Reflection of the 2008 American League MVP: Why The Writer's Got it Wrong!
Dustin Pedroia?!? Oh, COME ON!
Now Pedroia had a fine season. The Red Sox would have been a worse team without him, but can't the same be said for almost any of the top five or six MVP candidates? In fact, with a cast of Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, and J.D. Drew, it could be argued that Pedroia had it easier then the rest of the field.
According to Baseball Prospectus' "Baseball Between the Numbers," the authors found that despite batting orders not mattering, the type of hitter following the next did have an influence on production. The following is a chart from the book:
As you can see, the better the hitter behind results in superior production. It also results in a drop in intentional base on balls. This is especially noteworthy as the players walk rate improves despite a drop in IBB.
In any event, we can see that a player like Pedroia, whom the Sox would miss, is less valuable then a player like Joe Mauer.
There is an argument for Pedroia due to the number of games the Red Sox hitters missed, namely Drew, Lowell, and Ortiz, in addition to the eventual trade of Manny Ramirez. While Pedroia's improvement this season may have motivated the Red Sox to move Manny, I'm certain receiving Jason Bay, and knowing that Drew, Lowell, Ortiz, and Youkilis would be around didn't hurt.
All that being said, let's look at the win and value stats and see where Pedroia matches up among hitters in the American League.
- WPA: Sixth (behind Mauer, Carlos Pena, Justin Morneau, Carlos Quentin, and Grady Sizemore);
- VORP: Third (behind Alex Rodriguez and Grady Sizemore); and
- WSAB: Tied for 12th (behind Mauer, Youkilis, Ian Kinsler, Morneau, Rodriguez, Sizemore, Josh Hamilton, Quentin, Johnny Damon, Vladimir Guerrero, and Milton Bradley).
These are three very important win and value statistics, of which there is consistently one player ahead of him (Sizemore) and a handful that show up on at least two lists ahead of Pedroia (Mauer, Rodriguez, Morneau, and Quentin). Does it make sense, then, that Pedroia wins this award?
What is additionally shocking is that a writer somehow decided to leave Pedroia off his ballot altogether. While I have spent the last while arguing that Pedroia should not have won the award, there is certainly not a lot of ways that I could be convinced to leave him off the ballot entirely.
However, from an assembly of writers who concluded that Josh Hamilton was more valuable then Grady Sizemore (by nearly three times as much), that Milton Bradley was essentially useless (he received two votes, a sixth and seventh), and a ballot where Ian Kinsler can only net one 10th place vote and Mike Mussina can receive an eighth place one is simply a joke.
I truly do not know how to put this into words any longer, and I am relieved that the postseason awards are finished.
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