Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My NL MVP ballot

US Presswire photo
Ryan Braun's fantastic season for the Brewers earned my MVP vote.
There are few rights and privileges given to members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America more important than the opportunity to vote for the sport's top awards: MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year.

And I think we all would agree the crown jewel of all the awards is the MVP.

So it was my honor to be one of two members of the Baltimore-Washington chapter of the BBWAA to be given a ballot for this year's NL MVP. It wasn't the first time I've voted for this award, but it was one of the tougher races I've had to help decide.

The competition between the top two contenders for the award -- the Brewers' Ryan Braun and the Dodgers' Matt Kemp -- was fierce. There truly wasn't much that separated one outfielder from the other.

But in the end, I was confident Braun deserved the award over Kemp, for one primary reason: He was a vital member of a division championship team, while Kemp was the best player on a team that boasted a losing record until a late-September surge propelled it to an 82-79 finish.

Now, you can say that's an antiquated way of thinking about these things. If Kemp was the better player, why should he be penalized for wearing the uniform of a team that was never in the pennant race?

I get that argument. And I actually subscribe to it sometimes. I have no qualms handing out the MVP to someone from a losing team. But only if that player was head-and-shoulders above everyone else in the league.

In Kemp's case, I can't say that's true. Yes, he led the league in home runs and RBI, fell one homer short of a 40-40 season and made a real run at the NL's first Triple Crown since Ducky Medwick in 1937.

But Braun was no slouch. He was second in the NL in batting average and won the slugging and OPS crowns. He actually bested Kemp in nearly every statistic that's measured by averages and only came up short in the compilation stats like homers, RBI and runs scored in part because he played in 11 fewer games.

Point is, the disparity between Braun and Kemp was minimal at best. And to me, when the race between two players in that close, I'm going to tilt toward the guy who helped his team reach the postseason.

And it appears my colleagues agreed, because Braun won the award with 20 of 32 first-place votes. Kemp finished second with 10 first-place votes. Prince Fielder and Justin Upton each received one first-place vote.

Any would have been a deserving winner of this year's NL MVP, but I'm confident in my selection of Braun over Kemp, not to mention the rest of my Top 10, which is listed below. (Note: All ballots had to be submitted by the end of the regular season, so postseason performance was not factored into these awards at all.) ...

1. Ryan Braun, Brewers
2. Matt Kemp, Dodgers
3. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
4. Prince Fielder, Brewers
5. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
6. Joey Votto, Reds
7. Roy Halladay, Phillies
8. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
9. Lance Berkman, Cardinals
10. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

FYI: The guys who just missed making my Top 10 were, in no particular order: Jose Reyes, Ryan Howard and Michael Morse.

And now, here is the actual final ballot, with every player that received votes (including Morse, who got one seventh-place vote and one 10th-place vote)...

1. Ryan Braun, Brewers
2. Matt Kemp, Dodgers
3. Prince Fielder, Brewers
4. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
5. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
6. Joey Votto, Reds
7. Lance Berkman, Cardinals
8. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
9. Roy Halladay, Phillies
10. Ryan Howard, Phillies
11. Jose Reyes, Mets
12. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
13. Shane Victorino, Phillies
14. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks
15. Cliff Lee, Phillies
16. Hunter Pence, Astros/Phillies
17t. Pablo Sandoval, Giants
17t. John Axford, Brewers
19. Michael Morse, Nationals
20. Carlos Beltran, Mets/Giants
21t. Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks
21t. Yadier Molina, Cardinals
23t. Starlin Castro, Cubs
23t. Craig Kimbrel, Braves
23t. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
23t. Mike Stanton, Marlins


Anonymous said...

I cannot believe you didn't vote for Morse!!

NatsJack in Florida said...

And who on Mark's list would you bump for Morse?

FS said...

For the first time, I completely disagree with you on something Mark. Just because Kemp is surrounded by insignificant pieces (except Kershaw and Ethier to a certain extent), no reason to penalize him. Kemp was the better player last season.

Eugene in Oregon said...


