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Monday, November 17, 2008

Comments

Agree wholeheartedly.

Howard deserved the first one, and Rollins deserved it last year, but I can't say with anything closely resembling a straight face that this is Howard's award. He really shouldn't even be second.

You nailed it Jason.

If Howard wins, it proves (again?) that the MVP award is made of cardboard.

Over in the AL side, it's pretty sad when Dustin Pedroia is the leading candidate for MVP. Utley (same position) had a better year and won't get any first place votes.

Plus if Howard wins, it will just increase his asking price, and no one besides Howard wants that.

Agree with JW for the most part except the "who did more for the Phillies part". Yeah, Cole Hamels and Lidge and company all could be considered as valuable to the Phils as Howard, but what about offensively? Pitchers very rarely win MVP awards. Who offensively did more than Howard did this year? Rollins, not a chance. Utley? Well yeah, his first half, but for most of the season Chase, Late and Close, wasn't even mediocre. Howard made the most of his oppurtunites with RISP, drove in a ridiculous 22 more runs then the next closest person, David Wright, in the NL, and hit 8 more home runs then the next closest person, Adam Dunn. Isn't this what baseball is about anyway? You have to score runs to win and no one produces more runs than Ryan Howard does. I'm not saying he deserves it completely, but the field is pretty weak in the NL this year. It wouldn't be a bad pick if he were to win it.

Though I am a Phillies fan through and through, I will be rooting against Howard here to preserve the integrity of the MVP Award. No way he deserves it with the inconsistency he displayed this year.

Utley (same position) had a better year and won't get any first place votes.

I don't know what that has to do with anything. and Utley shouldn't get any first place votes with the season Pujols had.

Pedroia had a very good season and would be a fine choice as MVP--a lot better than Howard would be in the NL. Youkilis really should win it, though.

I don't see how it can be argued that any single person has been more valuable to a team in the National League than Brad Lidge.

I understand that position players are favored in an MVP race, but in 2008, there was no position player that had an impact on a team that was more valuable than what Brad Lidge brought to the Phillies throughout the entire season. He didn't have a "hot streak". He had a hot year that was largely responsible for his team winning the NL East and the World Series.

I highly doubt that he'll get it, but I think that he's more deserving than anyone else who does.

Baumer: I don't get that though. Why would it mess with the integrity of the award? Who besides Pujols could you say deserves? And Pujols' team, as JW pointed out, finished FOURTH in their division. Again, I'm not saying Howard really deserves it all that much, but come on, stop acting like this is a strong field. There are no Holiday's or Rollins from last year, Pujols from 05 who led a team to the playoffs, no ridiculous Barry Bonds numbers this year. That's the fact, it was a weak year. Therefore, I don't understand how Howard winning the award would be shameful or dispute the integrity of the award in any way. Yes, he is a weak candidate, but in a weak field.

Who offensively did more than Howard did this year? Rollins, not a chance. Utley? Well yeah, his first half, but for most of the season Chase, Late and Close, wasn't even mediocre.

this just makes no sense. bringing up Rollins is just a straw man; totally irrelevant. Utley had a far better season, and even when he slumped in the second half he was infinitely better than first half Howard. I don't know why you're talking about late & close splits since Utley's numbers are better than Howard's (.701 vs .643 OPS).

and then there's the fact that Utley is an excellent baserunner and Howard is, well, not. and Utley plays good defense at an important position while Howard plays poor defense at a much less important position.

look, good for Howard for hitting the hell out of the ball in September. you win player of the month for that, it certainly doesn't excuse the fact that he was practically dead weight for most of the season.

Indiana Sarge is right.

This wouldn't be some unprecedented disgrace should Ryan Howard win the award. He only happened to lead the world in HR and RBI. I know, I know... those stats don't mean anything anymore so we shouldn't consider them.

Let's start by throwing out the pitchers. They don't win except in the most extrordinary of circumstances and really only in the absense of a legitimate offensive candidate.

So when looking for a hitter to win the award, you really have just two. Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard. Howard dominated the easy to understand stats... the glamour stats... and lead his team to the playoffs. Albert Pujols had a significantly more dominant offensive year, but his team failed to make the playoffs.

