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?