Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Not any Bad Sportswriter in Particular, but Bad Sportswriting in General

Three years ago, Joe Mauer hit .347 with a .429 on base percentage and a .507 slugging percentage. He did all this while playing gold glove defense at one of the most important positions on a baseball team.

In one of the most absurd outcomes in the history of the sport, Mauer finished 6 in the MVP race behind his teammate Justin Morneau--a man who, despite playing the least important position on the field, still failed to out-OPS Mauer. In fact, Morneau failed to do anything at all better than Mauer besides hit home runs and accumulate RBI (not that that has anything to do with the .429 OBP guy hitting in front of him in the lineup or anything).

Now it is 2009, and all cues indicate that Joe Mauer--having an even better season than his fantastic 2006--will lose out on the MVP to a similarly lighter-hitting RBI accumulater.

Let's look at these numbers:



Mark Teixeira:


Kendry Morales:


This shouldn't even be a conversation, but if history has taught us anything it's that Mauer can look forward to getting absolutely jobbed yet again.

Why am I writing this? For one, it involves dumb sportswriters (particularly the ones who voted Justin Morneau MVP in a season where he was probably the 4th most valuable player on his own team). For another thing, it's worth mentioning. People should, uh, be aware.

In any case, here it is (or was). Hope we all had a good time.


Bengoodfella said...

Yes, I could not agree with you more. I can't wait to see Tex with an MVP trophy after this year though. It will happen.

John Foley said...

I'm a huge Yankee fan who will be absolutely mortified if Teixeira scoops Mauer for this award. But then, it seems like they get this award wrong practically every year at this point. TWO for Juan Gonzales?

Anonymous said...

uh...dustin pedrioa anyone? wtf?

Tonus said...

Jeter could walk away with it as well.

If Mauer can't win after putting up absolutely preposterous numbers this year, he'll never win.

No, wait. He'll win a few years later, and some other guy OPSing 1.100 for a .500 club will get robbed instead. And you guys will have another article to rip apart. Sigh...

Elliot said...

Can we talk about the whole post-season award voting in general for a second?

It's not just MVP that ends up messed up because the sportswriters screw it up, it's virtually every other award that gets voted on by them.

Take the Rookie of the Year award: in 2007, virtually every single person outside of Milwauke--and apparently LA and NY--had picked Troy Tulowitzki (rightfully) for ROY. Instead of the award going to him, it went to Ryan Braun, who did happen to rack up a few more home runs (though 2 fewer RBI) than Tulo. Here we are two years later, and which player is having the biggest effect on their team? The answer is obvious based on the teams' position in the standings alone. Tulo is the captain of the infield (playing the toughest position in that infield) on the NL wild card leading Rockies, and Braun has moved out of the infield, and plays a pedestrian left field for the not-quite-there-yet Brewers.

Gold Gloves are another award that the sportswriters often screw up. Since many of them pay a pitiful amount of attention to the teams other than the ones that they cover for their local papers (or Dodgers/Cubs/Yankees/Red Sox if they work for ESPN) they only know players who perform well offensively. Hence, the higher the batting average or slugging, or HR totals, the more likely the player is to win a GG. Look at the last few years' GG award winners, and you'll start to see the pattern.

This wouldn't be that big of a deal, except for the fact that awards like these are what sportswriters themselves base HOF eligibility on. They make ridiculous errors in judgment when voting for these awards, but when it comes time to vote for HOF entrants, they point to those very same flawed awards as evidence (or lack thereof) of worthiness to enter Cooperstown.

If they place so much emphasis on post-season awards for entrance into the Hall, the least they could do is get them right. That, or just look at stats for HOF worthiness. Right now, the system is rigged to favor whoever the sportswriters like or don't like (or ignore) and that is nothing short of a travesty.

Fred Trigger said...

The gold glove is voted on by players and managers, not sportswriters. Although, I guess the players and managers dont really pay too much attention either, considering the palmeiro and jeter gold gloves.

Chris W said...


I've got to be honest--I'm not big on voting post playoffs for postseason awards, just because in that case it runs the risk of being ALL about the playoffs.

For instance, let's say there's a pitcher who over 35+ starts has a 2.80 ERA, 18 wins and 4 losses, 200+ k's and a 1.15 WHIP

Then there's another pitcher who over 35+ starts has a 3.50 ERA, 17 wins and 12 losses 150 k's and a 1.35 WHIP.

The first pitcher goes 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA in the postseason. The second pitcher is lights out, going 4-0 with 2 CG's and only 4 ER given up.

Does the second really deserve the Cy Young? But you know 100 times out of 100 the second would get it if they vote after the postseason.

Elliot said...

Fred - I honestly didn't know that. I obviously need better researchers on my crack team. I think that, even without the Gold Glove, my point is still valid though.

Chris - It depends on how you look at it. For me, it should be whoever had the best regular season, and if a player is particularly great in the post-season then they can be eligible for the playoff round MVP. I can see the argument being made that the playoffs should matter though--especially if two candidates are on playoff teams and had numbers like your hypothetical example. But when the difference is so obvious like it is in Mauer's case, the playoffs shouldn't be as big of a consideration.

Of course, that line of thinking doesn't sell.

pnoles said...

Sucks to be us, but Joe Mauer is awesome.

He'll be one of the 10 best New York Yankees of all time.

Xavier said...

Jeter is a much better MVP candidate than Teixiera. In fact, he's by far the best MVP candidate on a playoff team, behind only Zobrist and Mauer in WAR.

It SHOULD go to Mauer, but Jeter wouldn't be a terrible pick. Tex would.

Batting behind Jeter and Damon and in front of A-rod, Matsui and Posada is about the cushiest lineup spot this side of Philly.

William said...

And now Mariotti sent in a blank hall of fame ballot. The putz.