Sorry, this isn't Player of the Year award... which Pujols would win hands down. This is Most Valuable Player. It's not just a coincidence that the Phils had their most successful month record-wise just as Ryan Howard had his most successful month at the plate.

Lastly... Albert Pujols says the MVP should only go to a player on a playoff team.

Indiana Sarge, you totally sound like the sterotypical MVP voter. apparently you're paying no attention at all to anything except for HR and RBI.

Albert Pujols had an absolutely incredible season. he was, by far, the best hitter in baseball. .357/.462/.653--those are Ted Williams, Stan Musial numbers. it would be a total joke if Howard won the MVP because he had one good month and wasn't even close to the best player on his own team.

By the way... my MVP vote would go to Albert Pujols. His team was in contention much of the year and that was primarily due to Pujols' greatness. He's the best player in baseball and he had a tremendous year.

But a vote for Ryan Howard isn't disgraceful, as some have suggested.

and Brad Lidge had a great year, but please. he's not an MVP by any stretch of the definition.

well, I don't think it's disgraceful, that's certainly too strong a word for a meaningless trophy that nobody's going to care at all about in five or ten years.

but really, Howard does not at all deserve the MVP this year. honestly, you don't even need to look at any kind of advanced statisticis: .251/.333/.543 is all you need to see. that's Rob Deer.

ae: I understand what you are saying... but context matters... and it REALLY matters to a lot of MVP voters.

This wouldn't be the first year, and it won't be the last, that an MVP award was won in September.

When the month started, we were 2 games behind the Mets and 6 behind the Brewers in the loss column. On Sept. 4th, we were 3 games behind the Mets.

In the month of September, we made up 8 games on the Brewers and 5 games on Mets. Ryan Howard was a MASSIVE part of that.

Again, context matters. If voters attach that success... success that lead directly to a division title... to Ryan Howard's bat, it may be worth a lot more than Pujols' 2008 OPS. And, since Ryan Howard lead the league in HR and RBI (by a wide margin), there is at least the illusion of season-long success.

ae: The Phillies were 88-0 in the regular season when they had a lead after 8 innings. That is exceptional. That says something for Lidge and his 41/41 save rate in 2008.

Of course, the voters for this award are part of the same group that voted for an ineligible Edinson Volquez for rookie of the year.

So who knows what we'll get here...

JW:
I don't have a problem with Pujols winning the MVP over Howard, who struggled offensively and defensively for large parts of 2008 while Pujols had a complete season.

However, I think you're short selling Howard's putting the team on his back in September, there's not many guys who can/will do that, I don't care who the games were against. The man does his best work in September, that's not a bad thing. He also played better in the field at crunch time. What I'm saying is there aren't many athletes who can consistantly step it up under pressure. It's a rare quality.


Well stated! Howard needs to do much better with both his batting average and glove if he expects to be named MVP.

http://www.phightinphils.com

"it would be a total joke if Howard won the MVP because he had one good month and wasn't even close to the best player on his own team."


Agreed.

Just to give you an idea of the relative impact these two players have on a team, imagine switching Howard and Pujols.

If Pujols had been on the 2008 Phillies, and visa-versa, where would the teams have finished?

The Cards dropped from contention because of injuries to other players. That doesn't make Pujols any less valuable.

In 2006 I though Howard deserved it because the season he had was just so overwhelming. I've never agreed with the argument that the MVP needs to come from a playoff team.

This year, Pujols is the more deserving candidate.

What I don't get is why people get so worked up about this. MVP is, by definition, a subjective call. There is no objective way to measure a player's "value" to his team.

Personally, I think that Lidge was the most valuable player to his team - but Howard is as worthy of consideration as anyone. The dude put the team on his back an carried them into the playoffs. That means he was indispensably valuable to his team.

As CJ says above, this isn't the Player of the Year Award. If it were - Pujols should be the winner hands down. But what kills me is how people ignore the obviously subjective nature of the award and act as if a comparison of year-long stats is the only valid metric.

