Results tagged ‘ MVP ’

My Vote for American League M.V.P.

When it comes to the 2012 Most Valuable Player award it seems as if many people could care less about who wins it from the National League. Ryan Braun…Buster Posey…Andrew McCutchen…give it to any of them, and no one would really complain.

The main focus falls on the American League portion, where baseball fans have sided with either Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. Everyone (no matter which player they side with) has a dozen reasons behind why their pick is the best, and they’re all adamant as to who they think should win the award. I’m no different.

My vote for MVP of the American League would have to go to Mike Trout.

Before you ask, no, I haven’t been living under a rock for the past week. I’m fully aware that Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown (the first player to do so since 1967), and while that’s extremely impressive–and nothing to sneeze at–if you take the time to examine both player’s effect on their respective team, you start to see there’s really no contest. You quickly find yourself leaning a bit more towards Mike Trout; or at least that’s the case with me.

When making a pick for Most Valuable Player, I feel it’s extremely important to remember what the award is truly for: The player who had the greatest positive impact on their team, and thus was the “most valuable”. While it’s easy to look at the stats and declare Miguel Cabrera the winner, MVP is not necessarily an award for the better player, but rather an award for the player that held a bigger role in helping their team succeed.

That’s what I feel gets lost in translation. People see the incredible stats that Cabrera was able to post and they find themselves thinking, “with numbers like that, he’s got to win.” While that may be true in some situations, this particular instance, it’s just not the case in my opinion.

As far as statistics go, Trout and Cabrera were under completely different circumstances while at the plate, which makes it a bit difficult to compare the two. For example:

Trout bats leadoff, thus (in at least one at-bat) has no chance at having anyone on base to knock in; yet he accumulated 83 RBI’s. Cabrera on the other hand batted in the three-hole, giving him a higher chance of an RBI situation every time he stepped into the batters box.

Another thing Trout had going against him by batting leadoff was the fact that he had no one behind him in the lineup for protection. In an RBI pressure situation Trout didn’t have a guy like Prince Fielder to fall back on. If Trout didn’t come through, who knew if the next guy could get the job done. (As Prince Fielder does the majority of the time.)

In Cabrera’s case–and Ryan Braun’s, last season–he had Fielder behind him in the order to take some of the pressure off, which could be argued allowed Cabrera to come through more often than he normally would have in big spots. That’s something I personally take into consideration.

Something that really bothers me when it comes to MVP voting is the voter’s tendency to use whether or not a candidate’s team made it to the playoffs when making their decision of who to vote for. You can be an extremely valuable asset to your team and still end up falling short as a whole.

Take last year’s National League MVP voting for example.

Matt Kemp had arguably better stats than Ryan Braun, yet Braun ended up taking home the MVP award, greatly due to the fact that Braun’s Brewers made it to the post season, and Kemp’s Dodgers did not. That’s just not the right thing to base your decision on. It wasn’t right in 2011, it’s not right now, and it won’t be right in 2013 and beyond, either.

Mike Trout posted stats that no rookie has ever been able to in MLB history–the only rookie to ever have a 30/40 season. Trout came in and completely turned the Angels around; and while this is purely speculative, could’ve very well led his team to the playoffs had he of been called up sooner. (But that’s another debate, for another time.)

Trout put up insane numbers for a team that had an embarrassing record of 6-14 (worse than the Houston Astros at the time) before his callup on April 28th. A mere month after Trout’s addition to the roster, the Angels’ had a .500 record, and were on a seven game winning streak; greatly due to Mike Trout and his ability to impact the ball club.

If that doesn’t make for an MVP, I don’t know what does.

Now, if you’re one of those people that love sabermetrics–and purely rely on statistics alone when looking at MVP–then it’s clear that Miguel Cabrera beat out Mike Trout by a landslide. While the batting average was fairly close, Cabrera posted 14 more home runs than Trout, as well as 56 more RBI’s.

But looking at stats–and stats alone–only tells part of the story.

Trout came up in late April and went on a tear, and as a result was able to reenergize a struggling Angels team. He got them back on track enabling them to make an incredible run, which unfortunately ended with the Angels coming up just short of a Wild Card spot.

Without Trout, who knows whether or not the Angels’ would’ve finished with a record anywhere near theirs of 89-73. (A better record, mind you, than that of the Tigers, who finished 88-74 on the year.)

That’s what makes a player worthy of a Most Valuable Player award. It’s not always the best player in a given league, but instead, the player that had the biggest impact on their team, and therefore was most valuable.

And that would undoubtedly be Mike Trout.

