2013 MLB Awards

For about the past five years or so I’ve been working on developing the perfect system to determine the winners of the major MLB awards. Every year I’ve thought I’d created the perfect system, and every year the system changed. This year though… I REALLY believe I’ve got the system. I’ve compiled the perfect collection of stats for both pitchers and position players in order to figure out who deserves Cy Young awards and MVP’s. The stats…

Position Players:  Runs Scored (R), Home Runs (HR), Runs Batted In (RBI), Stolen Bases (SB), Total Bases (TB), Batting Average (BA), On Base Percentage (OBP), Slugging Percentage (SLG), Weighted Runs Created (wRC), Weighted On Base Average (wOBA), Weighted Stolen Bases (wSB), Weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA), Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), Total Wins Above Replacement (WAR)

Pitchers: Wins (W), Losses (L), Earned Run Average (ERA), Innings Pitched (IP), Walks Plus Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP), Quality Start Percentage (QS%), Strikeout to Walk Ratio (K/BB), Strikeouts per Nine Innings (K/9), Average Game Score (AGS), Batting Average Against (BAA), Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average (SIERA), Wins Above Replacement (WAR)

It would take too long to write out the definitions of each stat, so instead I’ll post this link to a statistic glossary (http://www.fangraphs.com/library/). Anything not in the glossary you ought to already know, or you should just Google them.

The total column in my charts is acquired through a simple process. I sort the charts one stat at a time. The players are then given a number value to where they rank in the one statistical category. For instance with AL MVP, after sorting, Mike Trout would have a one in his column, Cabrera and Davis would both get twos, Evan Longoria would get a four and so on. I do this with all of the stats. I usually compile a list of around fifteen players to start. I narrow that down to ten and then I sort that ten. Then (as is the case with AL MVP) I insert pitchers where I feel they belong. The same process goes with determining the Cy Young Awards, except in the end I insert relievers where I feel they belong. The total gives a good view of how players compare to each other overall. As I see it, for the most part if a player is more than 10 total points ahead of another, he is statistically better than the other player to the point where team records don’t really matter.

Now, into the awards…

MVP1

 

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American League MVP Ballot

For the second year in a row the American League MVP debate is between two men: Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. For the second straight year Trout has put up slightly better overall numbers. For the second straight year, Cabrera’s Tigers made it to the postseason while Trout’s Angels did not. For the second straight year, Miguel Cabrera deserves the AL MVP award. The case for Trout the past two years has been that regardless of how his team has played, he’s been equally as dominant at the plate as Cabrera while additionally running the bases and playing defense at a much higher level. Yes, Trout can run the bases well plays very good defense while Cabrera’s defense is statistically atrocious. However, this thought that Trout is Cabrera’s equivalent as far as pure hitting goes is a falsity. In home runs, RBI’s, total bases, batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, weighted on base average, and weighted runs above average Cabrera dismantles Trout across the board. The only reason Trout ends up with a higher total is because he posts still very solid numbers in all those categories, plus he has the base running and fielding. They are very even. Cabrera gets the edge though because his team made the playoffs while Trout’s team put up a dismal season performance. But as Bill Simmons points out (in the probably the best sports article I’ve ever read, an amazing article on player value (http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6921420/passing-buck)) it’s not the “Most Outstanding Player” award, it’s the “Most Valuable Player” award. If you take Trout off the Angels their fortunes don’t change, they still don’t make the playoffs. If you take Cabrera off the Tigers they probably don’t win the AL Central or even win a wild card spot. Thus, Miguel Cabrera deserves to be your American League MVP for the second year in a row.

National League MVP Ballot

MVP2

 

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The consensus for a while amongst the public has been that Andrew McCutchen is the runaway favorite for National League MVP. Paul Goldschmidt’s stats make a very compelling case for him to win the award though. Goldschmidt leads McCutchen in just about every category by a fairly substantial margin. It’s very similar to the AL MVP debate, except in this case Goldschmidt’s season was a good bit better than McCutchen’s, to the point where it almost doesn’t matter that his team didn’t make the playoffs. While I wouldn’t be upset if McCutchen won the award, I think the better choice is Paul Goldschmidt.

American League Cy Young Ballot

MVP3

 

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Max Scherzer has been the clear American Cy Young this year since the all-star break. It goes well beyond his twenty and three record too: he finished top three in virtually every pitching category, including leading all pitchers and WAR and posting a nasty and league leading .97 WHIP. The guy was just on fire this year. That combined with a good run support made his case for Cy Young unstoppable.

National League Cy Young Ballot

MVP4

 

(CLICK TO MAXIMIZE CHART IN NEW TAB)

Clayton Kershaw not only deserves the National League Cy Young award this season, but in my opinion he’s taken the title of best pitcher in baseball away from Justin Verlander. He led the MLB in ERA for the third straight year and posted the lowest ERA in baseball since Pedro Martinez in 2000. He also led the league in innings pitched, WHIP, quality start percentage, average game score, and WAR. The guy was just absolutely filthy this season. No doubt he deserves the Cy Young this year.

Other Awards

AL Rookie of the Year-Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

NL Rookie of the Year-Jose Fernandez, RHP, Miami Marlins

AL Manager of the Year-John Farrell, Boston Red Sox

NL Manager of the Year-Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates

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