If this is the 20th article you have read about the AL MVP race featuring Joe Mauer and Derek Jeter, you should do two things:
1) Stop reading this article. As much as I like people reading my articles, don't suffer through yet another analysis of this topic. Unless you want to read it, then, of course, I am not stopping you.
2) Vary your reading topics on b/r.
Now that you made it all the way over here, let's get to the dirty work, shall we?
Derek Jeter is having one of the best seasons of his career. The 35-year-old shortstop is batting .329 with 17 home runs, 64 RBI and 26 steals. His 102 runs in 2009 make it the 12th-straight season Jeter has compiled 100 or more runs, which is quite a feat—even if you ask a Red Sox fan.
Joe Mauer is also having one of the best seasons of his career.
Scratch that. The best season of his career.
Mauer is on pace for his third career batting title, hitting a Tony Gwynn-like .373. His 28 home runs and 88 RBI are career highs, and his 88 runs scored are the most for the Minnesota Twins this season.
Now that you have some background information, let's start the arguments.
The biggest argument going for Jeter is that he scores more runs than Mauer.
But does he score more runs than Mauer?
I created a system that I use to determine the run-producing ability of a player based on his plate appearances.
To figure the effectiveness, I add up the runs and RBI of the player, then subtract the amount of home runs from the player. That number is then divided by the amount of plate appearances, and that is your RPA of a player.
For all you math folks out there, here it is in mathematical terms, sort of:
((R+RBI-HR) / PA)=RPA
Let's do Jeter first.
Jeter has 102 runs, 64 RBI and 17 home runs. Do the math, and you've got 149 as your number. Divide that by his plate appearances, 661 of them, and you then have .225416, which for our purposes is .225.
Let's look at Mauer.
Mauer has 87 runs, 88 RBI and 28 home runs, which makes the first number 146. Divide that by 526 and Mauer has an RPA of .2775665, which for our purposes is .278.
It's true that Mauer doesn't have as many runs scored as Jeter does, but you also have to factor in that Mauer has almost 150 fewer plate appearances than Jeter.
What the stat shows us is that Mauer produces runs much more often than Jeter does.
I don't want to make this too statistical. After all, the award is the Most VALUABLE Player, emphasis on the valuable.
If you don't know (and if you don't, don't feel bad because some of the people who vote for this award don't know it either), the MVP is given to the player that means the most to their team.
Jeter is a fantastic player and a huge asset to the Yankees. But if Jeter missed the whole season of 2009, the Yankees would still be a 90-win playoff-contending team.
Even with Mauer, the Twins are just four games over .500 and two games out of the AL Central lead. If Mauer were to miss the season, the Twins' hopes would have been diminished long ago.
Speaking of valuable, Mauer's run production, as you have seen, is higher than Jeter's. Yet the Twins have scored 100 runs less than the Yankees, which indicates that Mauer has been much more valuable to his team.
I am not in any way indicating that Jeter doesn't mean anything to the Yankees. I watch Yankees games all the time and own Jeter memorabilia, so don't think I am trashing Jeter.
But it shows that Mauer has meant more to the Twins than Jeter has to the Yankees, and it is for that reason Mauer will be the 2009 AL MVP.