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I notice you included two pitchers on your ballot, which I assume means you have no problem with pitchers being considered MVP-worthy. Just wondering what you think you would likely have done if you had been voting for AL MVP? I have no problem with Verlander having won, but I know that a lot of folks take the no-pitchers view. Your thoughts?

FS said...

Also if you were voting for Cy Young, you would have voted for Halladay instead of Kershaw?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Thanks, Eugene. You're right that I don't have a problem giving the MVP to a pitcher, if one has a truly remarkable season and there's no clear-cut position player deserving of the award. So given that, yes, I would have given AL MVP to Verlander this year.

For FS: I actually would have voted Kershaw over Halladay for Cy Young. Yes, that's flip-flopped from how I had them on my MVP ballot. But I look at Cy Young in a different light. Cy Young, to me, goes to the best pitcher, regardless of who he played for or what his personal situation was. MVP goes to the most VALUABLE player. And in this case, I would argue Halladay was slightly more valuable than Kershaw was.

Also, just to add one point about my MVP choice that I should have included in the original post: It's not simply that Braun happened to play for a playoff team while Kemp played for a non-contender. It's that Braun was a major contributor to a playoff team and raised his performance in big situations in big games (I think back to his late, three-run homer in the Brewers' clinching victory). So I would argue that Braun edged out Kemp in part because of how he performed in the highest-pressure situations.

NatinBeantown said...

This belongs in the last post, but I couldn't resist: forget the fact that he's left-handed, or his track record, or his interleague win-loss record. Think only of the potential for this:

"Put another Buehrle W in the books!"

gonatsgo said...

Have the sabermetricians come up with a way to measure "clutch" , yet? Braun seems like a truly clutch guy all the time, as well as very intense and smart. Good choice. AFL over, awards done, cba announced - time to move on to the winter meetings! Keep the news coming, Mark - we are starving for it.

Emily Litella said...

Can't they just count the number of times the guy adjusts himself each game? Why do they need to invent some fancy new stat for that?

Oh, I guess that's not the "clutch" you were talking about. Never mind.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Just finished reading the changes to the new CBA and Davey's going to be one ornery sunuvagun without his chewing tobacco.

Anonymous said...

Based on their respective lineups, who do you think was pitched around more, Kemp or Braun?

Theophilus said...

The distinction that favors Kemp over Braun, in my mind, is the ballpark and division Kemp plays in. Kemp plays 99 games in Chavez Ravine, Petco, and whatever they call the Giants' stadium. Except for RF in SF, nothing that goes out in any of those parks is a gimmee. Braun plays 99 games in Miller Field, Wrigley, and whatever they call the Astros' stadium. Everything in those parks goes "Woosh" over the wall.

Does it make Braun more valuable that Milwaukee won, and that the difference Kemp made in the Dodgers was the difference between mediocre and terrible? Imagine the Phillies the year Steve Carlton won 27 of their 54 victories. Who was the most valuable player in the league that year.

Braun is a really, really good player. However, I think he has fed a lot off of Fielder. Let's see if he can keep the Brewers afloat after Fielder leaves.

NatinBeantown said...

Theophilus - don't forget Great American Ballpark, where the warning track is about where Belliard used to play 2nd for the Nats.

Mark's case is imminently defensible. There's a strong case for Kemp, too. We can, and should, talk about it, both online and bellied up to your bar of choice.

I love baseball.

Harper_ROY_2012 said...

Kemp deserved it more, you unfornately fell into the my team is better than yours trap rather than choosing a true MVP.

RPrecupjr said...

Just looking at raw stats:

Braun: 58 walks, 2 intentional

Kemp: 74 walks, 24 intentional

My interpretation of this is that Kemp was intentionally walked more because he had minimal protection behind him, whereas Braun had some guy named Fielder hitting behind him, and who, in his right mind, is going to walk Braun to pitch to Fielder? Kemp had some guy named Juan Rivera hitting behind him -- .258, 11HR, 74RBI on the season...no need to post Fielder's stats here, is there?

Mark'd said...

