09 August 2002

I just read Sean McAdam's piece on AL MVP hopefuls, and I have to admit that I'm a little frustrated with his logic, or at least his lack of consistency in it:

He contends that Alfonso Soriano is not the best candidate because of his lack of plate discipline, which I agree is a significant factor, but he ignores that his favorite, Torii Hunter, is not much better in this department. He says that Soriano and Giambi probably won't/shouldn't win because they play on such a good team, which diminishes their relative value, but he also says that A-Rod is not a good candidate because he plays for a lousy team! Well, which is it?

He says that Ichiro is not a good candidate because of his lack of power, but last year he only hit 8 dingers and he never walked, so he's actually having a better year, but is somehow less of a candidate because he doesn't do what he never did. How'd he win it last year?

Miguel Tejada is evidently not the best candidate because the A's are only in the hunt due to their starting pitching. Excuse me? Last time I checked, Tejada wasn't exactly thrust into the middle of Murderer's Row Revisited, and yet Oakland is holding it's own, 7th in the AL in OPS, 9th in runs, and 3rd in homers. No one on the team besides Eric Chavez is even having a good year at the plate, so someone's got to be responsible for those runs, right?

Pedro and Derek Lowe aren't likely candidates because they're not having "historic" years or great years in a vacuum, meaning a great pitching season in which no one is having a great hitting season. But shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't a guy on a pace to go 22-3, leading the league in ERA (2.25) and Strikeouts (pace for 278) be considered more valuable in a year in which 30 different guys hit 30 gomers and drive in a hundred runs than in a year when lots of pitchers do very well?

So, according to McAdam, and maybe a lot of BBWAA members, a player has to have a great (or at least surprisingly good) offensive season, on a decent club, but not one with a lot of other offensive talent, but not a lot of pitching talent either. Boy, this really narrows it down, doesn't it?

Personally, I'd like to see A-Rod get it. He's widely acknowledged as the best player in the AL, maybe in baseball, and has been for a few years now. And if they don't want to give it to a player on a last place team, they should give it to Giambi, who's second only to A-Rod in RARP, and RAP, according to Baseball Prospectus.

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