Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm not saying I'm qualified to be a baseball writer, but I'm definitely more qualified than at least one member of the BBWAA.

Sorry about not blogging this season. 2008 turned out to be a pretty busy year for me... got married, took a honeymoon, bought a house, adopted a puppy...

2008 was a fun season with a dull ending. (I'm cool with the Phillies winning, I just wonder how much longer we have to wait for a compelling World Series.) The postseason awards wrapped up today with the awarding of the American League Most Valuable Player award to Boston's Dustin Pedroia.

Although I would have given the award to either Joe Mauer or Carlos Quentin, I don't have a problem with Pedroia winning the MVP. If you look at the complete voting tally, though, there is one name clearly out of place on the list.

One member of the BBWAA decided that Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett was worthy of a fifth-place vote. Bartlett only appeared on the one delusional ballot, no doubt from one of the Tampa writers (he was after all named the Rays MVP by the Tampa chapter of the BBWAA despite being below league average for shortstops in nearly every offensive and defensive statisitical cetagory).

Now, I know statistics don't tell you everything, but the right statistics will tell you quite a bit. I know Bartlett's "arrival" and "stability at the shortstop position" was "the glue that held the Rays infield together" during their magical 2008 season... Hogwash.

I like Jason Bartlett. I thought he was a decent shortstop while with the Twins. He's a serviceable but unspectacular middle infielder. He has no business being anywhere near anybody's MVP ballot.

The best case I can make is a comparison:

Player A:
.286 BA, .329 OBP, .690 OPS, 1 HR, 37 RBI, 20 SB, 48 R
.970 Fielding Percentage, 4.10 Range Factor

Player B:
.284 BA, .344 OBP, .726 OPS, 2 HR, 28 RBI, 15 SB, 43 R
.973 FP*, 4.75 RF*

* = Player B's defensive numbers at SS. They'd be even better if you mixed in his games at 2B, 3B, and CF.

Player A is Jason Bartlett. Picked by one real-life voter as the fifth most valuable player in the American League.

Player B is Bartlett's eventual replacement in Minnesota, Nick Punto. I love Lil Nicky Punto, but there's a very good reason why, despite very similar, and actually slightly better numbers, Punto didn't receive any MVP votes.

Because he's Nick Fucking Punto.