On the last day of the SBN awards, we have the NL MVP.
That 8th place vote for Ryan Howard, yeah, that's me. How about the fourth place vote for Jason Bay that's just hanging out there? Me again. Fifth place for Bronson Arroyo, you guessed it; I'm apparently Arroyo's biggest fan. How did I end up with such a unique ballot? It's what happens when I tried to quantify the nebulous quantity of "most valuable".
When I went to fill out my ballot, I wanted a system that would be as non-biased as possible. Also, I wanted to attempt to make the distinction between "most valuable" and "best" that's used to justify why the best player can lose the MVP award a good deal of the time. Eventually, I came up with this system:
-Players are eligible even if their team was terrible.
-80% of the players value would be equal to their Wins Above Replacement Player
-The remaining 20% comes from how their most likely replacement would have performed in the same number of plate appearances. To do this, I took the WARP that the replacement accumulated over the season, then assumed they would have performed at the rate projected by PECOTA at the beginning of the season. PECOTA isn't perfect, but I'd rather use those numbers than assume Mike Lamb would hit .307/.361/.475 in a full season. I then subtract this projection from the player's WARP, to get a final "value" score.
This method generated the following ballot:
The most bizarre thing about my ballot is Ryan Howard sitting in eight when no one else had him lower than fourth. While Howard and Pujols had nearly equal contributions with the bat, Pujols supplemented his WARP with Gold Glove defense. Meanwhile, Howard's rate2 of 90 meant that he cost his team over a win and a half with his glove. This creates a nearly three win rift between the two players, which was the difference between Pujols winning the MVP by a good measure, and Howard landing in eight. The other two surprise names are Jason Bay, and Bronson Arroyo. Bay was the biggest beneficiary of my method, vaulting from sixth to fourth since Nate McLouth had almost 300 plate appearances and contributed a zero WARP. Bay accomplished this with another stellar offensive season (.286/.396/.532) along with a 109 rate2, he was well deserving of his spot on the ballot. Arroyo is another story. He put up a 9.0 WARP by pitching 240 innings of 3.40 ERA ball in a launching pad, so he certainly had value. However, his peripherals were terrible making his DIPS ERA was almost a full run higher than his actual ERA. I was tempted to knock him off the ballot, but whether he deserved to or not, Arroyo did make a very important contribution to the Reds. In the end, Arroyo stayed on the ballot, but I left his name off the Cy Young vote.
Finally, some various results from my MVP system:
Alfonso Soriano just missed the ballot. He actually had the same WARP as Ryan Howard and was better than Roy Oswalt, but since the Nationals hate Ryan Church, he was listed as Soriano's replacement instead of being a starter, so Soriano was cut down a few pegs. No other player was anywhere near the ballot.
The two Dodgers I looked at, Rafael Furcal and J.D. Drew, finished 19th and 20th respectively in my system. They were beat out by players including Orlando Hudson, Adrian Gonzalez, and Freddy Sanchez.
Jose Reyes, who finished 9th in the actual balloting, didn't even come close to the seven WARP cutoff I had in my system. His 89 rate2 dropped him almost two full wins. I can easily see Reyes taking the Derek Jeter route in his career, receiving multiple gold gloves despite being one of the worst defenders in baseball.
So that will do it for the SBN awards, I hope they were either interesting or entertaining.