This afternoon, Albert Pujols was named the National League's Most Valuable Player. In what was an extremely close race, due to the fact that there was not a clear cut favorite for the award, the BBWAA managed to pick the most deserving player.
In total, 27 players received votes. That seems like a lot of confusion between the writers. I can't understand how, or why, there would be so many players nominated for the award, and it will be interesting once what type of home-team biases exist. Specifically, the bottom four players all received one vote each.
I'd like to mention one thing that sticks out to me that, well, is pathetic.
Ryan Howard? Really, what did Howard do to encourage the writers to make this such a close race? What did Howard do that made the writers feel as though he was superior to teammate Chase Utley?
Let's compare the value and win stats of these two players:
- RC/27 - Utley 7.79, Howard 6.43
- WPA - Howard 2.37, Utley 1.47
- VORP - Utley 62.2, Howard 35.3
- MLV - Utley 42.7, Howard 27.5
- WSAB - Utley 16, Howard 12
- WARP - Utley 10.4, Howard 5.0
As you can see, Utley is substantial superior to Howard, leading in five of six value or win statistical categories.
How about EQA?
Utley - .308
Howard - .291
There you have it, Utley was clearly more valuable then Howard.
An argument was made for the play of Howard down the stretch; however, can that same argument not be made for Utley's play to start the season? Chase posted an OPS, as of June 2, of 1.083. By comparison, while Howard was hot down the stretch, his play during that time was substantial less then Chase's, posting an OPS of .954 in the second half.
By voting for Ryan Howard over Chase Utley, the writers are invariably saying that production in April and May does not count to the same degree as production July, August, and September.
While games appear to be more meaningful towards the end of the season, had Utley not performed at the level he did in April and May, Howard's second-half production would have gone largely unnoticed as the Phils would have been playing meaningless games.