I think Braun was the better player. I also don't like the career year guy like Kemp. I liked a guy named Morse and no pitchers.

Good point on stats per game as 2% less games is significant.

Doc said...

Fun pun NatinBeantown.

Let's hope he becomes part of the 'hurly-buehrle' of a Nats' winning season! Rizzo's record with top-of-the-line FAs has been suspect so far. He and his gang would seem to do better with the draft, as pointed out in a previous post.

MVP, as Mark seems to be pointing out, is ultimately meant to be 'most valuable' for something special, e.g. a team outplaying other teams. Braun had the stats, and the Brewers outplayed the Dogers.

Let's look for the Nats to outplay both teams in '12, and RZim is the MVP!

Goooooooooooo Nats!!!!!

gonatsgo said...

Another random thought - on mlb Hot Stove - I am sure that I hear Carpenter a couple of times on the intro. Am I crazy or do I just miss Nats games so much that I think I am hearing things?

Anonymous said...

I am very excited that Michael Morse was even mentioned in this conversation! 2 nats in the roy voting, now Morse - next year the sky's the limit!

Tcostant said...

Sorry to go off topic, but just to interesting not to post.

I was able to obtain the MLB summary of the new CBA (http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/2011_CBA.pdf), some interesting stuff that isn’t widely reported.

1. Players will no longer have to elect to become free agents; it’s now an automatic process.
2. Active rosters will be expanded to 26 for certain doubleheaders (whatever that means)
3. ***Draft picks compensation with only be award for players who were with the team for the entire year (so no more July trades, where “if we don’t sign him at least we get two draft picks”)
4. Now only the top 10 picks 1st round picks will be protected if you sign a type A free agent, if you have the 11th pick or thereafter, you will loss it now.
5. More Super 2 arbitration players, Strasburg may have been held back for no good reason.
6. Draft: Each team will get a pool (cap) for draft picks based on where they finish. If they exceed it by over 5%, the team wills loss at least a 1st round pick or more (two first round picks if you’re over by 15%). WOW!!! Plus a tax depending on how much over. These forfeited picks will be given to teams that don’t exceed the pool in the form of a lottery.
7. The deadline for draft picks to sign will be no later than July 18th (At least the guys that sign can get time in the minors now)
8. No more ML contracts for draft picks – All minor league deals.
9. Player picked for the All-Star game, must play if not injured or excused by the Commissioner’s office (I guess like a starter who played the Sunday before).
10. International signing will have a poll (cap) where if exceeded will cause a tax for that team.

Nats314 said...

You can't pitch around Braun as you have Fielder behind him. Why not walk Kemp to get to.......?

Bowdenball said...


You didn't even mention defense in your explanation. How did you account for the fact that Kemp plays a much more important defensive position than Braun and that Kemp is generally considered to be the better defensive player of the two, although neither is a good outfielder?

All other things being equal- and you seem to think they pretty much are- doesn't the fact that one guy gets you those numbers while playing mediocre CF defense while the other is hidden in left field count for something?

Anonymous said...

Not sure I agree, but then Braun was the best player on a team that won their division for the first time in almost 30 years so there's that. Just thought Kemp reached greater heights overall.

Anonymous said...

TIM.Kurkjian voted for Braun

FS said...

Mark, the way I see it is if I replace Braun with Kemp, that is better lineup, better park, and other circumstances, Kemp does even better than he did this season.

Halladay is definitely not more valuable to Phillies (that had Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, and Worley) than Kershaw was to Dodgers (guy responsible for more than quarter of their wins last season).

Not saying your reasoning is wrong, just that I don't agree. Thanks and you are still as awesome as ever, even if you got MVP choice wrong. :P

Anonymous said...

sure Anon 11:09... but theres no guarantee that Rendon is major league ready. I could see Zimm at 1B opening day 2014. with Rendon at 3rd. Lombo at 2nd and Danny the allstar at SS.

Getting back to the off-season moves thread[s]:

Really? I think the synopsis of Rizzo's conversation with Boswell was revealing. They were discussing Davey's Pirate ship ShangHai-ing AAA players for the crew. Apparently, he asked for and got Lombardozzi, Marerro, etc without asking Mike Rizzo. Rizzo's response, "You know him better than I do".

