Seriously, Someone Voted For Miguel Cabrera?

For Jon Heyman and the rest of the reactionary “Keith Law should lose his ballot” crowd, I present the following comparison between Joe Mauer and Miguel Cabrera.

Singles: Mauer +2
Doubles: Cabrera +4
Triples: Mauer +1
Home Runs: Cabrera +6
Runs: Cabrera +2
RBI: Cabrera +7
Walks: Mauer +8
Outs: Cabrera +87

In terms of raw production, you’d be hard pressed to find two guys who had more similar years than Mauer and Cabrera. The differences in practically all of the counting stats is single digits, making those numbers a virtual tie. The only counting stat where there is much in the way of differentiation is outs. Essentially, the difference in playing time was entirely consumed by the equivalent of Cabrera enduring the worst slump baseball has ever seen.

If Mauer had played through his back problem in April without reaching base once, going zero for the month, then Cabrera and Mauer would have had approximately equal offensive seasons.

Seriously, there is no argument for a first place vote for Miguel Cabrera. Mauer’s team made the playoffs, beating out Cabrera’s team for the last spot. Mauer hit better. Mauer fielded better. Mauer played a more important position.

None of those facts are disputable. A vote for Cabrera being more valuable in 2009 is like a vote for the sum of two and two being five. It’s not an opinion – it’s a lack of understanding.

So, writers who criticized Law for his vote and pointed to it as evidence that he’s screwing up the process, you are hereby required to do the same thing to the Cabrera voter. At least Keith had a reasonable explanation for his vote. There is no reasonable explanation for a Miguel Cabrera first place MVP vote. It’s just stupidity on display.

To the other 27 voters – congratulations on continuing the trend of this awards season and giving the player the award he deserves. The BBWAA has done itself proud this year.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

148 Responses to “Seriously, Someone Voted For Miguel Cabrera?”

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  1. Joe R says:

    Looks like someone better attempt to stalk and threaten this man, it’s only fair.

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  2. Velocity says:

    Sports Illustrated’s article IDs the questionable writer as Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News, a member of the Seattle chapter.

    Who… who is he? And what is that paper?

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    • Joe R says:

      A paper published in Japan.

      I mean, who better to vote for the Most Valuable Player in the American League than…someone on the other side of the planet?

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      • Steve says:

        Seattle is on the other side of the planet?

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      • Joe R says:

        A paper published in Japan.

        I mean, who better to vote for the Most Valuable Player in the American League than…someone on the other side of the planet?”

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      • Mitch says:

        Yes, who travels with the Seattle Mariners everyday. Seriously, the city where his paper is published is completely irrelevant. As someone who is reading the interwebs, I would hope you could understand this.

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      • Steve says:

        a member of the Seattle chapter

        Seattle is on the other side of the planet?

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      • Joe R says:

        Fine, I was unaware he was actually based in Seattle and thought he was just a member of the chapter.

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      • Steve says:

        not a problem, i am living proof that mistakes happen.

        i just don’t want the “story” of a bad vote to be about the guy’s nationality. after all, American writers have been making stupid votes for decades.

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      • Joe R says:

        I was more alluding to someone based in Japan voting for an AL MVP being like a hockey reporter based in Boston voting for the KHL MVP. Actually being based in Seattle makes more sense.

        *I know whining about “not seeing the games” is Heyman-esque, but still

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  3. Joe R says:

    Never mind, found out the culprit already.
    Keizo Konishi

    I really wish it was Heyman or Plaschke or Rogers or one of those nonsense writers we all love to hate.

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  4. Andy says:

    Thought the triple slashes during that “slump” would be a nice addition:
    4 doubles, 6 home runs, no walks over 97 plate appearances.
    .103/.103/.247

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  5. John says:

    Well, Cabrera did have the intangibles on his side, I mean he was drunk for one of the biggest games of Detroit’s season. You can’t put a formula to value what that meant for the team. Good times.

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    • Joe R says:

      Beat wife -> Win World Series

      Ask Julio Lugo and Brett Myers.

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    • Sandy Kazmir says:

      Being drunk for a game at the end of the season is just as important as being drunk for a game at the beginning of the season.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there.

        Well played.

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      • Kyle says:

        While technically all regular season games are worth 1/162, I disagree in this situation that all games are created equal Sandy, because at the point that Cabrera was drunk he knew the value of the games coming up. The value of that game was not 1/162 anymore because the other 160 had played out and made the remaining games decide the division. Dare I say the leverage index of that game was very high.

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  6. Seideberg says:

    I was secretly hoping it would be the same guy who voted for Verlander for the Cy Young. Or Joe Morgan.

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  7. Jason says:

    You mean I had the number of home runs as Yadier Molina this year?? I can’t wait to tell my wife…

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  8. David Brown says:

    Bet you a dollar it’s the same guy who put Justin Verlander over Greinke.

    Actually, I think I’d put a 100 dollars on that.
    And I’d put a 1000 dollars that it was a Detroit-area writer.

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  9. jimmylegz says:

    i’ll take that bet…

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  10. CH says:

    Assuming that it was the Seattle writer who voted Cabrera 1st, these are Miguel Cabrera’s numbers vs. Seattle this year:

    .471/.538/.676, 4 2Bs, 1 HR, 10 runs, 3 RBI. 34 ABs total with 5 BB.

    Obviously the triple-slash is impressive, but it’s not like Cabrera destroyed the Mariners this year. I wonder what the writer’s reasoning is for having him so high? I expected his numbers against the Mariners to be more like 6 HR, 15 RBI. You know, shiny stats that would make him say “Wow this guy always dominates the team I cover.”

    Oh well. At least Mauer DID win the award, by a wide margin. Let’s not lose sight of that.