AWH: Who knows... maybe the Cards make the playoffs with Ryan Howard at first base instead of Pujols. Frankly, it's impossible to say. That argument is kinda meaningless because no one knows how the players would produce in those alternate situations.

My goodness... I agree with phlipper. I must now re-evaluate my stance.

Jason is right. Howard was just too streaky, he's an amazing but still incomplete player. And the fact that this team could win the WS without a huge postseason contribution from Howard really confirms for me that he's not the MVP.

CJ - if clout posts in agreement also, I'm not leaving the house today; too high a probability of getting struck by lightening.

MPN: if Eric Gagne couldn't win an MVP for his 2003 season, I don't think Lidge should for 2008...

There's something objectionable on its face in giving the MVP trophy to a player whose playing time was but a minute fraction of the total number of innings played. Brad Lidge had a wonderful year, was immensely valuable. But his mission was to get three outs and maintain a lead--he already had the lead! And those three final outs sometimes weren't the "most important" outs--or at least, they weren't necessarily the most difficult.

On Howard, plainly he shouldn't win.

totally true Klaus...now if you wanted to (or could) give The Entire Phillies Bullpen the 2008 NL MVP, there's a better argument there.

ae: First, the 2003 Dodgers finished second in the NL West with a record of 85-77. Second, Lidge made 31 other appearances this year besides his saves, and not all of these appearances were getting in work. In September, for instance, he closed out 4 games that the Phillies' led by 4 runs. In other words, I wouldn't get wrapped up in the Gagne individual achievement when clearly Lidge was decisive to this team's success.

I said Pujols was the MVP before the playoffs and I still say Pujols is MVP. That is no slight to Ryno.

"But what kills me is how people ignore the obviously subjective nature of the award and act as if a comparison of year-long stats is the only valid metric."

So if this was a comparison of year-long stats, you'd agree that Pujols should win, right? I can't see any way (outside of shouting "HOME RUNS!! RBI!!!") that you'd see otherwise.

If it's more than that, I'm curious about how we determine value. When comparing Howard to Pujols, how do you isolate their value to the teams? You'd have to eliminate the pitching (which is an area where the Phillies had the advantage). You'd also have to eliminate the supporting cast (which again, the Phillies probably have the advantage).

Based on that (which is in my opinion, of course), it seems like the only way to give the award to Howard is to reward him for having a better supporting cast & pitching staff.

Am I missing another way of looking at this?

stjoehawk: Yes, you are. Context. Which is purely subjective. Was the way a player accumulated his stats more essential to a team's success than another player?

Read Bill James' book "Win Shares" to see how often the wrong guy wins the award. Schmidt, Yaz, Ted Williams (!), Mays, Mantle all lost several they should've won.

Howard will probably win on HR/RBI, and won't desrve to.

No question Utley remains the most valuable Phillie, and Pujols the NL MVP.

ae: Whoa, first of all in both my above posts I said Howard probably doesn't deserve the award, I would also vote for Pujols. My point is how people think it would be crazy or wrong or discredit the MVP award if Howard won. He led the majors in home runs and RBIs. He did more than anyone to get his team in the playoffs in September. Was he frustrating to watch, wildly inconsistent, and struck out like m'effer? Hell yeah. But at the end of the day no one puts up better run producing numbers than Howard does. Now, it all depends on what your voting standards are for the voters. I once again, believe Pujols deserves it, he had great numbers. But it would not be a crime or an awful thing if Howard, who was on a playoff team and led the league 2 of the more important run producing stats by a large number, was to beat out Pujols, who played for a 4th place team in his own division. It's a weak field, Ryan Howard didn't have a great year but might of had a good enough year to win the MVP. It's not that crazy to think that.

Now, if Delgado were to win the MVP, that would be ludicrous. Remember those Met trolls who really thought he had a chance, hehe, good old Mets trolls.

To extend my remarks (hit post too soon), I think the case is as straightforward as ae presents it: .251/.333/.543.

phlipper and CJ seem to imply that the September's games are more valuable than April, May, June July, August's. And yet the only reason Howard was in a position to "carry the team" into the postseason (and perhaps he did) was because certain other players were contributing and making the team competitive. If the entire lineup had performed as Howard had for the first five months than Howard's magnificent Sept. would have been all for naught, because the team would have been battling the Braves for fourth.

