MLB MVP Philosophy

Tyler StricklandContributor IISeptember 4, 2008

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Red Sox fan. If I was a card-carrying member of the BBWAA, I would have mailed in my ballot weeks ago, with our modern-day Hack Wilson incarnate's name punch-holed several times to ensure no hanging chads.

That being said, I want to discuss a few things that have bugged for years about how MVP and Cy Young picks are made.

Rob Neyer and Jayson Stark over at both had chat debates concerning the NL Cy Young and MVP awards. Many interesting points were made. One stuck out that I want to pin down.

Stark said that the Cy Young cannot be amalgamated with the MVP (which considers clutch performance, fundamentals, team chemistry, favorite movie, etc.). The debate highlighted a few contending team pitchers (CC Sabathia, Brandon Webb) and the woeful plight of pitching wunderkind Tim Lincecum.

The debate boiled down to whether a statistically (ERA, WHIP, VORP) superior pitcher could overcome being on a terrible team to win the award.

Stark says yes. I say no. Here's why.

Why shouldn't a pitcher be subject to the same scrutiny over intangibles? By that logic, there is no difference between John Rocker and Eric Gagne. Both were incredibly successful closers over a short period of time, but they are not the same player.

Without Lincecum, how bad would the Giants be? Awful. As it is, they're one of the worst teams in either league, and one losing streak away from being the universal cellar dweller. Without probably their most talented player, they would struggle to win 60 games.

With that in mind, are they much better right now? An every-fifth-day pitcher can't carry a team. If, however, the Diamondbacks lost Webb for the remainder of the season, they would be out of contention for the postseason. He is the difference between October baseball and October golf for their clubhouse.

This brings me to the AL MVP discussion. Pedroia's ship has been gaining steam on the back end of an absolutely ridiculous home-stand. His primary competition, Carlos Quentin of the White Sox, will finish in the top 5 of most power-minded offensive categories. His supporters would claim a second baseman with half as many home runs and 30 fewer RBI can't win the award.

Let us consider the VORP statistic and runs created. Pedroia leads Quentin in both categories, indicating that he's a more well-rounded hitter AND fielder. This has come also when the Red Sox most needed him.

They have been the most oft-injured team still competing, with extended absences from Dice-K, Beckett, Ortiz, Youkilis, Lugo, and the complete departure of Manny Ramirez.

Pedroia has been the rock. Quentin has hit in front of Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye, and has not produced as well down the stretch.

Will it be Quentin's fault if the White Sox don't make the playoffs? No, but it WILL be Pedroia's fault when the Red Sox play in October.