting is fairly short, so here are a few other things to read or write about:
Supposedly Frank Thomas is close to signing a two year, $23 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. I believe that we will all see exactly why I still believe that the Twins were right in not signing Thomas a year ago. His knees will not hold up on the Toronto surface, and they wouldn't have held up at the Metrodome either.
To no one's surprise, Joe Girardi won the NL Manager of the Year. I guess he wins it as a Florida Marlin manager, but he was fired after the season, meaning that he doesn't really win it as a Florida Marlin. Poor Freddi Gonzalez. He better continue to improve that young Marlins team because he is being put in a bad situation by ownership.
Congratulations to Emmitt Smith for winning Dancing with the Stars last night. He is good. I watched the final couple of minutes of the show... that's all... really!
The Strib's LaVelle E. Neal gives us a little rumor about where the Twins might want to go in terms of a possible starting pitcher. I happen to think that it would be a GREAT pickup for the Twins, if they can make it happen. However, it would depend on who they would have to trade to acquire him!! Check out the story!
By the way, today is the day we should find out that Johan Santana wins his second AL Cy Young Award. If he doesn't win, something is wrong! Of course, we know that already because he should have won in 2005 too!
The NY Jets RB Leon Washington has the most controversial trading card since the 1988 Billy Ripken card!!
Here is another Chris Coste rookie card, a 2006 Topps Exlusive, on ebay.
That is it for today. Have a great day!
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