Last week I asked the question: Why do we not pay more attention to player value in terms of salaries when deciding who should win the MVP award?
After running the numbers these are the lists we come up with for the MVP race in both leagues. Percentages standing for the amount of that players value their respective team is actually paying for.
To repeat, a player being paid only 10 percent of what they are worth is more valuable to their team than a player being paid 60 percent of what they’re worth.
|American League||National League|
|D. Pedroia||16.3%||A. Pujols||68.1%|
|A. Gonzalez||19.2%||L. Berkman||39.6%|
|M. Cabrera||73.3%||J. Reyes||46.2%|
|J. Buatista||21.7%||T. Tulowitzki||18.6%|
|J. Ellsbury||6.1%||A. McCutchen||1.9%|
|C. Granderson||25.9%||J. Votto||17.5%|
|J. Verlander||40.6%||P. Fielder||72.1%|
|C.C. Sabathia||71.9%||R. Braun||12.7%|
Being presented with these lists, however, brings a new question to light: How much weight should these numbers carry when deciding whom to vote for as MVP?
This is a tough question to answer, and not necessarily one we can answer with numbers. Being a numbers person, this will forever bother me.
The simple answer is: Monetary value should play into deciding MVP votes, but very little. We should base our decisions about 90 percent on on-field performance, five percent on playoff influence (playing for a playoff team) and five percent on monetary value.
Remember, these numbers I gave are purely arbitrary. This is how I would base my votes if given a vote for MVP. You decide how much each of these elements matter to you when you make your choices.
The easy thing to do would be to name Jacoby Ellsbury as AL MVP and Andrew McCutchen at NL MVP, since both are putting up stellar on-field numbers and both are incredible values to their team monetarily.
That would be irresponsible though, as McCutchen does not (and Ellsbury, well we’ll see) meet my qualification of being on a playoff team. I am open to naming players not on playoff teams as MVP, but in my eyes they would need to be putting up near-historical numbers.
For AL MVP my vote would have to go to Justin Verlander. Let’s glance at these numbers for Verlander really quick: 8.96 K/9 rate, 2.04 BB/9 rate, 0.86 HR/9 rate and an FIP of 2.99. He’s tossing 25.8% of his pitches for strikes and stranding 80.2% of his base runners.
These numbers are insane. On top of the numbers though is the novelty; we almost never get the opportunity of having a pitcher with MVP worthy honors. The last pitcher to win the AL MVP was Dennis Eckersley in 1999; you have to go back even further to find the last starting pitcher to win the AL MVP, Roger Clemens in 1986.
Verlander and Doug Fister (miss you, Doug) are, in my opinion, the best 1-2 pitching combo in the AL right now. You take Verlander out of that rotation and you have a borderline playoff team at best.
In the NL my MVP vote belongs to Justin Upton, as much as it might kill me being a Giants fan. The Diamondbacks have put together an impressive season and most of that has rested on the shoulders of Upton’s bat and glove.
Again, a quick look at Upton’s numbers should tell the story. At the plate: hitting .291 with an on base percentage of .371, 31 home runs, 88 RBIs and a 8.9% walk rate, all while keeping a career low strikeout rate of 18.6%.
In the field Upton has posted a 10.1 UZR this season, that’s the thirteenth best UZR in all of baseball.
Combine all this with the fact that the Diamondbacks are only paying him $4.25 million this season (13.7% of what he’s worth to the team) and you have a player putting out value at such a rate you’d be hard pressed justifying not making him MVP.
So there you have it, my AL/NL MVP votes. Like my selections? Hate my selections? Want more info on how I got these numbers? Drop me a comment down below or shoot us an email, located under our contact page.