Boswell's analysis even more revealing. As I've stated more than once, Davey Johnson likely will strongly prefer to finish Harper's development under his own eyes rather than AAA. He has Bo Porter who probably is the best outfield coach in the system. He has his own hand picked hitting coach. What's not to like for Harper? Or Rendon for that matter? Or Lombardozzi?

Davey's proud that he had Dwight Gooden in his rotation at 19. Johnson loves big egos and big talents. And Davey DOES NOT OBEY. He basically called up Lombardozzi, Marrero, Peacock and Milone __ALL of them__ before the front office was willing to talk about it. Davey talked about how great it would be "when they come up."

Anonymous said...


I asked Rizzo, "Is your manager calling up players before you figure out whether you want them called up and how it impacts the 40-man roster?"

Rizzo said, paraphrase, "You know him better than I do."

So, I laughed and said, "Yeah, looks like he is." Or some such. If Davey thinks Harper is ready, it'll be a bigger version of the way he said, "I need Detwiler to be my 'No. 6 starter' out of my bullpen now," and so Rizzo gave him Detwiler.

They work very well together on that. Davey has done just about every job in baseball that exists. So he's perfect for saying to a GM, "What do you need me to do to help you develop your young players and answer your organizational questions as quick as possible." But Rizzo knows that a Davey Johnson team is a Davey Johnson team. He's going to say, "This is what I need. This is who I want on my team." And he'll say it in public first. Rizzo respects that, knows how good Davey is and is willing to learn things about roster-building from him.

So, Davey won't want to rush Harper, but he sure won't want to slow him down either if he really thinks he's ready. He likes to have talent develop under his nown eye because he thinks he's the smartest man in baseball, ikncluding bteaching hitting __oh, sorry, Davey would never say that__ but if a great prospect, like Gooden, is going to get screwed up, Johnson'd like to be the one to screw 'em up, not somebody in the minors.

natscan reduxit said...

… clearly Braun deserved the award, … simply based on his 'Inside The Park' attempt where he gave it his 'all … and so much more'.

Go Buerle! Go Nats!!

Tcostant said...

One correction:

I used the word "Type A" free agent, that was incorrect. Type A and B will no longer be used.
A free agent will be subject to compensation if his former Club offers him a
guaranteed one-year contract with a salary equal to the average salary of the
125-highest paid Players from the prior season. The offer must be made at the
end of the five-day free agent “quiet period,” and the Player will have seven days
to accept the offer.

The point about only the first 10 picks be protected, is the correct.

Anonymous said...

NatsJack in Florida said...

And who on Mark's list would you bump for Morse?


Votto and Tulo stats are almost identical to Morse. Understand SS position difference.

Anonymous said...

Still sitting here wondering if Mark will address Davey's role in all of this in a post in the near future?

I am a HUGE Michael Morse fan. Huge.

But the handwriting appears to be on the wall:
If Davey wants to continue Harper's development in the majors. And Rizzo wants Werth in right field (without any argument from Davey). And left-handed bats are needed in the lineup?

Harper LF
Upton CF (ignore JimBo, as usual too often wrong and rarely right)
Werth RF

If you bundle Morse, Marerro, Desmond, Norris, Flores plus a couple of the pitching prospects (perhaps two relievers or 1 starter and 1 reliever) you might just get back an Upton and a Shields. Great cost cutting move for the Rays and they should still be competitive in the AL East.

Yeah, the Nats will have to pay dearly for what they want. Perhaps that's why Bowden is reporting them onto the Cuban now. The price may have made too many flinch starting with Davey Johnson.

Theophilus said...

There's a distinction between: (1) the Most Valuable Player/team did something special; (2) best player in baseball; (3) player who made the most difference in how his team played.

The 1st guy gets the MVP trophy; the 2d guy gets something from ESPN, which is all about "stars," anyway; the 3d guy gets a long term contract for a lot of money. Kemp at least got the contract, so from that perspective everything worked out anyway.

