Savior of LA

As you’ve probably heard, the Dodgers offense is currently being carried by an outfielder in the midst of one of the best offensive stretches of his career. He’s absolutely crushing the ball, and his surge the last month has been one of the main reasons why LA has been able to overtake the stumbling Diamondbacks for first place in the N.L. West. Every time you turn around, he’s getting another big hit or rounding the bases after a home run.

Oh, you think I’m talking about Manny Ramirez? He’s okay, but I was referring to Andre Ethier. Check out their respective performances the last 30 days:

Manny: .362/.467/.745, 94 AB, 1.42 WPA/LI
Ethier: .396/.462/.802, 106 AB, 2.13 WPA/LI

Ethier has 23 extra base hits in 26 games – Manny has 16 extra base hits in 28 games. There’s no doubt that Manny is hitting the ball well, but there’s no argument that he’s outplaying his teammate right now. Ethier’s just outhitting him, despite get approximately 0% of the recognition. Some BBWAA voters are even talking about casting their NL MVP vote for Ramirez. I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess – these same people tried to give Shannon Stewart an MVP award, after all. However, there’s just nothing that supports the idea that Ramirez is even the best outfielder on his own team, or that his performance is the one that actually matters.

If the MVP award, as the BBWAA defines it, is actually “best performance in August and September by a team going to the playoffs”, Andre Ethier is their guy. Will he even get a single top ten vote? I doubt it. The writers will be too busy justifying their votes for Manny or Delgado.

Reason #134,324,986 why there’s no reason to care about the official postseason awards.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Zu Long
Zu Long

On the other hand, Manny has jumped to second in WPA for the Dodgers, barely behind Ethier, despite having played some 90 fewer games for that club this year. In August/September, Manny is winning with 2.46 to 2.10. It’s also worth noting that in overall WPA, Manny is only a few ticks back of Cliff Lee and Lance Berkman for the MLB lead- and Manny has played on a pair of playoff teams. Another note would be that Ethier wasn’t doing much until Manny got there, and it could be argued that he’s a big reason Ethier is picking it up.

So maybe it’s not so undeserved. Ethier may be putting up bigger numbers, but it seems to be Manny who has made the bigger difference.