You shouldn't be able to neuter an MVP candidate by bringing in a LOOGY. That's all I'm gonna say.

Though Pujols did only hit .333 against righties this year...Pathetic considering he hit .411 against lefties. His OPS was above 1.000 against both lefties and righties though.

Heres my thinking why Pujos will get the award - even though I believe he deserves it - Between Howard and Lidge they should split votes, not like 2 years ago when it was strictly Howard against Pujos. I believe Pujos will win in landslide

Klaus: I'm not trying to imply anything.

September games are more important. When you are in a playoff hunt, the closer you get to elimination, the more important the game becomes. Just ask the New York Mets.

Should we discount all of Ryno's stats from the 7th inning on? Those innings are played merely for exhibition purposes anyway and do not affect the standings...

Pujols wins the MVP, Howard should gripe that the MVP should have to come from a playoff team.

control: "He also played better in the field at crunch time."

I do not believe that to be true. I remember him booting plenty of ground balls at important times.

"Was the way a player accumulated his stats more essential to a team's success than another player?"

Is that the same as saying that Ryan Howard has more value because he was pretty pedestrian (by MVP standards) for the first 5 months of the season, requiring a huge finish?

If he had been the same player in each month (giving him the same totals as he actually had in 2008) & the Phillies ended with the same record, would that change the context?

Additionally, based on the context, would that mean that Manny and/or CC should be included as well?

I will not be upset if Pujols wins it. He deserves. So do Howard. It's fair to say that if Howard doesn't have the Sept. he had, maybe the Phils don't make the playoffs. The same can be said of Lidge. If he's not perfect, well who knows. But pitchers have their own awards.

Everyone knows what kind of player Pujols is. So you can make a case for either player and you could also argue against the winner.

Did anyone notice this: "Scott Proefrock, the Orioles director of baseball administration, has been hired by the Philadelphia Phillies as an assistant general manager."

Anyone have any info on him?

NEPP: True, but then again teams were able to negate Howard and Utley late with LOOGYs. But Howard still batted .320 with RISP, so who cares when he drives in the runs. If the Phillies are able to jump out to a big lead early and Ryan Howard is the main contributor, then it's just as good. Once again, in the run producing categories, Howard was a monster. And you need runs to win.

NEPP~

I did see that but I have no idea who he is. My guess he's the guy who accepted waht the Phils were offering monety-wise.

Did anyone notice this: "Scott Proefrock, the Orioles director of baseball administration, has been hired by the Philadelphia Phillies as an assistant general manager."

T.S. Eliot mavens are pleased.

Sorry for the typos. I meant "my guess is" and "money-wise". But he could be a "Monty-wise" guy after all. (LOL).

Oh how the hell can you say Howard is in a two-horse race with Pujols?

stjoehawk: As pointed out before, I believe by EFF, Howard had an awful first month, but then batted .266 with 43 home runs with 134 RBIs. I know, I know, those stats don't mean much to most here, but those are some pretty hefty stats from May on.

I wont be upset if Howard wins and I wont be upset if Pujols wins. In my heart though I know that Pujols probably deserves it more.

Considering that Pujols had the better 2nd half than Howard anyway...Post AS numbers:

Howard: 20 HR, 62 RBI, .276 AVG, .954 OPS
Pujols: 19 HR, 66 RBI, .366 AVG, 1.162 OPS

There's pretty much no statistic in which Howard outperformed Pujols.

Does anyone think the MVP voters will remember Pujols cry-baby act in 2006 when Howard won MVP over him? Think that will influence any votes either way?

Pujols hit significantly better than Howard with RISP. The difference in RBI is all attributable to a difference in RBI opportunities.

So, I keep seeing that we're interested in RHP Juan Cruz who's a Type A free agent with the DBacks. Why would we forfeit a draft pick for another righty reliever unless we were gonna trade Ryan Madson? As we already have Madson and Durbin, there's no point to give up that much unless they were looking to move someone and Madson is the logical one to move.