Theophilus said...

About the CBA, I haven't heard what the new revenue-sharing deal is. How long will the rest of baseball keep supporting the Rays losing money at the gate, backing up to the ML redistribution of wealth window, and whacking the big-spending Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers? And will any other teams figure out the formula?

Tcostant said...

Here is the revenue sharing part, answer is at least 5 more years:

a. The net transfer value of the Revenue Sharing Plan will be the same as the current plan. Net
transfer amounts will continue to grow with revenue and changes in disparity.
b. The fifteen Clubs in the largest markets will be disqualified from receiving revenue sharing by
2016. The revenue sharing funds that would have been distributed to the disqualified Clubs will
be refunded to the payor Clubs, except that payor Clubs that have exceeded the CBT threshold
two or more consecutive times will forfeit some or all of their refund.
c. The Commissioner’s Discretionary Fund will increase from $10 to $15 million per year.

Theophilus` said...



Anonymous said...

Morse's replacement if he goes in a trade:

The Washington Nationals are in the market for a right-handed hitter, and one of the targets could be Carlos Quentin of the White Sox, says Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune.

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo selected Quentin in 2003 when he was the scouting director for Arizona. But Gonzalez cautions that relations between the two teams soured around the trading deadline in 2010, when the Nationals were not interested in acquiring pitcher Edwin Jackson in a deal involving slugger Adam Dunn.

Anonymous said...

I would have voted Kemp. Kemp out Homererd, out RBI'd, out Run'd and out Stolen Bases'd Braun, in a much harder to hit in park and in a much harder Division and with a much weaker supporting cast. He leads the NL in HR, RBI and R's as a CF; mashing it all over in that huge park and playing a ton of games against the Giants and Padres and with Juan Rivera for protection (not Prince and his 38 bombs) too? A few points in OPS and the luck of playing on a way better team hands the crown to Braun? Ouch. Look at the lineup the Dodgers threw out there -- ridiculous. Matt Kemp was the best player in the NL last year.


NatsJack in Florida said...

When discussing the Rays and any moves, they have quality assets in place to replace both Upton and Shields and plan on moving them this off season.

No way Flores AND Norris go in a deal.

NatsJack in Florida said...

And yet Kemp could only get them to play .500 ball.

I don't have any problem calling Kemp the best player in the NL this past season.... that doesn't make him the MVP.

Anonymous said...

No way Flores AND Norris go in a deal.

I hate, absolutely HATE the idea of Morse going in a deal. But you have to know Tampa Bay will want a lot. They might take Solano over Flores but they aren't very strong in the catching and MI department system wide. At least as far as I can tell. Then there's first base ... where Morse, Marerro, and Moore might look attractive. Let's face it LaRoche is too expensive for them to risk on his comeback.

Perhaps Davey hates losing Morse, perhaps Lombo, Desmond, Norris, etc? He seems to have quite a bit of sway ...

Sunderland said...

I think their total contributions as a player should be taken into account. Braun is OK at best in LF. Kemp is excellent at the more demanding CF position.
I vote Kemp.

Bowdenball said...

Natsjack in Florida-

Yes, it does. Quality = value. The better a player is is the more valuable he is. Period.

Just as easily as you can say that Kemp is "less" valuable because his team only played .500 ball, you could also say that Braun was less valuable, because his team could probably have made the playoffs with any sort of semi-decent left fielder in his place, since they won the division by 6 games.

Both of the arguments are total nonsense, however. A player's value doesn't depend on the value of the other players on his team. It depends only on how well he plays the game. That's just plain old common sense.

Steve Sax said...

Kemp deserved it.

How are voters saying Kemp and Braun were so similar? Kemp was better in almost every category, played more games, with less protection and a bigger park. That's not neck-and-neck competition to me.

Matt Kemp did more with James Loney/Juan Uribe hitting behind him than Braun did with Prince.

Just like a Verlander win, once the media narrative starts up, it can determine a winner who wasn't even empirically the best player.

baseballswami said...

