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August 24, 2006

Starting To Noodle This Year's A.L. MVP Debate

Using the data for this season, as of yesterday's games, in the Baseball Musings Day By Day Database, I was able to put together the following chart for the fan/media M.V.P. favorites out of Boston and New York this year:

JeterAndPapi.jpg

First, yes, without question, David Ortiz hits for more power than Derek Jeter. We don't even need numbers to come to that conclusion.

But, what I found interesting here is where these two players are "making out."

Boy, that doesn't sound good. That's a mental picture that neither the fans in Boston or New York would want to see.

OK, let's try another way to paint this picture.

When the score is tied, both of these players "reach base" (is that better?) around the same rate.

But, when the Red Sox are leading by 1-3 runs, this is where Ortiz really excels at reaching base (and not making out). Jeter, on the other hand, is an on-base monster (to the tune of reaching base half of the time) when the Yankees are trailing by 1-3 runs.

So, what's more valuable - not making outs when your team is up by 1-3 runs or not making outs when your team is losing by 1-3 runs?

Of course, it should be noted that Ortiz still gets on base when the Sox are down 1-3 runs - just as Jeter still gets on base when the Yankees are up 1-3 runs. But, they both take it to another level in certain situations - Jeter when his team is down in a close game and Ortiz when his team is up in a close game.

Excelling in both of these game-score states has value. Doing well when you're up, but close, helps put the game away for your team. Doing well when you're down, but close, helps your team get back into the game.

For me, the latter state has more value - helping to try and turn a loss into a tie or win. Adding to a game where you're already winning, albeit a close game, is nice - but, hey, the team was still winning the game when you did it, no?

It will be interesting to look at the Ortiz-Jeter debate, via this type of view, when the season is over and the stats are final.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 24, 2006 12:41 PM

Comments

Great stuff Steve, but I'm afraid it's not your readers that need to be convinced Jeter is more worthy of the MVP; it's the pundits that vote who need to be educated.

Ortiz leads Jeter in Sportscenter highlights, which unfortunately clouds the mind.

Posted by: Mike A. [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 01:12 PM

Never thought I'd see someone comment that a player is overshadowing Jeter due to SportsCenter highlights. That's accurate this season, but an interesting thought, considering Jeter's own big plays in big spots over the years cemented his legacy as a guy whose contributions could not always be quantified by stats.

I'm not even sure Jeter is the MVP of the Yankees. Nor am I certain Ortiz is MVP of the Red Sox.

Manny really stood out in that Beatdown in Beantown -- and I don't think he takes a back seat to anyone is terms of being clutch. Certainly not against us, and imagine if his spot in the lineup was switched with Papi and saw much better pitches to hit.

And it has to be clear to any observer that the Yankees are where they are because of stellar contributions by many, many players. Is Jeter most responsible for our 6 1/2-game lead? More than Moose or Wang or Giambi or Damon or Rivera?

I go with Manny for AL MVP right now. Always time for a late surge, as when Vlad trumped Sheff in 2004 with a sick last month or so.

Posted by: Paul Katcher [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 03:07 PM

No question in my mind that Manny is the more effective batter over Papi - this year and in past years - and Manny helps Ortiz the same way that Mantle helped Maris.

What works against Manny in the MVP race is the legacy of "Manny being Manny" - stacked up against all the walk-offs for Ortiz. The public lives for the walk-off.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 03:15 PM

are mvps handed out on statistics alone? I hope there are some intangibles left in the voting other than some silly math equations and results.

Not to offend sabermatrecians but the game isn't always about the numbers.

Jeter does play a position which is considered the premier infield position. Ortiz does not.

Jeter is the captain of a team. Ortiz is not.

Jeter hits for power (not so much this year) and for OBP. Ortiz is known for his power.

Also Steve's statistic about trailing is important because that shows drive and ability to create men on base which leads to possible ties and wins.

"So, what's more valuable - not making outs when your team is up by 1-3 runs or not making outs when your team is losing by 1-3 runs?"

When you're not making outs when your team is losing. You only have 27 outs to work with in a 9-inning game. Each out decreases your chances to score more runs. I think.

Posted by: Straylightrise [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 05:10 PM

Ortiz leads Jeter in Sportscenter highlights, which unfortunately clouds the mind.
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Leads him in RCAA when I last checked too. And Manny leads the both of them...

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 10:47 PM

>>>Also Steve's statistic about trailing is important because that shows drive and ability to create men on base which leads to possible ties and wins.>>are mvps handed out on statistics alone? I hope there are some intangibles left in the voting other than some silly math equations and results.<<<

No they aren't handed out on statistics alone. That's why Clemens won the Cy in 2001 despite not even being the best pitcher on his team.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 10:51 PM