My AL MVP ballot goes like this:
And that’s what it is right now. Frankly, if you ask me again in an hour, it’ll probably be different. (Ask me again in five minutes. It might be different then, too.) While I was trying to come up with this list, I had two conflicting wishes:
- That there were only 4 spots on an MVP ballot, as I feel there’s a huge gap in MVP-caliber-ness between Greinke and the next guy
- That there were 15-20 spots on an MVP ballot, because the gap between #5 and #15 is barely discernable, and the order you put these guys in really just falls down to your predetermined biases
Joe Mauer, obviously, takes the top spot (really, the only important one). Everyone’s rehashed this argument a thousand times. Suffice it to say that I think if you’re the best defensive catcher in the league and the best hitter of any position in the league, then you are the MVP of the league. It seems to me that it’d take a pretty convoluted (and “interesting”) definition of the word “valuable” to think otherwise.
After that, I thought Zobrist, Jeter, and Greinke were pretty close to each other. I leaned toward Zobrist because the defensive metrics say he was tremendous this year and I wasn’t about to just ignore that; the same metrics said that Jeter was pretty good in the field, but not great. At the same time, Zobrist was a few runs better offensively than Jeter; given those two things, I don’t see how you can make a case that Jeter was better without saying things like “But Jeter won the World Series in 2009!” or “But Jeter won the World Series in 1998!”* or some such non-individual things.
* People always complain that Jeter’s never won an MVP, therefore he should win the MVP this time around. It’s a cute thought, of course; it’s also one that would never be thought about anyone other than The Great Captain Derek Dreamy Eyes Jeter. You want to know the reason Jeter’s never won the MVP? Here’s a hint: it’s not because sportswriters went out of their way to screw him. It’s because he was never the most valuable player in the league. So … I don’t get the logic that says he should get an undeserved MVP trophy now because he never got an undeserved MVP trophy in the past. The “lifetime achievement award” is called the Hall of Fame, and he’ll get that later.
Anyway, I don’t really feel like arguing about the rest of these guys. Teixeira had a bunch of RBI, but it was only because people were on base in front of him. His actual numbers are basically indistinguishable from other good first basemen: Kevin Youkilis, Miguel Cabrera, Kendry Morales, Justin Morneau (sans fractured spine). Put any one of those guys in the #3 spot in the Yankee lineup, and they’ll get just as many RBI (give or take random fluctuation).
My only worry is that I’m penalizing Teixeira for the quality of this teammates, in an effort simply not to reward him. I don’t think I am. It was something I thought about a lot. And wanting to avoid penalizing him while also including Youkilis (which emphasizes that they’re basically the same) is the reason I didn’t get to put Franklin Gutierrez on my ballot, which I really wanted to be able to do.
Oh well. We’ll see how this thing goes.1 comment