Does anybody have access to the new"social media policy"? I heard that there is one, not what's in it. Could be interesting.

Sunderland said...

Well Milwaulkee could have played .500 ball *without* Braun.
How does that make him the MVP?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Hmmmm.... I guess Justin Verlander was the best player in the AL by Bowdenball's reasoning.

John C. said...

Trading a boatload of talent for B.J. Upton makes no sense, IMHO. He's an OK player - better tools than brains, but not untalented, and certainly better than Bernadina or Ankiel - but it's either for a one year rental or for the privilege of ponying up major $$$ in a contract extension for a player whose numbers had been steadily declining for three years. He's better than Bernadina and Ankiel, yes - but is he so much better than them that he's worth giving up $$$ and prospects for?

It's the same problem with James Shields - he becomes a FA after the 2012 season, so any deal that the Nationals make is a one year rental or involves a $$$ contract extension. It's also likely that, even with Matt Moore knocking on the door, Shields is regarded as an essential part of the Rays' shot at contending this year.

I'm not sure that there is a deal there, to be honest. I can't see the Nationals investing much in a one year Upton rental, and I don't see the Rays as being eager to move Shields for anything other than a serious haul of prospects. But the phone down, Rizzo, and back slowly away ...

NatsJack in Florida said...

That's precisely why the Rays are unloading them....that and because they have replacements. They will not lose Shields to Free Agency (Upton, they don't really care). Shields and Upton are both signable.

I have complete faith in Rizzo.... The whole Shields thing came about because of the "I didn't see that one coming" tact I've taken with whatever he pulls off in the next month.

Wally said...

John C - I believe that Shields has team options through and including the 2014 season, topping out at $12m. That is pretty great value for the pitcher Shields has been, and he will be 32 when the 2014 ends, so no reason to expect age-related decline. Injuries, well he is as susceptible as any pitcher I guess, but he has been pretty durable so far. Your point that the Rays may view as indispensable may be right, though, and there have been rumors to that effect. My biggest question about this, is whether Morse is the best that they could get? For instance, could they use Shields plus some prospects to get Votto? Who knows?

No argument on Upton, at least from me. The gymnastics would involve trying to get Shields, and that is where Morse potentially comes in.

Anonymous said...

I want to have faith in Rizzo, but his ability to make a trade is not the strongest part of his game to date. I am hoping that if he makes a trade that it is a bold move for a guy who is very likely to be a stud for the Nats for some time to come (meaning, I am OK with him giving up a Morse, Desmond or even Storen in some package if he gets a star caliber player, not a a needs a change of scenery, will he ever really harness his talent guy like Upton). We'll see.


Theophilus said...

Upton is worth only a couple of Class A players, at most, and only if they throw in a prescription for Xanax that runs the length of his contract.

The sooner Tampa deals him to another team, or lets him walk and he signs somewhere else, the sooner I can sleep easy at night.

Anonymous said...

Can we drop the semantics of MVP? It's the best player, period.

Anonymous8 said...

Theophilus - I still like the Cutter Dykstra idea so Nyjer = BJ Upton

FS said...

Couple of Class A players? Brilliant!

I hope Friedman is as dumb as we think on this blog.

Unless we are thinking of two different type of Class A players?

Theophilus said...

AnonB and FS --

In a post 9-10 months ago, I opined that BJ Upton was Nyjer w/ muscles. Still think so. And not in a good way.

Anonymous said...

In a post 9-10 months ago, I opined that BJ Upton was Nyjer w/ muscles. Still think so. And not in a good way.

And so knowing that he is going to be a free agent. Knowing the new rules of the CBA TB knows it probably has to deal Upton and really should do so now. For the Nats giving up assets which have no replacement (which is not the case for Tampa Bay) have to net more than just Upton in return. They almost have to ask for Shields, perhaps David Price. Price is arbitration eligible in 2012. He'll be expensive. AND he is left-handed Natsjack. Shields is 3rd year arbitration eligible ... he's going to get a monster raise. He's a free agent after the 2012 season.

