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Thread: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

  1. #46
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Joy. Another, WAR suggests my current way of thinking might be wrong, therefore it is silly and should be ignored, article.
    Quick question Rick. WAR, in general, should it be used as a measuring stick to compare players? Ones from different leagues and/or positions? Just curious on your interpretation of how useful or important the stat is/should be.
    2014 predictions:
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    Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
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  3. #47
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    I am not a statistician but I do refer to WAR as one tool to use in evaluating players. I certainly cannot debate the accuracy and merits of WAR with those who are more learned than I am in how to calculate WAR.
    However I am also very skeptical of those who seem to argue that because Smith's WAR score is higher than that of Jones, the subject is closed and Smith is indisputably the better player.
    I can recall that Pete Palmer was rightly praised 30+ years ago when he came forward with his innovative Linear Weights system of evaluating players. He deserved the praise but eventually others, such as Bill James, demonstrated that Linear Weights was also deeply flawed, especially in its evaluation of defensive skills. As one example, at one time Linear Weights showed Johnny Bench to be one of the worst defensive catchers ever. For that matter, at one time Linear Weights showed Ferris Fain as having had a more valuable career than Pete Rose.
    My point is that while WAR and other current sabermetric ways of calculating the value of a player almost certainly are more advanced and accurate than other calculations were decades ago, we are not talking about divinely inspired, infallible methods of evaluating a player.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

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  5. #48
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    Quick question Rick. WAR, in general, should it be used as a measuring stick to compare players? Ones from different leagues and/or positions? Just curious on your interpretation of how useful or important the stat is/should be.
    While hardly perfect, I think it is the best tool we have for doing just that.

    My problem with the dismissals of WAR are squarely on the basis that the person dismissing it never replace it with something better -- only their opaque, subjective and often arbitrary determination that leaves them impervious to criticism.

    Heyman's basic philosophy appears to be this:

    - MVP is a combination of production and making the playoffs
    - If a player does not make the playoffs, he must be vastly superior to his competitors in terms of production

    This is all well and good. I disagree on the playoffs thing, but he can use whatever criteria he wants. This leaves us, ultimately, in the same place as always -- assessing production.

    At the end of the day, he thinks the best measures of production are triple crown stats and OPS. He acknowledges that Trout reaching on errors 9 times compared to Cabrera's 0 isn't meaningless, he just refuses to give it any actual consideration whatsoever. Those bases just disappear.

    In terms of defense, he cites the same problem people here on RZ have: At the extremes, WAR uses defensive values that feel too big. He doesn't actually have any specific critique of where those numbers come from and why they are probably wrong -- they just don't match what he intuits is likely accurate. Therefore... nope, no recommendation of how to objectively incorporate defense instead - just uses some kind of arbitrary fudge factor at the end. (we'll come back to this)

    He says nothing about base running, other than to again assert that he doubts Trout could possibly have performed sufficiently worse as a defender and baserunner to account for the difference between last year and this year. Again, there is no incorporation of base running in terms of treating it like real value being produced and folded in to our final accounting of production.

    The kick of course is the playoffs argument. Trout didn't make the playoffs, so unless he truly has been 25% more productive than Cabrera, he can't compare in terms of MVP. And because he's:

    a) Discounting offensive production not captured by AVG/HR/RBI/OPS
    b) Ignoring defense (at least not telling us how he counts it)
    c) Ignoring base-running (at least not telling us how he counts it)

    I'd LOVE to see Heyman do the following: How many runs of production do you credit each player with in terms of Hitting, Running, Fielding? Show your work. Show your assumptions. Use whatever numbers you want from whereever you want. Make them up for all I care. But show your work. Because doing this will force you to both provide numbers that can be discussed (and defended) and to show how you're layering in the value of defense and baserunning. If he wants to say Cabrera is 30 runs better as a hitter and that Trout is only 10 runs better as a fielder and 5 as a baserunner, at least we could discuss it. But the argument of "WAR can't be right because it feels wrong, Cabrera has huge triple crown stats, and Cabrera is in the playoffs" is just a plain old simple argument that does not only fails to pass any analytical threshold but in structured in such a way that it cannot be fairly reviewed and critiqued -- it's too much of a black box.

