The Case Against Dustin Pedroia, MVP

JerseySenior Analyst INovember 18, 2008

The MVP voters made a wise choice yesterday, selecting Albert Pujols over Ryan Howard to be NL MVP. But today, they laid a real stinker by giving the AL award to Dustin Pedroia.

Look, don't get me wrong. The guy had a very solid season. Very solid. Most teams would love to have him.

But MVP? Really?

Pedroia finished second in the AL in batting average, which is very nice, but that alone does not make one worthy of MVP—and if it does, then Joe Mauer should have received the award.

But how about on-base percentage, a more telling statistic than batting average? Mauer was second in the league with a .413 percentage, but Pedroia slipped all the way to 11th, with a .376 mark. Very nice, but not quite atop the league leaders.

Pedroia slips to number 19 in slugging percentage, behind such great talents as Jason Giambi. Pedroia was similarly 18th in OPS. Pedroia also was not especially patient at the plate, walking a mere 50 times all season, good enough to tie for 46th in the league. I mean, 46th is not horrific, and walks are not the stat by which we measure the MVP, but it's worth noting.

But you know what's a helpful stat for measuring MVP? Home runs. And you know how many Pedroia had? 17. That's it. Tied for 43rd in the league. I know second basemen aren't "supposed" to hit home runs, but MVPs should. Pedroia played his role well, but why does that make him MVP-worthy?

Pedroia has 83 RBI. Just 83. Considering he was in the heart of the Red Sox order all year, at times batting cleanup, 83 is not good at all. It's only good enough for 27th in the league.

Pedroia was kinda fast. He stole 20 bases this year. That's nice, but it's not MVP quality. He was tied for 15th in the league. Pretty good, but not unbelievable.

Pedroia tied for the league lead in hits, which certainly helps his case, but he was also third in the league in at-bats, which helped that out a lot. Not to take away from his numbers, but had other players gotten more at-bats, they may have surpassed him.

Pedroia also led the league in runs, but that's arguably the weakest statistic in baseball. Runs are caused chiefly by the OTHER players in the lineup—Pedroia merely benefited from being on base when his teammates hit.

If anything, that should take away from his MVP candidacy, because it shows how good the rest of his team is. How could Pedroia be MVP if the rest of his team was so good? How "valuable" could he have been?

Speaking of Pedroia's teammates, how about Kevin Youkilis? Youk had 29 home runs, almost double Pedroia's output. He also had 115 RBI (30 more than Pedroia!), a .312 batting average, which is pretty damn good, and a .390 OBP, which was higher than Pedroia's. His .569 slugging percentage slaughtered Pedroia's .493 mark, and his OPS was 90 points higher.

So basically, Pedroia's own teammate had better numbers than he. Not only that, but Youkilis played three different positions for his team this year, adding to his own value. I don't think anyone should win MVP if he has an MVP-worthy teammate, especially when that very teammate had a better season!

Oh, and lest I forget: Two years ago, Derek Jeter put up numbers superior to Pedroia, yet lost out on the award to Justin Morneau, whom Pedroia edged this year. Jeter's numbers that year? .343 average, .417 OBP, 14 homers, 97 RBI (all from the unproductive two-hole—Jeter never got to bat cleanup like Pedroia), 34 stolen bases, .483 slugging percentage, .900 OPS, 118 runs, and 214 hits.

Jeter was superior to Pedroia in EVERY statistical category, save slugging percentage and home runs (a mere three fewer), but that wasn't enough to eclipse Morneau. Oh, and did I mention that Jeter plays shortstop, a more difficult position, and that he led the league in VORP that year?

If we learn from example, Pedroia should not have earned the MVP this year.

I'm sure a lot of people will call me a Red Sox hater and a biased fan, but stats aren't biased, and that's my entire argument. The numbers clearly show that Pedroia wasn't even the best player on his team, and that in previous years, players with better stats didn't win the award.

I would not be so livid if Youkilis had won—he actually deserves it. But Pedroia clearly does not, and I have the statistics to prove it.