Manny For MVP?

Mike GerdwagenCorrespondent ISeptember 24, 2008

Is it possible to award an MVP to a player that has only been in the league for less than two months?

I say yes.

What about the same considerations for the Cy Young?

I don't think so. I believe the CY goes to a pitcher that exemplifies pitching all season long. The fact that he could also be a league MVP makes it that much more different. The MVP is given to a player that is thought to have contributed the most to his team and the league.

How does this relate to Manny Ramirez?

Right now, all the MVP buzz is mainly surrounding Ryan Howard. I have heard Albert Pujols' name thrown in but, one of the biggest knocks is his out-of-contention team. Now, I did some stat research, which is a very tangible way to see in ink, who is better. I first compiled what I thought to be the most important stats for a hitter. These include the regulars but I also threw in total bases, intentional walks, extra-base hits and avg. with RISP.

Since August 1st
G   AB  R   H   2b 3b  HR  RBI  BB  K   SB CS AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS  IBB XBH TB  RISP
50 181 36 72  14  0   17  53   34  36  2   0  .398 .491 .757 1.248 16   31  137 .465

Since August 1st
G   AB  R  H   2b  3b  HR  RBI  BB  K   SB CS  AVG OBP  SLG  OPS  IBB XBH TB  RISP
52 187 35 50 12   2   17  47   31  54  0   1  .278 .374 .656 1.029  7   31  117 .296

Since ALL-STAR Break
G   AB  R  H   2b  3b  HR  RBI  BB  K  SB  CS  AVG  OBP SLG  OPS  IBB XBH TB  RISP
63 237 40 64 13   2   19  58   33  67  0   1  .270 .358 .582 .940   8   34  138  .281

Now, what do all these numbers tell us?

The only statistic that Ryan Howard is leading Manny on since Ramirez's NL debut is triples.  Maybe it has to do with him hitting both at home in a very large and odd-shaped park. Dodger stadium's symmetry and Manny's speed aren't conducive to triples. Now, most of the Howard-Hype hasn't been for the last two months but rather since the All-Star break. So I decided to compare those numbers too. Turns out, the two are eerily similar. Howard leads, however only slightly in: runs, triples (see above), HR's, RBI, TB and extra base hits. Two HR's separate them in that same time span and that is the difference maker in the other stats. Subtract those two and Manny takes Howard on total bases and closes the gap on all the others. The most glaring stat in my mind is the avg with RISP. This is one of the most important stats for a hitter in baseball. Ramirez is approaching 50% and Howard almost to 30%. That can be huge, especially in the playoffs. Finally, the most interesting stat in my mind is the IBB. I was shocked that Ryan Howard only has 8 IBB since the break, 7 of which since the 1st of August. Manny has gotten a free pass 16 times in that span. Moreover, Ryan Howard only has one more intentional walk (17) all year long! What does that say about the intimidation factor at the plate. Yes, I guess the case can be made that the Dodger's have weaker support players behind Manny when comparing Burrell, Rollins or Utley to Kemp, Martin and Ethier. However, if I was managing a baseball game, I wouldn't want Manny's bat to hurt me.

Statistics aside, the other thing that makes for a great MVP in any sport, is the ability to make the others around you perform better. Raise the team bar up to your performance. This is the one knock on Albert Pujols. His great season doesn't equal playoffs. However, this is the reverse case for Tim Lincecum. I believe he should win the NL Cy Young. Lincecum is dominating games with a 17-5 record, 2.66 ERA and 252K's, all the while pitching on a team with a -119 run differential. This kid is doing it alone and shining brightly. In this case, Manny is not doing this on his own. Since he has come to L.A., other players are hitting more, the clubhouse chemistry is happy and loose, the ticket sales are through the roof and merchandise sales are gushing. The only thing that hasn't gone up is the pitching staff's ERA. The NBA recognizes players like Magic Johnson and the NHL does so in players like Wayne Gretzky. They both played exceptionally well but they also helped their teams grow and do better. They were leaders on their teams and made coming to work fun and less like a job. Am I comparing Manny to those two on the greatness scale? No, not just yet...although Manny will more than likely join those two in their respective halls with a bust of himself, bronze dreadlocks and all. Another coincidence? All 3 played for Los Angeles....and wearing the 99 can't hurt.


Manny Ramirez = National League M.V.P.