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  11. CircleChange11 says:

    I considered a 1st place vote for Cabrera for a few reasons …

    [1] his (.324-34-103) numbers were comparable to Mauer and Teixeira.
    [2] The whole damn NYY lineup seemed to hit at least .280-20-85 … Teix had a ton of “help” offensively.
    [3] Mauer also had basically 3 teammates go .285-30-100 for the season.
    [4] Cabrera had Inge (.230-27-84) and Granderson (.249-30-71); Magglio turned in a powerless season (.310-9-50).

    As was already pointed out, Detroit tied Minnesota through 162 games, and cabrera had a lot less help than did mauer. The Twins lineup is MUCH more impressive than is Detroit’s, and Cabrera’s performance in comparison to his teammates is better than mauer vs. the Twins other good hitters.

    Still, I would go with Mauer or Teixeira, but could see how one could vote Cabrera. Now, if some writer voted for Mauer, Cabrera, and Michael Young or someone else ahead of Teixeira, knowing that Teixeira would finish “off the ballot” in terms of earning points, then the situation would be analogous. But, as it is, it isn’t.

    I don’t think Cabrera as MVP is a much of a stretch as it initially appears. IMO, it’s not as bad as Vasquez 2nd in CY.

    Note: We can’t use Carpenter’s injury againt him in one instance (Cy), but then ignore Mauer’s injury in MVP voting.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Note: I used the basic counting stats as a point of reference. Feel free to replace those with slash stats, some sort of SABR, VORP, WAR, etc … it doesn;t really matter … the top guys are near the top of any statistical catoery that measures “high quality”.

      Pick whichever stat you want to crown your own personal MVP; I am ONLY saying that Cabrera fits in with the MVP crowd.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      ~~~Yeah, him and Teixeira are similar.

      Similar in that neither belonged in the top 5.~~~

      I guess since you installed the doorbell, I’ll ring it ….

      Who should be in the top 5, and using what criteria?

      I can just imagine that Benny Z is there. Kendry? I know the Yankees blew everyone away because ‘The Captain’ turned on the “Leadership Juice” this year, so he’s probably up there. Actually, I’m just rambling.

      But, if you want to share your top 5 and explain why, I’ll read it.

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      • Joe R says:

        Okay fine
        1) Mauer, obvious reasons
        2) Zobrist, because he was a plus defender for much of the season at 2B, had about the same OBP as Jeter, crushed Jeter in SLG in a less hitter friendly ballpark, and since bashing September performance is en vogue to contrarians, he OPS’d .946 in the last month
        3) Jeter, best player on the Yankees.
        4) Evan Longoria, 3B’s are chronically, embarassingly underrated. Last year, he was 11th in MVP voting with a .272/.343/.531 line in 508 PA. This year, he went .281/.364/.526 in 671 PA, and was a vacuum cleaner at 3B
        5) Chone Figgins. I’ll keep it unnerdy for you. He led the league in walks, and posted a .395 OBP. Stole 42 bags (did get caught 17 times, still over 70%), played about the same level of defense as Longoria, and reached base 285 times. No real power to speak of, but a .395 OBP + great defense speaks volumes.

        In the case of Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis, well, here are the top 4 1B’s in wOBA:

        .413
        .402
        .402
        .382

        Morales was #4. Cabrera and Teixeira tied for #2. Youkilis beat them both. How can you even begin to argue that either of those two belong in a top 5 that doesn’t include Youkilis (who by the way also spent time at 3rd)? Power hitting 1B’s are chronically overrated. Sure they serve at the principal RBI man in many lineups, but there is almost always 5-10 good ones in MLB at any given time. And if you think I’m being hypocritical for including 2 3rd basemen in my AL Top 5, then I would counter that 7 MLB 1B’s posted a 5 or greater WAR. Only 4 3B’s did that.

        Essentially, what makes one 30-35 HR, 95-105 RBI 1B different from any of the other 10 guys who do it? Kendry Morales, good hitter…13th among eligible MLB 1B’s in wOBA. Hell, look at how much attention guys like Joe Morgan gives James Loney. Loney’s a decent player…23rd in wOBA of 25 1B’s. Behind him were Dan Murphy and Aubrey Huff

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Joe R,

        Go ahead and get as nerdy as you want, I love all types of stats, although I think I tend to value certain statistics to a lesser degree than some here. But, generally I am able to understand a person’s perspective, even appreciate it, while disagreeing with it on occassion.

        I was curious as to how Zobrist would finish out in the voting, because he put up some really strong numbers in non-traditional stats, and also some good traditional stats.

        I basically credited Teixeira for the recognition many give to Jeter.

        ~~~How can you even begin to argue that either of those two belong in a top 5 that doesn’t include Youkilis ~~~

        Because I’m one of *those* guys that does give players of playoff teams a nudge. *grin*

        I’m a huge fan of the 80s Cardinals, so when you factor in defense and getting on base combined with the speed aspect my heart warms a little.

        FWIW, I am talking ball, not “arguing” baseball … there are many ways to look at situations, often based on one’s preferences or what one values. I am probably more open to differing views than most, and that sometimes gets me into trouble based on whatever crowd I am talking with.

        This year, to me, Mauer was the front-runner all year and did not do anything to lose or even decrease his lead. I give Cabrera more recognition than he deserves (compared to others) because what type of protection you have in the lineup certainly affects how a batter is pitched, and he did “more with less” than some other guys … but that’s not a view that I would invest a whole lot in defending, as there are a whole host of guys that fit his situation if remove the “team success” aspect to it.

        I was also curious to see what type of placement guys like Morales and Cruz would get, esecially curious to see if many voters would place them over Zobrist. I have not seen the offcial ballot, but when guys like Zobrist and Figgins start placing high in MVP voting, then we’ll know that something other than HR-RBI are counting for something and minds are opening.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Because I’m one of *those* guys that does give players of playoff teams a nudge. *grin*

        Oh, okay, so if Youkilis had been on a playoff team, he’d have been nudged back?