Could you imagine our lineup with Pujols instead of Howard...we'd have been unstoppable with that type of bat in the lineup...no double LOOGY, no brutal strikeout...no neuter via the shift.

stjoehawk: Actually... the rules themselves discount CC's and Ramirez's chances. Games played is a consideration.

"control: "He also played better in the field at crunch time."

I do not believe that to be true. I remember him booting plenty of ground balls at important times."

BG,
My perception was that as the pennant race wound into September, Howard stepped up his intensity/performance both in the field and at the plate. He may have booted some balls in September, but he also started picking grounders he wasn't getting earlier, ranging way into right field foul territory for pop-ups, etc. His throws to second and elsewhere remained an issue. Howard is at best adequate at fielding his position, but he showed some improvement. I hope he coninues to work on it.

TO AMARO: Don't be Ed Wade...no Type A relievers please.

From May 10th to the end of the season, Ryan Howard hit:

.274/.355/.603 with 42 HR and 129 RBI in 125 games.

That's not to say the first 37 games don't matter... and that's not to say that even those numbers match Pujols' OPS. But they're not exactly pedestrian either.

I would vote for Albert Pujols... but I do not think the gap between the two is as large as some suggest.

Still don't understand the whole Pujols vs. Howard argument for the MVP. In 2006, you could make a valid argument that Howard was the MVP due to his profilic offensive numbers. This year isn't even close. Pujols had the better offensive year and brings other things to the plate (glove, baserunning) that Howard doesn't. Howard is a very good player but he didn't have an MVP-caliber season in 2008.

Pujols is definitely the MVP. Shouldn't be that close of a vote really. Albert played at an MVP level all year, Howard played like an MVP for one month.

Not to pick on phlipper, who seems rather young and unschooled, but this statement:

"There is no objective way to measure a player's "value" to his team"

flies in the face of many years of SABR research. In fact, Baseball Prospectus' VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) aims to do exactly that, and if it's not an exact science, it sure as hell isn't guesswork. It takes into account defensive position, park factors, just about everything it can find a stat for.

Here's the rundown of the "most valuable" position players in the NL by that metric (I won't list the scores because they need too much explanation for the time I have):

1. Pujols
2. Hanley RAmirez
3. Chipper
4. Berkman
5. WRight
6. Jose Reyes
7. Utley
8. Holliday
9. Beltran
10. Ludwick
11. McCann
12. Manny (yes, in half a season)
13. McLouth
14. A. Ramirez
15. Carlos Lee
16. A. Gonzalez
17. Braun
18. Rollins
19. Stephen Drew
20. Uggla
...
30. Howard

Not No. 1, or 2, or 10, or 20. Number 30, and well behind two other everyday Phillies.

Sorry, loyalists, but a Howard victory would indeed be a joke.

ESPN has their MVP picks up. They have Pujols winning with 17 votes from their writers. Howard got 7 votes. Manny, CC and Berkman get 1 vote each.

Alby, no Burrell there either.

Juan Cruz is actually pretty good, but yeah, he's probably not worth signing if he's a Type A. You don't give up high draft picks for relievers when their performance fluctuates so much year to year.

Alby: So why don't they just give the award to the player with the highest VORP every year?

Anyone know if they'll have the MVP press conference on Comcast like they did last year?

MVP isn't an OPS contest

The worst time on beerleaguer: When the "stat guys" and the "VORP and OPS are for losers" types battle it out, and nothing is accomplished. Let me know when this ends.

Jack: Well, some of us still exist in the middle ground. :-)

Ok well if you are choosing an MVP by VORP, OPS+, win shares, and all these fancy stats that really supposedly matter, then yes it would be a joke if Howard were to win the MVP then I would assume. But since Ryan Howard demolished the competition in RBIs and HRs and his team made the playoffs, it would not be a joke if he were to indeed win the MVP award.

If we gave the MVP award based on VORP, people like Stephen Drew, Nate McLouth, Brian McCann, Jose Reyes, Dan Uggla and Chipper Jones would finish ahead of Ryan Howard. Excuse me, but that would be a joke.

Jack: so basically the worst time on here is basically when clout is on?

