• The A.L. MVP

    Posted by on September 22nd, 2005 · Comments (5)

    In defense of Alex Rodriquez’ chances for the A.L. MVP, I want to share two things that I think those in the “David Ortiz for MVP” camp are missing.

    The first item that RSN likes to point to, in favor of their Big Papi, is his “clutch” performance.

    But, what is clutch? I think most would say that it’s batting with runners on (RISP). Many in RSN think no one is better than Ortiz in the clutch. However, Ortiz is not even the best clutch hitter on the Sox.

    As of today, John Olerud is batting .404 w/RISP. Manny Ramirez is batting .351 w/RISP. What about Ortiz? He’s batting .345 w/RISP. That’s not only below some of his teammates, but, it’s less than Gary Sheffield, Michael Young, Mark Kotsay, Mark Teixeira and Travis Hafner in the AL. In fact, the Tigers’ Rondell White has a higher batting average, right now, than Ortiz, w/RISP.

    Now, some others like to point to “late and close” ABs w/RISP. So, where is Big Papi in that stat? Well, as of today, he’s behind Vladimir Guerrero, Raul Ibanez, Mark Kotsay, and Victor Martinez (among others). In fact, as of this morning, Ortiz has the same batting average in “late and close” situations as the Yankees Hideki Matsui (.338).

    So, is David Ortiz the best clutch hitter in the game today? No. He’s very good. But, he’s not the best.

    Therefore, to say that Ortiz should get the award because he’s head and shoulders above everyone else in the clutch is not true.

    Is Big Papi better than A-Rod in the clutch? Yes, he is better. But, so is Manny Ramirez (in terms of batting average w/RISP). And, Manny has a better number here than Ortiz too. Should Manny then get the MVP? Why don’t we hear that from RSN?

    Secondly, in defense of those who say that Ortiz should not win the award because he is a DH, many in RSN like to say that no DH has ever had a season with the bat, on a winner, like Big Papi has this season.

    This is 100% untrue. In 1995, Edgar Martinez (the DH) of the Seattle Mariners was by far the best hitter in the league. In fact, Martinez’ 1995 season was probably the best season (in terms of relative batting value) by a RH batter in the AL since 1941. And, his team won their division and made it to the ALCS.

    And, who won the AL MVP in 1995? Mo Vaughn (the 1B) of the Boston Red Sox. (Edgar finished a distant 3rd in the voting.) Why? Probably because Mo was a position player who hit a lot of HRs and had many RBI for a team that won.

    Doesn’t that sound a lot like Alex Rodriguez?

    Comments on The A.L. MVP

    1. Philly Phil
      September 22nd, 2005 | 12:28 pm

      It boils down to a few simple points:

      1) at face value- the offensive numbers are very similar. For every advantage to Papi- you can counter with an advantage for A-Rod. A-Rod does lead in Hits, OBP, and of course SB’s because Ortiz is big and fat.

      2) Clutch? Sure- Ortiz has had many sportscenter moments in the 9th inning. But A-Rod has had just as many in the 4th and 5th inning…maybe not as sexy- but still effective. Maybe A-Rods HR’s in the 4th and 5th inning prevented the Yankees from needing that dramatic HR in the 8th or 9th inning?

      3) Defense- on the radio, RSN keeps bringing up this question-”how many runs has A-Rod saved at third base? add those up and add them to his RBI total- I bet Ortiz is still ahead” To me- that is a completely absurd argument. You can’t put an accurate value on that. Sure – there are obvious ones (like last night with tying runner on third)…but there are the less obvoious ones where he makes a play with none on and none out..then the next two reach base…how can you accurately measure the runs “saved?”

      Either way- the award is “Most Valuable”- not best hitter. The fact that A-Rods 2005 resume includes a possible gold glove (yes- I think he deserves it over Chavez this year) should be enough. GOLD GLOVE people….we’re not talking about a sub-par fielder like, say Edgar Renteria.

      Then again- a team has never come back from 3-0 in the CS until 2004…so why not have a red sox DH win the MVP in 2005?

    2. rbj
      September 22nd, 2005 | 12:33 pm

      What about getting your team ahead early, so you don’t need to worry about late & close? Of course, the Yankees do seem to play a lot of late and close games too.

    3. hopbitters
      September 22nd, 2005 | 2:45 pm

      If those clutch, come-from-behind in the late innings HRs make Ortiz the MVP, then Papi will need to buy Timlin a new Rolex for setting up all those heroics by blowing their lead in the 6th. Maybe that’s why Torre keeps putting Embree in. He’s just trying to bolster A-Rod’s MVP chances.

    4. Jon
      October 13th, 2005 | 9:47 am

      How did you yankee fans like watching the 9th inning of game 5 with Jeter on base and A-Fraud up at bat? Who would you rather have had up right then? Your dog or our Papi? If you answered A-Fraud then you need to stop lying to yourselves that this guy is not a cancer.

    5. October 13th, 2005 | 10:40 am

      Big Papi would have had a hard time batting in that spot – he was already at least 3 days into his winter vacation.

      Jon – a question. Would you have wanted Ted Williams, in his prime, up in that spot? Based on his career numbers, the answer would be yes. Based on his career post-season numbers, you would say no.

      What someone does in the post-season should not, and does not, impact his value during the regular season.

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