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      • J51 says:

        Youkilis was easily a better player than Teixeira this year.
        .413wOBA, 15.2 UZR/150 in 78 games at 1B and a -5.4 UZR/150 in 63 games at 3B (neither are large enough samples but if you look at past seasons the numbers show he is an elite defender at 1B and somewhere around average at 3B) His WAR was 5.6

        Teixeira had a .402 wOBA with a -4.1 UZR/150 in 152 games at 1B and a 5.1 WAR. Both played on playoff teams while Tex had a more hitter friendly environment and a better lineup. I don’t see any argument for Teixiera over Youkilis.

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      • Joe R says:

        Teixeira’s a champ, Youkilis is not.
        Teixeira is a super clutch man, Youkilis is a chokey loser bastard

        BBWAA mentality.

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    • Mike says:

      Do you really believe that Law didn’t put Carpenter in his top 3 because he thought it’d be a close vote and he was trying to screw him out of points? Or did I read that incorrectly? Because that makes no sense on any level, if for no other reason than Law’s reaction after the vote was he was surprised that Lincecum didn’t get more first place votes.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        No … that was a joke based on what someone else said in another thread.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        But, I was saying the the “Carpenter off the ballot” (i.e., 4th) situation and the “Cabrera 1st in MVP voting” are nowhere near comparable in terms of voting/point consequences.

        The AL Cy, AL MVP, and NL MVP are basically locks, even with a few dumb votes thrown in. The NL CY was not, and a couple of unique ballots had the ptential to affect, perhaps drastically, the outcome of the votes.

        I too, sometimes wonder why more peopple don;t think like me. But, maybe it’s not because I’m smarter than everyone, maybe it’s because I didn’t consider there were other sound rationales out there … or even worse, that I was wrong.

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      • alskor says:

        Ok, but what about when there’s a very good case to be made for voting the guy second – like Law did with Vazquez.

        The case for Vazquez second is much, MUCH stronger than Cabrera’s case for MVP.

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    • Robbie says:

      Vazquez would probably be 6th on my Cy Young ballot if it went that far.

      Vazquez second is far, far, FAR more defensible than Cabrera first in the MVP.

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      • JDSussman says:

        Robbie,

        Look at WAR

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      • Dirty Water says:

        Huh?

        I agree with you about Vasquez but are you really claiming that Miggy should not have been placed in the top 6? not even close?

        I hope not. Miggy carried Detroit all year. Well, one day short of all year, anyway.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        When I look at this thread, I notice a lot of positive votes on the posts that make a joke about Cabrera’s drunkeness (It is funny), and a lot of negative votes on posts that make a case for Cabs being an MVP contender. I cannot figure out if it’s opposition to MC or those that make a case for him or both.

        So, I started looking at the value stats on this site and …

        * Cab is 3rd in batting value (behind Mauer and Teix), and ranks ahead of Teix in fielding value. 2nd among AL 1B’s.

        * 9th in WAR in between Youk and Teix for 1B.

        * 6th in wOBA (1 of the 6 .400 or above).

        * 5th in OPS.

        * 14th in +WPA, 2nd among AL 1B’s.

        *3rd in WAP/LI, behind Mauer and Teix.

        In most of these metrics there isn’t another Tiger on the “1st page” (i.e., top 35) … wheras there are multiple Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, etc.

        DET as a team is 9th in the AL for wOBA, behind with NYY, BOS, and LAA in the top 3 of MLB, and MIN at 4th in the AL.

        So, I looked at their pitching, and DET is 25th in MLB for ERA, so it’s not like they’re a pitching & defense dominating type team. BOS is 2nd in the AL, NYY 4th, MIN 8th, LAA 10th, and DET is 12th in the AL.

        So, DET appears to be in the bottom half of offense and pitching in the AL, and they were “one game” from the playoffs. I understand that some might not take into account the strength of the team in an MVP vote, but a lot of voters seemingly do (and ‘perhaps’ they should). If one does, then MC is a serious top 5 candidate. If one doesn’t he’s likely 6th-8th.

        He certainly seemed to “Miggy-back” the Tigers quite a bit throughout the season, possibly moreso than any of the other individual contenders have done with their team.

        I’m not trying to be contrary (seriously), or to keep this thing going, but I am trying to figure out the thinking that says Cabrera is NOT a serious MVP contender (or top 5 material, for this year).

        The case could easily be made that Youkilis and Zobrist deserve more credit, but I don;t think that means Cabrera deserves less than to be around the top of the voting.

        Just sayin’.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Sorry, I meant to add, “If not Cabrera, then who?” (for your top 5 MVP candidates). DC added his already.

        Throw down your top 5, if interested.

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  12. Keizo Konishi says:

    If I’m a local writer for some local newspaper and I’ve happened to have been selected to vote in one of these major awards I’m looking at this as a chance to find a better gig, especially with the news paper industry being in the crapper.

    I’m voting for a guy that has no right whatsoever winning the award, and then I’m pimping myself out to every TV show, radio station, internet site, and any other newspaper that wants an interview. I’d go on and defend my pick with crazy theories, datamine any stats that help, and making it seem like I truly believe that I voted for the best guy (even though I know I didn’t). Then I hope to get picked up by an ESPN, CNNSI, or some other national program, cause I’m not some local geeky writer, nope, I’m an opinionated, arguementative, cutting edge, statistical minded, nationally recognized media guy.

    Yep that’s my plan.

    +20 Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. jimmylegz says:

    Unless referencing a marginal difference in traditional statistics such as RBI and HR counts as “datamine[ing] any stats that help,” it would be pretty difficult to cherry-pick numbers to support his vote.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      The only way Cabrera “deserves” 1st place votes is if you view the MVP as a “Most Valuable to his team” (and the team be reasonably successful) and not necessarily the “Most Outstanding Player” award.