The Nats could get one of those two pitchers ... clearly the Rays would likely prefer trading Shields who is older and not under control as long. Upton is the icing on the cake for literally giving up the farm.

Anonymous said...

As for John Lannan vs. Buehrle. Apparently Patrick Reddington reads this blog? He attempts to answer the question:

Does Mark still have Lannan listed as a #3 starter? Ready to change that Mark? Goose Bumps Goesling?

Davey Johnson via Patrick Reddington:

"[Lannan] still has a tendency to just kind of overthrow," Johnson said when he brought up the topic again in the last month of the season. "He gets in a groove in [the 2nd, 3rd and 4th] where he starts pitching, but sometimes he tries to power the ball and his misses start coming up and he usually does that early in the ball game. If you watch closely, I get a really good view, he's throwing a lot of pitches a little bit up for him early and then he kind of gets more in command." After he'd dropped his sixth game in seven starts from mid-August through mid-September, the Nats' skipper was asked if it was a disappointing end to a relatively strong season by Lannan?

"Yeah," the manager said, "We all expect a lot out of him. He's got good stuff. He's pitched out of some jams, making quality pitches and in this league, occasionally if you leave one out over the plate and up, you're going to get hit." The left-hander, Johnson said, "... sometimes overthrows. I like it when he's using that sinker and not trying to overthrow it. He gets a lot of ground balls, and when you see line drives to the outfield or whatever, the fastball's up. But he's got great stuff."

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

Here's something I've wondered for years: the Cy Young Award winner is generally considered to go to the "best" pitcher, regardless of how his team did. What if the award for position players were called "the Babe Ruth Award" or somesuch, and the word "valuable" wasn't in the title? NOW who would you vote for?

Wally said...

Shields is under contract through 2014. Team options, but they'll definitely be exercised. It may not change your conclusion, but it is different facts.

But on that note, Tampa was brilliant at signing up their young guys while still in pre-arb years, offering guaranteed money through the end of arbitration at a discount, and getting team options for a few free agent years. Players were guaranteed millions, and the team got some low priced option year. Shields, Crawford, Longoria, Zobrist I think. The key was picking the right guys.

We have several guys that potentially fit that mold : JZimm, Espy, Ramos, Morse. Hopefully Rizzo is thinking about it, and going to insist on some options.

Anonymous said...

Friedman isn't "dumb". But he does have different priorities. His owner[s] want him to cut costs across the board. He has to work within a tight budget. So, for him, having a lot of close-to-the-majors controllable players who might fit his needs has to do. So far it has.

John C. said...

I am corrected, Shields is technically a free agent after 2012 unless the Rays exercise a team option for $9 million for 2013 and $12 million for 2014. For that reason, baseball reference lists 2013 as his free agent year.

My objections to Upton, however, stand :)

PS: hilariously, the word capture was "nomerit"

D'Gourds said...

I just can't understand your argument, Mark. Braun was surrounded by a much better lineup and therefore saw better pitches to hit. So, in fact, if two players had equal stats, the one who plays in the weaker lineup actually had the better year and was more valuable, no?

Sunderland said...

“If you honestly assess both of our seasons individually I think his numbers are probably better than mine, and I just feel fortunate to have been on the better team,” Braun said. “It’s an individual award, but it’s a result of being part of a special team, a special organization.”

Avar said...

I feel strongly the MVP should go to the best player. But, I feel that player was Braun. He was a tick better in most of the stat categories I care about. And his defense is less bad than Kemp's.

Avar said...

PS, I HATED that Verlander won the MVP. Travesty. I don't even think he deserves the Cy Young. It should have been Sabathia, w/ Verlander 2nd. Verlander put up eye popping stats but in categories that are significantly luck driven. He had a fantastic year but not as brilliant as the mainstream says. His BABIP was .236, that is luck. If that had been average, his numbers would have been merely outstanding, not historically great. I would have given the MVP to Ellsbury actually. Bautista 2nd, Beltre 3rd. Then maybe CC in the top 5 but not Verlander. Someday maybe wins and ERA won't wow everyone so much but obviously those days are not here yet.

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