OPS is fine, I just don't like when its the only metric being used.

baxter: Exaccctly! Yes Pujols and other players may have better OPS+'s and whatnot, but why are people acting like Howard didn't lead the MAJOR LEAGUE in big power categories by a wide margin. It has to be balanced out, and when you balance it out, Pujols should still probably win the MVP award. But Howard being in contention and possibly winning the award is not out of the question nor is it illogical.

I guess I just don't understand why making the playoffs is a criteria for winning the MVP.

Suppose Ryan Howard had the exact same season on the Washington Nationals. Should he win the MVP? He still led the league in HR & RBI, and he still had a HUGE September.

"So why don't they just give the award to the player with the highest VORP every year?"

We don't, and I'm not arguing we should. I'm arguing that there's a big difference between No. 2 and No. 30. Much of this discussion assumes a two-player race. The point isn't that Nate McLouth is more valuable than Ryan Howard, though last season the evidence is that he was. It's that Nate McLouth, and a couple of dozen people like him, had better FULL seasons than Howard did.

Baxter: OPS is a rather crude stat.

stjoehawk: No, because context matters. I can't believe how many times I need to repeat that.

There's a reason that very few players on losing teams have won the MVP award even when their stats were better than the winner.

If you don't think different pressures exist in the midst of a playoff chase than on a team playing out the string, than you've likely never played sports before.

Alby: Just checking... do you believe Nate McClouth is a more worthy MVP candidate than Ryan Howard?

The playoff consideration will always factor into the decision, because its not an award for the "best player", its for the "most valuable". There could be a perception that great stats are "wasted" on teams that don't reach the post-season. It doesn't help that the Cardinals were decent, because that just means they were close enough for Pujols to carry them to the playoffs. With a few clutch hits by Pujols down the stretch, the Cards could've passed the Brewers. I'm not subscribing to this rationale, but I wouldn't be surprised if a couple writers did.

"why are people acting like Howard didn't lead the MAJOR LEAGUE in big power categories by a wide margin. ... Howard being in contention and possibly winning the award is not out of the question nor is it illogical."

For what it's worth, leading the league in HR and RBI usually is a prime indicator for winning the MVP. By the same token, such awards are one of the principle reasons the SABR movement got started -- people who follow the game closely could see that some skills were overvalued and others undervalued by the general public.

St. Louis Cardinals star Albert Pujols has won
his second National League Most Valuable Player award.
Pujols won by a comfortable margin over Philadelphia slugger
Ryan Howard. Milwaukee's Ryan Braun was third and Los Angeles
outfielder Manny Ramirez came in fourth after playing just two
months with the Dodgers.
Pujols hit .357 with 37 home runs and 116 RBIs despite playing
much of the season with a sore right elbow. The Cardinals finished
fourth in the NL Central.
The St. Louis baseman got 18 of the 32 first-place votes. He
also won the award in 2005.

I have tons of respect for Pujols, and for SABR numbers as well, but baxter's comment is simple and to the point.

If there is a number that I think trumps them all, it is RBIs. That's how you win, by having more runs across than the other guys. There is no better run producer than Ryan Howard over the last three years, and it wasn't even close this year. I will happily keep Ryan Howard's lower OPS and BA and high strike outs if he's going to keep knocking in guys at this impressive rate. In the end the only number that matters is the score

Guys argue VORP, EQA, OPS+ and those are great measuring sticks (particularly for trades and FAs) but in the end you play to win, and I agree with Pujols that the MVP should come from a playoff team.

Ryan's team won a pennant and WS, and Albert's team did not. Whatever the other numbers, Howard hit 30 more RBIs that Pujols and that # of runs could easily represent the difference between the two teams records.

All that aside.. I think that the vote should go to Lidge. Very simply, if he had K-Rod's record setting year then the Phillies would not have even made the playoffs. Too many blown saves. In fact if he were almost any other closer than the perfect one the Phillies saw this year, the Phillies don't make the playoffs. That's value and if you think that it's too few innings to be the most important to a team then go talk with some Mets fans.