    To those who claim WAR advocates such as myself treat it as unassailable, definitive proof, please cite some examples of WAR advocates taking such a hard-line approach. I'm not aware of any who do that. I think we'd do well to separate out the WAR framework from any specific WAR model. Come up with whatever values for hitting, fielding and base running you want -- but don't treat the latter two like mere fudge factors that ultimately serve as nothing more than a tie-breaker. If that is your position, if you refuse show how you account for all aspects of player production, then we don't need to keep arguing because we're talking apples and oranges.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 09-10-2013 at 03:14 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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  7. #49
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Chortleton View Post
    I've said it many times on here. If they want to change it to best player, they should rename it Most Outstanding Player like NCAA basketball did. Until then, I think the overwhelming majority of the voters will continue to interpret "valuable" as being linked to team success.
    And I will continue to ask the same question over and over, how is it possible for someone to be the best player, but have someone else provide more value? You can't be the best, if someone else is better. The logic that is used is mind numbing.

    You are right that people have been doing it for a long time. That doesn't mean it should continue happening.

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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    And I will continue to ask the same question over and over, how is it possible for someone to be the best player, but have someone else provide more value? You can't be the best, if someone else is better. The logic that is used is mind numbing.

    You are right that people have been doing it for a long time. That doesn't mean it should continue happening.
    Kind of the same reasoning the Astros are not going out and spending money on Free Agents. There is no value between 59 wins and 80 wins. They players they would sign would make no difference in the grand scheme. Some people view Trout as having no major impact for Angels as they would be in same shape without him this season. Not his fault but that is where most see the word value come in to play. How can something have value if you can not reap anything from it.

  9. #51
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    Just curious. For those of you who are picking Mike Trout over Miguel Cabrera....what are your reasons? Could you guys show me what factors are pushing you to Trout over Miggy? Is it just WAR?
    Based on pure hitting, Cabrera has a 196 OPS+ (my favorite offensive stat since it attempts to normalize your playing environments throughout the season) compared to Trout having a 183 OPS+.

    Cabrera ranks first, Trout ranks 2nd. The gap here is decently sized.

    Bat goes to Cabrera.

    Based on pure base running, Trout has 32 steals (7 CS) and Miguel Cabrera has 3 steals (0 CS). Let's also add in that Trout is very, very, very, very likely to be adding a significant amount of value in just base running when he doesn't steal given his elite speed, while Cabrera is probably a bit of a negative base runner given his complete lack of speed.

    Fangraphs says the difference between the two guys in "base running" is 10 runs, or roughly one win. That passes my sniff test. The gap here is huge, even if you don't want to rely on the FG values, I don't think anyone would actually argue that there isn't a huge gap in production between the two players here.

    Base running goes to Trout.

    Based on pure fielding, we have Mike Trout as an above-average defender in both left field and in center field. You can attach numbers to it if you choose, or you can just say he is darn good in the outfield. Miguel Cabrera on the other hand is a well below average fielder at his position. Again, you can attach numbers if you want to, or you can just say he isn't good.

    There is a huge gap here and if you wanted to use numbers you can, but I don't think anyone would argue that Trout has a huge advantage in pure defensive abilities over Cabrera when compared to their positional counterparts on defense.

    Fielding goes to Trout.

    Then the last thing I would add is the positional scarcity. I am sure some won't put much into this, but I do. It is a lot tougher to find guys to play center than it is to play third. That also gets Trout a boost in his value.

    Positional adjustment goes to Trout.

    The argument comes down to just how much weight you place directly on the bat versus the entire package of a player. In this specific case, I am of the belief that Mike Trout's non-bat production makes up more than enough to overcome the decent advantage that Miguel Cabrera has with the bat-production.

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  11. #52
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by RadfordVA View Post
    Kind of the same reasoning the Astros are not going out and spending money on Free Agents. There is no value between 59 wins and 80 wins. They players they would sign would make no difference in the grand scheme. Some people view Trout as having no major impact for Angels as they would be in same shape without him this season. Not his fault but that is where most see the word value come in to play. How can something have value if you can not reap anything from it.
    The Angels and MLB are absolutely reaping the benefits from it. With your logic provided, why don't we just wait until the World Series is over and then just vote for the team MVP from the World Series champ? Clearly that player should be the MVP since if you don't win the last game of the year, you can't reap anything from it.

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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    The Angels and MLB are absolutely reaping the benefits from it. With your logic provided, why don't we just wait until the World Series is over and then just vote for the team MVP from the World Series champ? Clearly that player should be the MVP since if you don't win the last game of the year, you can't reap anything from it.
    Regular season award.

  13. #54
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    The Angels and MLB are absolutely reaping the benefits from it. With your logic provided, why don't we just wait until the World Series is over and then just vote for the team MVP from the World Series champ? Clearly that player should be the MVP since if you don't win the last game of the year, you can't reap anything from it.
    So ticket sales, ratings and jersey sales should part of voting criteria?

  14. #55
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by RadfordVA View Post
    Regular season award.
    I'm glad you said this.

    The MVP is an individual award. Not a team award. The idea behind making the playoffs gives a player more value is insane.