      Then you look at the number of .800+ OPS guys on each team …

      DET – 2 (Cabs and Mags)
      MIN – 4
      NYY – 8 (Stupid melky .752)
      BOS – 5 (6, if you count Ortiz’s .794)
      LAA – 5 (with others between .775-.799)

      So, Detroit, led by Cabrera, makes it “this close” to the playoffs, whereas the other team’s lineups are pretty much stacked in comparison.

      Again, if one views the MVP as “Most Valuable to his Team” (as some do), then that would be a situation where cabrera could deserve a 1st place vote.

      But, the MVP for many is essentially a “Most Outstanding Player/Season” Award, in which Mauer takes it easily, even with missing some games.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        This view is completely incorrect. A 5 win player is just as valuable on every team. If Mauer wasn’t on the Twins they don’t make the playoffs. If Cabrera were on the Twins, they don’t make the playoffs. If Mauer were on the Tigers, they make the playoffs. Mauer was better and thus more valuable to his team.

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      • The Hit Dog says:

        You do realize that Team A having fewer good hitters and essentially the same record as Team B more than likely means that Team A had better pitching/defense… right? Which of course has nothing to with a single hitter’s performance.

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      • Not David says:

        CC,

        You’re wrong, very, very wrong.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Folks … seriously, I am NOT making a personal case for Cabrera. Matter of fact, I stated Mauer … easily.

        What I did was state a situation where one could view Cabrera as the MVP if they looked at it a certain way. I don;t want to defend that view, as I do not hold it.

        I would put Cabrera in the top 5.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        And we are simply pointing out that that view is incorrect.

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      • David says:

        How can a view be “incorrect”? It can be stupid, uninformed, completely out of line with the facts, but a view is a view. If I voted for George W. Bush because his last name starts with B and I trust people whose last names start with B – that’s my right. Why are we making such a big deal out of this? Mauer won 27 of 28 votes. It wasn’t close. I don’t care if Yuniesky Betancourt got a 1st place vote – when it’s such a landslide, it’s not worth making this big a deal out of it.

        Specifically, why are we all criticizing CircleChange11 for stating what I think it a plausible explanation for the vote? Not a “defense”, not “support” for the vote, but an “explanation” of the vote. The concept of MVP is not mathematically defined – it’s an inherently subjective vote. For that reason, we shouldn’t care much about the results in the first place, but especially when the deserved winner wins by such a big margin…

        The biggest injustice is not that Cabrera won a 1st place vote. I think if you want to focus on a tiny, irrelevant detail – two people had Mariano Rivera higher on their ballots than Zack Greinke. Now that’s an injustice!

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        1. Views, just like opinions, can, and often are, wrong. If you disagree with this, you are stating that my view is wrong. So suck it.

        2. I never criticized CC. I just stated that the view he was explaining was incorrect.

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      • Jason461 says:

        @David: Views can easily be incorrect unless you want to live in a relativist society. In that case, it is my “view” that 2+2=7 and the earth is pulled around the sun by faeries. It’s my view, so you can’t say I’m wrong. See, that’s the problem with relativism, it’s pretty much a giant pile of horse excrement.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        Also your example with GWB doesn’t make sense. Anyone who would vote for Dubya would only reason in absolutes.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Jason 461,

        Things can be classified as “correct/Incorrect” is there is a ‘Standard’ to compare it to.

        There is no standard nor consensus, so the award means different things to different voters, and we see all sorts of fluxuations on what is valued from year to year (Monster stats, team improvement, some type of leadership equality, etc).

        So, we have some voters looking at wins, ERA, home runs, RBIs, and others ignoring them completely. Some factor in defense … and speed, some don’t even consider it.

        It’s a mess with everyone left running around pointing out how each other are wrong, even though there’s no defined criteria or standard to compare it to. What we’re all saying is “Compared to the criteria I use, you’re wrong.” Is it any wonder there’s so much debate? Perhaps that’s the point. *Shrugs*

        I don;t even think there’s consensus among the sabermaticians as to what stat or combination of stats *should* be used to determine the “Best”. Hence, seemingly every SABR guy has their own top 100 list, or MVP, or book explaining their criteria and why it’s superior to others, etc.

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      • alskor says:

        There is absolutely no case for Cabrera as MVP. Your argument for him is basically based on his not having as much protection in the lineup and slightly more playing time. That’s a non-starter. Whatever mitigating factors youve come up with (and I don’t buy the protection one as legitimate AT ALL) they’re more than overcome by the fact that ONE GUY IS AN EXCELLENT DEFENSIVE CATCHER AND THE OTHER IS A BAD GLOVE FIRST BASEMAN.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        I don’t understand the disregard for “Protection in the order” situation. IMO, it’s both common knowledge and common sense in baseball. I feel that as a fan and former pitcher, and I also listen to what athletes say.

        There are some guys that are so talented that they can overcome not having protection in the lineup (namely Pujols, ARod, and Bonds … and I might put Cabrera and mauer in that group as well, just not yet as distinguished).

        The case that jumps to mind is Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds from 2002. The year started off with Kent hitting 4th BEHIND Bonds, and then they moved him to 3rd in FRONT of Bonds, with about the same number of PA’s in the 3rd and 4th slots.

        Kent (3rd) – 333/387/667
        Kent (4th) – 297/354/484

        Bonds (3rd) – 377/591/861
        Bonds (4th) – 365/571/730

        Kent’s performance drastically changed, namely in slugging which relates to me “seeing lots more fastballs” (i.e., strikes, hittable pitches). You hear and read athletes talking about protection quite often, as hitters like to get as many fastballs and hittable pitches as they can.

        This switch in the lineup (above) was highly publicized and (perhaps) one of the few times, Bonds was willing to be a “good teammate”, as he certainly could have throw a poop fit about it.

