Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Case for MiggyVP

In the months of August, September and a week in October -- the time that matters the most in the playoff hunt -- which player would you want on your team?

Player A: .286 BA/.371 OBP, 12 HR, 20 RBI, 49 R, 7 2B, 18 SB
Player B: .344 BA/.398 OBP, 19 HR, 54 RBI, 42 R, 12 2B, 1 SB

If you're a sane baseball fan, your choice would be both players -- but you only get to choose one.  So which is it?  Which player do you think is more valuable?

These numbers are what the MVP vote should come down to.  They are the August - Sept/Oct stats for Mike Trout (Player A) and Miguel Cabrera (Player B).  And both lines are spectacular.  Who wouldn't want a player that can bang out 12 homers and steal 18 bases in a couple months?  And who wouldn't want a player to can amass 54 RBIs in a couple months?

Picking either of these players feels like winning; except, of course, to the sanctimonious pricks who fashion themselves as "Sabermetricians".  Personally, I think the value of Sabermetics begins and ends with on-base percentage, the wonderful stat that shows us the percent of how often a hitter makes on base.  Beyond that, I'm pretty suspect of all these stats that Sabermetricians pull out of their ass that try taking the level of competition and space in ballparks into account.  For example, take WAR.

In 2012, Alex Gordon had the fifth highest WAR in the American League at 6.2 games.  With a .368 OBP and 51 stolen bases, along with 14 HR and 72 RBI, Alex had a spectacular season and plenty of teams would take a player like him in a heartbeat.  But, according to WAR, Gordon is the fifth most valuable hitter in the American League and worth an extra 6 victories to a team's Win/Loss record.

Does anybody believe that?  Would you take Alex Gordon over Jose Bautista?  Or Prince Fielder?  Or David Ortiz?  Josh Wilingham?  Dustin Pedroia?  Or hell, even Josh Reddick?  Call me an old time baseball guy, but I don't see how picking Gordon before any of those guys is even defensible -- though I'm sure some Sabermetrician is prepared to write a thesis on a probability model they programmed with [ahem] "independent" variables to prove their argument.  I don't feel like wasting my time arguing with them, because that's akin to arguing with a Ron Paul fan over the role of the federal government in the economy.  You're just not gonna get anywhere.

Let's bring this argument back to Cabrera and Trout.  I'm ignoring stats from the first 4 months of the season for a reason -- I want to see when these players were more valuable.  Hence "Most Valuable Player".  And when you come right down to it, a player's value lies in the runs that he's able to create.  So let's boil this down to 3 stats for August - Sept/Oct:

Trout: .286 BA, 20 RBI, 49 R
Cabrera: .344 BA, 54 RBI, 42 R

What this tells me is that Cabrera got his bat on the ball more often, which helped him drive in more runs and get in base often enough to become a run himself.

Cabrera had 34 more RBI than Trout.  Trout had 7 more runs scored than Cabrera.  Who would you rather have in your line up?

Personally, I think the choice of obvious.  Fuck the Sabermetricians.

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