Ryan Braun Tests Positive for PED’s

Well I didn’t see this coming. After having the best season of his career (we now know why) Ryan Braun has reportedly tested positive for Performance-enhancing Drugs; or PED’s. Braun’s 2011 season consisted of him recording 33 home runs, off of 187 hits–good enough to earn him the title of MVP in the National League, as well as lead “his” Brewers to their first division title in three decades. This comes as a shock, not only to me, but to baseball fans everywhere, as well as the players, and staff, of Major League Baseball. Acording to reports, Braun was notified of the test results a month before he was named NL MVP, but when asked his thoughts on the subject, he replied: ” It’s B.S.” Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. But I’ll tell you one thing. If it is indeed true–that Braun knew of his testing positive for PED’s–then the awarding of MVP to Braun is “B.S.” How do you knowingly award such an important award to a guy who didn’t achieve his stats legally? In short, he cheated. Braun cheated. He’s no better than A-rod, McGwire, or anyone else who has used steroids in the history of Major League Baseball.

Braun is appealing the steroids charge, however if it the initial finding is upheld, Braun will be required to serve a 50-game suspension to start the 2012 season. This would mean the first game Braun would be eligible to play in wouldn’t be until June 5th, at home against the Chicago Cubs. A major blow to the Brewers, especially if Prince Fielder signs somewhere other than Milwaukee during the offseason.

Back in 2009, when Alex Rodriguez was accused to have used steroids, Braun made the following statement in response to whether he’d ever been tempted to use PED’s :

It’s never something that I sought. I would never do it because if I took steroids, I would hit 60 or 70 home runs.

“60 or 70 home runs” Braun? Really? According to the statistics, you only hit 33 this season. What gives? Perhaps a better way to sum up how shocking this news is, here’s a 2009 statement from Bud Selig, after Mark McGwire’s coming clean:

The use of steroids and amphetamines amongst today’s players has greatly subsided and is virtually nonexistent, as our testing results have shown. The so-called steroid era — a reference that is resented by the many players who played in that era and never touched the substances — is clearly a thing of the past, and Mark’s admission today is another step in the right direction.

I would have to agree. The used of steroids has diminished throughout the past decade. (Or at least as far as we know.) However I’d have to agree with Bob Costas who, as usual, made an extremely accurate statement in response to Bud Selig, saying, “…there will always be rogue chemists that want to help players cheat.” I suppose Ryan Braun knows one of those “chemists.”

My Predictions for Upcoming MLB Awards

MLB awards start up again today, with the AL and NL Rookie of the Year Award winners being announced around 2:00. Then, in the upcoming days, the winners for AL and NL Cy Young and MVP will be announced. With the busy schedule of awards coming up I thought I’d try to predict who will win what.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD

AL- This is a tough one for me to predict. There are two major contenders in the American League that have a shot at winning the award. The first of the two, Jeremy Hellickson, had an amazing year for the Tampa Bay Rays. He recorded 17 wins and held up a 2.95 ERA. Hellickson also threw two complete games including a shut out. Eric Hosmer–first baseman for the Kansas City Royals–also had a fantastic season. He recorded 19 home runs and 27 doubles off of 153 hits. Anytime a rookie can do that he’s a good candidate for the rookie of the year award, but I give a slight advantage to Hellickson.

NL- For me, this one is a no brainer. Craig Kimbrel is the best candidate to win the award for the National League. Kimbrel recored 46 saves in 54 opportunities–a rookie record. To me there’s no one that could beat out Kimbrel. The guy’s just too good.

CY YOUNG AWARD

AL- Just like the National League rookie of the year award, this one is almost too easy to predict. There was no pitcher in the American League that was better than Justin Verlander this year–possibly in all of MLB. The guy was amazing. I mean, he had a 24 win season and held his ERA to a low 2.40. No one else, in my opinion, even came close to Verlander.

NL- Another easy one to predict. Clayton Kershaw had a fantastic season and is the most deserving of the award in the National League. Kershaw recorded 21 wins and held his ERA to 2.28. Not to mention his 248 strike outs. There was no pitcher that was better than him this season in the NL.

MVP AWARD

AL- Another difficult prediction for me to make. In my opinion, Curtis Granderson and Jacoby Ellsbury are both players that I feel are deserving. Curtis Granderson hit 41 home runs off of 153 hits. That’s nearly double the number of home runs he hit last season (24). Granderson also recorded over 100 more total bases than he did last season. But when it comes down to it, I think that Jacoby Ellsbury was slightly better than Granderson this season. Ellsbury–who only played in 18 games last season–had a season to remember, hitting 32 home runs, 5 triples, and 46 doubles, off of 212 total hits. Truly incredible.

NL- There were some worthy candidates on the National League MVP Award list–including the Brewers’ Ryan Braun– but I feel that Matt Kemp just barely beat them out. Kemp became only the second player in Dodgers history to record a 30-30 in a season. (For those of you that don’t know, that’s 30 stolen bases and 30 home runs.) Kemp ended the season just one home run shy of a 40-40, which is why I think he’ll take home the award.