        I don’t understand, at this site, the seemingly rush to hand-wave off aspects of the game that seem to be common knowledge or that players often talk about, that may not be represented enitrely by a new stat derivative/combination?

        This year, I’m thinking of Lee’s turn around once ARam returned from the DL. Ramirez returned just before the All-Star break, maybe about 65 games into the season …

        DLee (1st Half) – 280/354/511
        DLee (2nd Half) – 336/436/656

        Again, there are common knowledge applications that seem to be lost on some if it’s not represented by ‘xSTAT’ or something. I know these are only 2 examples, but I’m going from just quick memory here (while looking up the actual numbers).

        I’m NOT saying Cabrera’s stats would jump dramatically if he had better protection behind him, because he’s the free swinging type, and SP’s might not feel pressured to throw him more FBs b/c he’ll swing at whatever’s thrown up there … but the idea that protection in the lineup is one that you “don’t buy as legitimate” speaks more about you than it does the person making the statement. I hope that doesn’t sound hateful, but c’mon fellas.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        To be fair …

        ~~~ONE GUY IS AN EXCELLENT DEFENSIVE CATCHER AND THE OTHER IS A BAD GLOVE FIRST BASEMAN.~~~

        This is a good point, and SHOULD be a real difference maker in the comparison. It’s also a Keith Law point I agree with, although not to the extreme of giving Beltran the 06 MVP, but maybe taking Ozzie as a more serious candidate in 87 … and perhaps Larkin in whatever year it was, 96? (i.e. great defense up the middle … a Whitey Herzog priority)

        I understand the point others have made that Cabrera as an offensive force is pretty much like other players mentioned (or even inferior in regards such as OBA, etc) … but I also understand the “no protection in the lineup” claim, and don’t marginalize it. I’m not sure if there’s another serious MVP cndidate (and by serious I don’t mean a threat to mauer’s #1, but a solid 1-5 candidate) that’s on a team with such anemic offense, that did have some decent success. I’m also not sure DET qualifies as a “pitching/defense heavy” team, while they are superior to the Twins in both categories.

        Now, the 85 Royals on the other hand …

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      • Doug Melvin says:

        @David:

        “How can a view be “incorrect”?”

        When it opposes facts.

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      • Jim says:

        If it makes any difference (and I’m guessing from the sound of the chorus, it doesn’t) I totally agree with you that Cabrera deserved that first place vote. Unfortunately, few fans out there and most baseball writers don’t understand the meaning of the word “valuable” and insist on siding with the guy with the best stats, whatever the team’s outcome in the overall standings. I happen to be a huge fan of Joe Mauer. He is clearly one of the best pure hitters to come along in a long time. He plays the most difficult and important position on the field and he really understands the game. He epitomizes the standard of “sportsman” and he loves his mother. You couldn’t find a better guy as far as I’m concerned. I also recognize that the Tigers would have been toast without Cabrera in ’09 and for that reason, I actually had him pretty high on my list of MVP candidates. I think too many posters here are upset because he got drunk on the most important weekend of the year and, yes, I suppose that is unforgivable, but I still believe that the last weekend of the year wouldn’t have meant much to the Tigers if he hadn’t been a top producer during the rest of the year. I know they are probably going to try to move him this off season because he is bad PR but he did have a wonderful year and I think he’s going to suffer the rest of his career because of a habit that all too many baseball fans share. It’s too bad really.

        Mauer was the player of the year…no doubt about that. And he’s going to be the player of the year for many years to come barring injuries. I also think the MVP award needs to be re-named for what it truly is…Player of the Year (non-pitcher category). Then we could sit back and enjoy the game of baseball instead of turning into crazed football fans…I wouldn’t want that to happen.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Unfortunately, few fans out there and most baseball writers don’t understand the meaning of the word “valuable” and insist on siding with the guy with the best stats,

        Whoa there, Nelly! First of all, there are multiple definitions of value, but most people here tend to find the “value = best” one the most consistently applicable. Secondly, the majority of fans and writers out there agree with you, so don’t try and make yourself out to be some kind of minority martyr.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Before someone beats me to it, let me say that there are some studies on this exact subject, and the results are diverse. Some guys do better, some worse, and the difference of “protection” is ‘not much’.

      However, the criteria often used is of a hitter with a SLG % of >.450.

      Now a .450 SLG can mean Mike Cameron is the “protection” and (obviously) the examples I displayed used guys with SLG’s far north of .450.

      So, the “protection” effect likely is dependent on the quality of the batter providing the “protection” combined with the “protected’s” ability to be patient and wait for the gift. It also isn;t likely to turn Albert Pjuols into a 390/500/850 hitter, but it could have a dramatic effect on a lesser hitter. (Ha, a lesser hitter than Pujols .. so that’s like “everybody”? … you know what I mean though).

      I wonder what the results are when the “protection” criteria shifts to SLG>.525 (or so)? Could be reaffirming, mind-changing, or neither. Oh, the joys of baseball stats. *grin*

      It’s also probably not just coincidence or random event that Lansford’s BA jumped 46 points above his average once he was hitting behind Rickey and in front of Jose (89).

      Another example that jumps to mind is the big increase in performace of McGee (mvp) and Herr with the arrival of Jack Clark (.500+ SLG) … and the subsequent drop off when Clark missed most of the following year (86). Herr’s BA fell 50 pts, McGee’s fell 100. Likely not all attributed to Clark being out of the lineup, but too significant of a drop off to not assume a bulk of it.

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  14. Matt says:

    I think it’s more stupid that he was as low as 7th, 8th, and 10th on some ballots.

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  15. Doctor_Teh says:

    I will be honest, what confuses me the most is Placido Polanco being in the discussion whatsoever…Someone somewher thought he was an MVP candidate, or at least top 10 in the AL….how?

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    • brownra2 says:

      Because it is fun to say Placido Polanco.