Wait a second- do you really believe Nate McLouth was more valuable than Ryan Howard? I'm sure you could put together and excel doc to support your case, but in a World Series Championship season, the Phillies wouldn't have made the playoffs without Howard's contribution down the stretch. Howard might not deserve the MVP, but he's certainly in the top 5.

In case you didn't read the full AP story:

Albert Pujols wins NL MVP.

Press Conference will be on mlb.com at 2

Lol to late getting that in. Please adjust mentally to the past tense. :)

Alby, your post exemplifies, exactly, what's wrong with stat geeks.

"Value" by definition, is a subjective evaluation. That's exactly why, no doubt, Howard will receive more MVP votes than any but one of the 29 people ahead of him on your list. People who have spent their entire lifetime watching and arguing about and evaluating baseball players have differing takes on the "value" of a given player.

Stat geeks think that VORP measures some objective truth. Obviously, it doesn't. It is an interesting measure, but in merely offers one window into evaluating a player.

What is ironic is that people who believe that SARBRmetrics measure some objective reality about baseball are completely off base, from a statistical analysis viewpoint. SABRmetrics are useful, but insufficient as some absolute evaluation.

*an not and

Was just reading over the posts and I was struck by the change in tone since September. Seems to me that, when we were having this same debate around mid-September, Howard was getting a lot more love. He didn't have the greatest post-season and I think phans are letting that sway them -- even though voting takes place before post-season starts.

I've been consistent from Day 1: Pujols is the only candidate for MVP. Howard would be a ridiculous choice. If Howard wins, he would be the first MVP ever who was more of a liability than an asset for at least 50% of the season.

CJ: No. I'm saying McLouth had a better season than Howard. Not the same thing.

My point, again, is that I can understand elevating someone in the top 5, or top 10, based on his contributions to a playoff berth. But the 30th-best player in the league is the most valuable, despite two teammates having statistically better season? Sorry, that's a justification too far for me.

The discussion about MVP for this year is okay, but I think we all ought to be pleased about 2009 MVP. The Phils have three legitimate contenders for the honor next year in Howard, Rollins and Utley. Any one of them might take it next year, and I don't know of any other team that can say that.

Lazarus: The flaw in that argument is that a player's RBI opportunities is often tied to the number of times they come to the plate with runners on... or runners in scoring position.

Ryan Howard had 483 players on base in front of him... Albert Pujols had just 436.

In fact, Howard had 58 more runners in scoring position than Pujols did but finished with just 30 more RBI.

Congrats to Pujols, he deserved it. Go get 'em next year Ryno.

Alby: Do you believe the Phils lineup would have been better with McClouth in it instead of Ryan Howard?

Phlipper: Sorry, but you're chasing your tail. I'm no stat geek; I can't be bothered working the math. But you really ought to read up on it before declaring it "completely off base." That's not a refutation, that's a dismissal, and I frankly don't think you know what you're talking about. You're simply trying to justify your own ignorance. Have fun stewing in that tepid bathwater.

So.. if those numbers are correct, CJ then Ryan Howard drove in 4% more guys in front of him than Pujols.

Murphy had a better stat today regarding RBIs. Who drives in a higher percentage of the teams runs? Regardless of opportunity or total runs a team might score

"Howard drove in 18.3 percent of his team's runs. Pujols drove in 14.9 percent of his team's runs."

That's fairly significant. It's hard to do that when you are liability 50% of the year.

Pujols should have been the MVP. But Howard was a well deserved second place.

"Do you believe the Phils lineup would have been better with McClouth in it instead of Ryan Howard?"

False argument. One plays CF, the other 1B, which is something VORP corrects for. The better point is that the Phils lineup would have been better with McLouth in it than Victorino. According to VORP, Howard ranked 6th among 1B, behind Pujols, Berkman, Gonzalez, Fielder and Delgado. Teixera would have ranked ahead of him had he played the whole season in the NL.

Don't argue with me -- I'm reporting what this sophisticated metric says about the value of various players in the 2008 season. If you have questions on the methodology, Baseball Prospectus makes its VORP information available to all.

But those who are arguing against the legitimacy of this, and by extension other, metrics are exposing nothing beyond their own ignorance.

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