Those are just my predictions, based off of what I’ve seen throughout the past season. I’m sure you have predictions of your own that probably differ from mine. Which is why I want you to leave a comment if you don’t agree with one, or several, of my predictions. I’d love to hear what you guys are thinking.

My World Series Game 7 Recap

Last night’s game 7 of the 2011 World Series was do or die, for both the Cardinals and the Rangers. A win for the Rangers would mean their first World Series Championship in the franchises history. A win for the Cardinals would mean their second World Series Championship in the past ten years. It was game on.

The start of the game saw Cardinal’s pitcher Chris Carpenter on the mound. He was pitching on only three days rest, but as the Cardinal’s best pitcher, he was their best chance of a victory. He had to be on his game.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Carpenter didn’t seem to be on his game to start out. Giving up two runs in the top of the first inning. The first run for the Rangers coming off of an RBI double by Josh Hamilton, who’s not had the best post season, but has come through in some big spots. The second run of the inning came on an RBI double from Michael Young, that scored Hamilton from second. It was 2-0, Rangers, just like that. It wasn’t looking good for the Cardinals.

Moving on to the bottom half of the inning. The Cardinals have a runner on first and second, with two outs. The two base runners came off of two straight walks by Ranger’s pitcher, Matt Harrison. The next batter, David Freese, came through again for the Cardinals, by doubling to left field, allowing both Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman to score. The game was now tied, 2-2.

Jumping ahead to the bottom of the third, the score is still tied 2-2. The batter, Allen Craig, sends a ball to right field. At first it appeared as if Craig had popped the ball up. But it kept carrying and carrying, just enough to get over the wall. The Cardinals now lead, 3-2.

Now skipping ahead to the bottom of the fifth inning. Things got ugly for the Rangers. After bringing in Scott Feldman to replace Matt Harrison, he walks Allen Craig, plunks Albert Pujols, and then intentionally walks David Freese. The bases are loaded with two outs. So what does Feldman do? He walks the next batter, Yadier Molina, which allows the runner at third, Allen Craig, to walk home. The score is now, 4-2, Cardinals. With the bases STILL loaded, and one out left to get, the Rangers replaced Feldman with their Ace, C.J. Wilson. What does Wilson do? On the FIRST pitch he throws, after coming in the game, he hits the batter, Rafael Furcal, allowing another run to WALK home. The score is now 5-2. Wilson then strikes out Skip Schumaker. But the damage has been done.

Moving onto the top of the sixth inning. The Rangers look to cut the lead by a run, as Nelson Cruz launches a ball to deep center field. It appears as if it will sail over the outfield wall. But at the last second, Allen Craig makes the leaping catch, robbing Cruz of a home run. To me, that catch by Craig was the nail in the Ranger’s coffin.

Bottom of the seventh. The Cardinals have runners on first and second, with one out. The batter, Yadier Molina, hits a single to center field. Lance Berkman, the runner at second, scores. The RBI single by Molina makes the score 6-2, Cardinals. The Cardinals start to feel the victory.

Moving on to the top of the ninth. The score is still 6-2, Cardinals, with Nelson Cruz coming up to bat. Jason Motte, the hard throwing “closer” for the Cardinals, is the new pitcher. Motte gets Cruz to fly out to center fielder, Jon Jay. Two outs to go. The next batter, Mike Napoli–who’s been oustanding for the Rangers in the World Series–grounds out to third base. The Cardinals are now just one out away from winning the World Series. David Murphy approaches the plate as the last chance for the Rangers. Everything rides on him. But Murphy doesn’t come through, as all he can do is fly out to left field. The crowd goes insane! The Cardinals have done it. After being down 10.5 games to the Braves in the Wild Card chase on August 25, they’ve come all the way back to win the World Series. It’s truly one of the more remarkable runs in baseball history.

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals, for winning the 2011 World Series.

I feel bad for the Texas Rangers. After making it all the way to the World Series last season, and losing to the San Fransisco Giants, this season was their chance to redeem themselves. But it wasn’t meant to be I guess.

After the game was over, Bud Selig presented the M.V.P. trophy to David Freese. Freese–who’s the reason the Cardinal’s even made it to a game seven–came through for the Cardinal’s every single time they needed him to. He truly was the Cardinal’s Most Valuable Player.

Once again, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the 2011 World Series. A remarkable end, to a remarkable season.

POLL RESULTS

The very first poll I posted back on October 10th, asked who you thought would win the 2011 World Series, and in how many games. The majority of the votes had the Rangers winning in six games. It’s funny how far off that prediction was.

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