      Biggest injustice is Greinke finishing 17th. Now that it seems that position players are being valued more accurately, it’s time to pick up the torch for valuing starting pitchers more accurately. Can we give Pedro retroactive MVP awards for 1999 and 2000?

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  16. No I in blog says:

    More ridiculous than the Cabrera vote was the 9th-place vote PLACIDO POLANCO got.

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    • Joe R says:

      People still think it matters that Polanco doesn’t strike out a lot.
      Which I guess matters somewhat since his 2009 RE24 – wRAA was a +10.5, meaning he may have helped his team win an extra game by being ball-in-play-y. Obviously an out that moves a runner is better than an out that doesn’t.

      Even then, MAYBE he’s top 20-25? Even if they were productive outs, they were still outs. And he still had a .331 OBP.

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  17. Not David says:

    I would patiently wait for the Heyman/Plaschke/Conlin/Chass/*insert ignorant windbag writer of choice* outrage over this, but something tells me it isn’t coming.

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  18. MBD says:

    I think he meant to vote for Francisco Cabrera from the 92 Braves.

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  19. Patrick says:

    Tee-hee. Oh Dog. You Sly Dog, you.

    I’m just happy that Mauer won an MVP award! WOOH!
    Had to bat almost .400 with a bunch of home runs and an insane OBP to do it, but he finally won one.

    This has been a while coming, at least if Morneau is going to keep winning or almost winning them. (Watching him get MVP votes in large part because Mauer was always on base in front of him has made me sad.)

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  20. Joe R says:

    Oh yeah, not a single vote for Pedroia.

    But Cano got three 7th place votes.
    Okay so I know Pedroia was a fringe top 10 player in the AL this year, but I think almost everyone is well aware that Pedroia is a much better defender than Cano.

    I say most because Tim McCarver still exists.

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    • Tom B says:

      Pedroia was a fringe top… 30-40 player, not 10. sorry.

      Pedroia was a media hyped MVP and not much more. He’ll probably never sniff another vote. Better defense or not, Cano has a future as a hitter in the majors, pedroia is a fly-ball luck machine.

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      • TexasRanger says:

        Actually in terms of WAR Pedroia was the 10th most valuable player in the AL, so a fringe top 30-40 player is a tad ludicrous

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      • lincolndude says:

        Uh, that’s wrong. Cano’s got a little more power, but Pedroia actually has the skill set that’s far less susceptible to unlucky bounces.

        He manhandled the strike zone this year in a way Cano can only dream of.

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      • Joe R says:

        Let me guess, Tom B, because Pedroia is short, white, and plays for a big market, he’s overrated, right?

        Because who wants a highly skilled defensive 2B with a career .364 wOBA and 26 years old in human years? Give me a batting average dependent guy who lives and dies by BABIP.

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      • Robbie says:

        (Pedroia is my least favorite baseball player on the planet.)

        This has to be a joke, right?

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      • Joe R says:

        Pedroia’s “luck” on fly balls in 2009: .190/.186/.443
        League average, 2009: .224/.218/.599
        Pedroia, career on fly balls: .204/.199/.481

        Arguing with facts is f-u-n FUN!

        (2008 season in question he went .264/.254/.618, but most MVPs have some luck go their way anyway, so who gives a damn?)

        Cano’s a good player, but all he has on Pedroia is power. Pedroia is a plus-average walker who rarely strikes out. His first 3 full seasons, he’s been 5th, 2nd, and 1st in the AL in BB/K. So mind me if I fail to see why an all-star caliber player serves no value.

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      • Robbie says:

        I hope you weren’t educating me, Joe, because I was responding to Tom up there. No matter how much I may hate Pedroia, that’s some psychotic stuff in that post.

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  21. Ray says:

    In all seriousness, is there a clause in Cabrera’s contract that has an incentive for a 1st place MVP vote? That’s really the only justification I could see, a bit of quid pro quo

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    • Kevin S. says:

      I seem to recall there being a big hoopla when Curt Schilling was negotiating his final contract about that. He wanted a clause giving him a bonus if he got one 3rd-place CY vote, and the BBRAA went nuts about how that could damage the credibility of the award, or something.

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      • RPMcSweeney says:

        In response to the “Schilling Clause” (and N.B. not Nazi scientist Claus Schilling), the BBWA instituted a rule declaring any player with an awards-based contract kicker ineligible for consideration. However, this “rule” doesn’t go into effect until 2013, so that all the contracts with such kickers will have expired.

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      • Robbie says:

        That is an awesome rule.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Joe R says:

        I bet Schilling did that just to send the BBWAA into an uproar

        BUT IT WILL DAMAGE THE CREDIBILITY OF THE AWARD!

        Like when Steve Bedrosian won in 1987, or Welsh over Clemens in 1990. I’m sure they gave those votes the respect that they deserved.

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  22. Logan says:

    Where does everyone see who voted for whom?

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  23. AJ says:

    Miggy gets a $200,000 bonus for finishing 4th, while Mauer only makes $100,000 for getting first. That’s the real crime in this story.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. D700 says:

    Keizo Konishi published books and articles exclusively on Ichiro. You can consider him as Ichiro’s pet. Now you understand why he voted for Cabrera a little clearer. Ichiro finished 2nd behind Mauer in batting average.

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  25. TJ says:

    Thank God our dumbass writer didn’t vote for another Tigers player but im sure he was the one who voted for both JV and Polanco. Sometimes I am ashamed to be a Tigers fan.