  15. #56
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by RadfordVA View Post
    So ticket sales, ratings and jersey sales should part of voting criteria?
    Of course they shouldn't. Just like how your other 38 teammates played and the other teams in your division played shouldn't be.

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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Of course they shouldn't. Just like how your other 38 teammates played and the other teams in your division played shouldn't be.
    No point in arguing what the award should or shouldn't be for. Was just stating how some people feel the word value comes into play. Truth is MLB and other sports prefer interpretation of award be open to debate so people are talking about it.

  17. #58
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    I find it incredibly ironic that the posts that put the most thought and analysis into their "case" are often dismissed as "only looking at one stat (WAR)".

    I beg everyone to re-read both RMR and Doug's posts in this thread, and then tell me how "arbitrary" their arguments are.

  18. #59
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by junkhead View Post
    Is WAR(A stupid stat) your yardstick of the judgment?
    Please get rid of your obsession over WAR.

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/...s-still-better
    Several thoughts come to mind:

    1. The thread title, posted by you was "Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?"

    Well, those are my favorites.

    2. I didn't mention anything about how I arrived chose my favorites. This is simply an incorrect assumption on your part.

    3. While I would agree that there's an obsession with WAR, it's not coming from me.

    Irony.

    4. Not to speak for everyone but I think we've gotten the point over and over that you don't like WAR. However, I personally need a much more compelling argument than "WAR is a stupid stat."
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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  20. #60
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    Re: Who are your favorites for AL/NL MVP?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Based on pure hitting, Cabrera has a 196 OPS+ (my favorite offensive stat since it attempts to normalize your playing environments throughout the season) compared to Trout having a 183 OPS+.

    Cabrera ranks first, Trout ranks 2nd. The gap here is decently sized.

    Bat goes to Cabrera.

    Based on pure base running, Trout has 32 steals (7 CS) and Miguel Cabrera has 3 steals (0 CS). Let's also add in that Trout is very, very, very, very likely to be adding a significant amount of value in just base running when he doesn't steal given his elite speed, while Cabrera is probably a bit of a negative base runner given his complete lack of speed.

    Fangraphs says the difference between the two guys in "base running" is 10 runs, or roughly one win. That passes my sniff test. The gap here is huge, even if you don't want to rely on the FG values, I don't think anyone would actually argue that there isn't a huge gap in production between the two players here.

    Base running goes to Trout.
    Yes, he's got a bunch more stolen bases...but were they valuable? Not that I can tell. He hasn't scored any more runs than Miggy, even with the thefts, hitting first, having more ab's, etc. I like the stolen base more than most, but I think this part is getting too much weight in the formula IMO. Especially when it doesn't lead to something. If we can calculate when the stolen base equates to a run and THEN figure it in...that would be an improvement imo.

    Based on pure fielding, we have Mike Trout as an above-average defender in both left field and in center field. You can attach numbers to it if you choose, or you can just say he is darn good in the outfield. Miguel Cabrera on the other hand is a well below average fielder at his position. Again, you can attach numbers if you want to, or you can just say he isn't good.

    There is a huge gap here and if you wanted to use numbers you can, but I don't think anyone would argue that Trout has a huge advantage in pure defensive abilities over Cabrera when compared to their positional counterparts on defense.

    Fielding goes to Trout.
    Just using the eye test, I agree with you that Trout is the much better defender. So why is his defensive WAR negative? As for Miggy, he's below average over there, but he's not a butcher either IMO. Not to mention that it's not even his natural position. He moved to benefit the team and allow a place for Prince to play. And again, I think this part is factored too heavily in WAR. And this is coming from a defensive freak. :O)

    Then the last thing I would add is the positional scarcity. I am sure some won't put much into this, but I do. It is a lot tougher to find guys to play center than it is to play third. That also gets Trout a boost in his value.

    Positional adjustment goes to Trout.

    The argument comes down to just how much weight you place directly on the bat versus the entire package of a player. In this specific case, I am of the belief that Mike Trout's non-bat production makes up more than enough to overcome the decent advantage that Miguel Cabrera has with the bat-production.
    I like this last part. Definitely a fair point. But should a player be judged better than another simply because the others at his position are poor or hard to come by? I think this is nearly impossible to quantify.

    Thanks guys for the feedback. I was hoping that your decisions weren't just WAR, WAR and more WAR. I think it's a useful stat, but not good enough to define one player as better than another. I need more.
    2014 predictions:
    99-63 WS champs (Cards take 2nd WC, Mil 3rd, Pit 4th, Chi 5th)
    Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
    Bailey CYA winner
    Hamilton ROY & GG


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