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    • gumbercules says:

      I’m not ashamed that JV would get a vote somewhere on the ballot. Whoever voted for Polanco is, however, on glue.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. Brandon says:

    There’s not going to be any outrage over this. The hatred on Law was much less about Carpenter and more about the old guard lashing out at someone who dared defy the collective wisdom of the masses. Baseball media spent the last month of the season playing up the NL Cy as a three way race–and it was absolute heresy for some nerd to defy their tidy narrative with his infernal numbers.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • gumbercules says:

      The KLawhate, I’m convinced, has to do with what can be perceived as his smartarse personality and also the fact that nobody paid attention to Javy Vazquez having a darn good season. It was settled long ago that it was only a 3-horse race (even though in reality it shouldn’t have been).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Joe R says:

      No one cares that Law thinks Lincecum was better. The butthurt is coming over Vasquez and Haren.

      And I (sort of) agree on the point that was Haren really better? Awesome K/BB, but he does have a tendency to give up the long ball.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Kevin S. says:

        Is a career rate of a homer per nine innings (essentially what he had last year, too) really a tendency to give up the long ball? I’m asking seriously, because while I can compare the HR/9 of two guys, and I know what the average HR/FB % is, I’m not really sure what the spectrum on HR/9 is. Given is beastliness in SO and BB, I wouldn’t have even given it a second glance. Am I wrong? That’s a sincere question, btw.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Joe R says:

        Well, I’m not exactly an expert either, but I’ll do some quick math…

        The HR/FB percentage in 2009 for the league (according to b-r’s batted ball classification) was 9.63% (2271 out of 23571). Haren records about 8.75 outs via the K per 27 outs, so 18.25 outs come from the field. His career BABIP is pretty normal, and adding in his walk rate, it takes him about 28.25 batters to get those other 18.25 outs, 26.75 of them putting the ball in play. That’s the # we care about.

        Haren gives up about 36% fly balls on BIP. You can say that’s about 9.6 fly balls per 9 innings.

        With a league average HR/FB rate, that’s about .925 HR/9. Add in the occasional liner HR, we’ll call it .95 HR/9

        So since the league was at 1.11 HR/9, I can say I was wrong to call Haren a gopher baller. And his FB rate is about average, too.

        HR rate is a weird number. It can sort of be controlled, but the # of HR’s a pitcher gives up is usually so low compared to, say, his strikeouts, that it can be badly volatile.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. Stan S. says:

    That vote is as bad as Law’s Carpenter snub. Both guys should lose their ballots in the future.

    How would you know if the other guy isn’t being stalked and hunted? Only a self-important person would publicize that they are being stalked and hunted. I’m guessing Mr. Konishi isn’t as into self-promotion.

    -17 Vote -1 Vote +1

  28. brian recca says:

    @Stan S.
    Carpenter and Vazquez are a lot closer than Mauer and Cabrera. I was actually hoping someone would vote for Vazquez because he did have a great year.

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  29. jthomas says:

    Surprising to see Eric Hinske get an 8th place vote this year.

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  30. cygar13 says:

    I didn’t get the memo that said that the MVP is the man with the best stats. While Miggy’s numbers are hardly unimpressive, look at what he meant to his team throughout the year. Sure, Mauer’s team won the division on the last day. But how many games did Mauer win for the the Twins in April?? hmmmm… Let me also see here, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, those guys all mashed this year.

    Who in the H, did Miggy have helping him this year? Please anyone? Magglio had the worst year that I can remember. Polanco’s number where down. Inge will never see .250. Granderson is ok, but he K’s way too much and he is not a lead off hitter. So who are we left with to protect Miggy?? Gerald Laird, Adam Everett, Ryan Raburn??

    That is how he got an MVP. I’m not saying he deserved at the MVP, but look at stuff outside the numbers. He single handedly carried that offense that was flat out pathetic without him.

    -9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Sky says:

      Miguel Cabrera wasn’t taking up the first base position, the tigers could have easily added someone with a quality bat.

      And it’s not just about carrying your offense. The Tigers’ defense was much better than the Twins’, and none of that credit goes to Cabrera. Mauer was a big reason the Minnesota defense wasn’t any worse.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jpdtrmpt72 says:

      troll

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    • lookatthosetwins says:

      Do you know what Mauer would do if he had no protection, and they started pitching around him every at bat? WALK. He’d constantly be ahead in counts, and would take more walks. Yes, his HR total would go down, but his overall production would be even better. I don’t buy the protection argument for a second.

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  31. Jim says:

    Coming from a Twins’ fan, I couldn’t be any happier that Mauer won, but believe it or not, I didn’t have Joe in my top 5. When you consider that despite the fact that Mauer had a career year, the Twins didn’t do much better than they did last year. The team that improved the most in the AL is Seattle and the guy that “seems” to have made a huge difference is Franklin Gutierrez. Now I admit that his statistics don’t match up all that well with Mauer’s (or any number of guys this year) but he appears to be the difference in the Mariner’s season. And don’t forget that Seattle won about as many games as the Twins. Why didn’t Keizo Konishi see this? Mauer was actually further down on my list of MVP candidates even though it is an absolute joy to watch him play in my home town every day.

    And now for the shocker – Miggy came in second on my list even though he came to work under the influence for the last weekend series. Without his contributions throughout the season, that last weekend series woulnd’t have meant squat to the Tigers.

    Sorry, fellow Twins’ fans, but even though Mauer had one of the greatest seasons we could ever have expected, it wasn’t enough to lift the team much over .500.

    -13 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jeff says:

      Well, let’s thank God you’re not a voting BBWAA member, cuz you would have been justly roasted by every single baseball fan who knows anything.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jim says:

        Being a homer doesn’t make you right. Mauer is clearly the Player of the Year in the AL this year and is the best player on a very good offensive team. It’s also clear that pitching is the culprit in a relatively disappointing season. My point is just that the MVP of the year should be someone who elevates his team despite the surrounding shortcomings. The Twins finished 2009 pretty much the same way they finished 2008. Many posters have noted that the Twins hung around .500 with or without Mauer this year. The late season surge came after new pieces were added to the team and you could easily make a case that Cuddyer stepping up his game when Morneau went down was a valuable factor.

        Not a knock on Mauer – he had a monster year and he’ll be richly rewarded for his talent. My comments are really a knock on the process for selecting the MVP.

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    • lookatthosetwins says:

      I’m ashamed to share a state with you.

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    • Joe R says:

      This is either a great troll or the dumbest person in Minnesota.

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    • stoga11 says:

      Is that Jim Souhan?

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  32. jashock07 says:

    Kieth law is the culprit you have to be in the baseball writers 0f america to vote..I dont think kinishi is in that group!!

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  33. chris says:

    Sorry, fellow Twins’ fans, but even though Mauer had one of the greatest seasons we could ever have expected, it wasn’t enough to lift the team much over .500.”

    Yea, I mean how much did Mauer really help? Do you Know how many IP Joe Mauer had down the stretch this year? Zero

    Ze-Ro

    what a bum…

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  34. glassSheets says:

    WAR: 3.1 > 2.9 > 2.0

    Polanco > Kubel > Cuddyer

    And I doubt Kubel or Cuddyer were helped enough by baserunning to overtake Polanco. Not to mention Cuddyer being in the bottom 5 of the “Captain of the Little Things” award and also in the alternate universe Carter-Batista reward.

    If you take just the Tigers and Twins, Cuddyer ranked 9th in WAR and he got an 8th place vote AND a 10th place vote in all the AL.

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    • cygar13 says:

      OK. Mr. GlassSheets. You should manage a team solely on your 100% accurate stat of WAR.

      Well, Polanco is a “free agent” this offseason. I guess the Twins should’ve declined Cuddyer’s option and instead sign Polanco to hit behind Mauer next. So you think WAR is the be all end all.

      You and the guy who think protection in the line up is irrelevant, should get together and make up a team of Polancos and Alex Gordons and become the Pittsburgh Pirates.

      -5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  35. glassSheets says:

    I’m going to use the quote from the Butler-Gordon article to state how MVP worthy I think Cuddyer’s 2.1 WAR is

    “isn’t even quite as good as Gordon’s 2.1 WAR from his “disastrous” 2007.”

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  36. jpdtrmpt72 says:

    RT @SI_BenReiter Other votes cast by person who picked Cabrera 1st: Beverly Hills Chihuahua for `08 Best Picture; Marion Berry in `94.

    thats what john heyman had to say about the guy who voed for miggy on his twitter page.

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    • Robbie says:

      Even if I disagree with the vote, Heyman’s pot shots at other BBWAA voters the way he does it make me a little uncomfortable.

      Keith Law’s immaturity and occassional lack of class is one of the things I don’t like about him, but Heyman is even worse. And at least Law brings intelligent baseball analysis, good humor and quality writing, which is more than Heyman can say.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Kevin S. says:

        Why would it make you uncomfortable? I mean, it would likely lead you to conclude that Heyman’s a classless tool and should be ignored, but I’m not understanding the discomfort.

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      • Joe R says:

        I decided to respond to Heyman’s Buck Martinez quote tweet with the horrible fellating article about Emilio Bonifacio. I hope he reads it.

        In fact, Boston has the displeasure of him calling into 98.5 The Sports Hub every Thursday at noon. Wonder if he takes callers.

        As much as I dislike Murray Chass’ writing, for example, he 1) lets anyone be able to question him, and 2) will respond. He responded to me once when I had a criticism of his article, and did it very quickly. Heyman? Maybe a mailbag where he treats readers like douches, outside of that, he’s holier than thou and above you meager pee ons.

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      • Joe R says:

        And my guess is that Heyman was feeling the heat from Lincecum / Law fans and tried to make amends a little bit (or at least pull the “I hate VORP and DORP and BLORP but I still know baseball just fine without that nerdiness” card).

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    • djp says:

      Please. Keizo voted Tropic Thunder for best pic of 2008.

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  37. Rob in CT says:

    There were a bunch of wierd down-ballot votes. Cano, for instance. I like Robbie Cano plenty, but, um, no. Not even close. His failure to control the strikezone and inconsistent defense will probably always hold him back from the elite.

    And then there is the issue of what to do with the pitchers. I’d actually prefer the pitchers have the Cy, but be removed from MVP consideration (really just to simplify things). Until such a change is made, however, you have to consider somebody like Greinke for the MVP. The voters clearly did not.

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  38. Kevin says:

    Didn’t Cameron post an article called “Why Do We Care?” over the summer?

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  39. H says:

    Well, Cabrera did lead the league in blood alcohol level. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

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  40. Kyle says:

    Don’t you guys realize that writers on occasion vote for a guy based on career, clutch situations or they play in their hometown?

    Jeter gets gold gloves constantly, has arugably(if you huff far too much paint) deserved one. At least the voters got everything right… Lincecum, Grienke, Pujols and Mauer. Only Carpenter deserves an argument, but he’s not as dominant.

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  41. dylan says:

    Keizo Konishi follows Ichiro, and writes exclusive content on Ichiro’s website. He also wrote a book about Ichiro.

    Ichiro has talked to the Japanese media all season about Mauer being a rival, in tones that insinuated that Ichiro is the better player of the two. Ichiro was unhappy about getting beat by Mauer for the batting title. He was also livid after New York fans jeered him in July when he made a rare error in the field. (Hideki Matsui homered in the game.)

    It’s entirely plausible that Konishi — whose livelihood depends on staying in Ichiro’s good graces — voted for “not Mauer” and “not Yankees” to please Ichiro, who’s known to be an egomaniac with a long memory for grudges.

    It’s a mystery to me how a guy who’s known to have made a career covering one player got the right to vote for postseason awards.

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  42. Phillip says:

    The BBWA is always getting it wrong. Chase Utley got totally shafted:
    http://gameofinches.blogspot.com/2009/11/quick-chase-utley-rant.html

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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