...er, MVP. I'll try to crank out these awards diaries in the coming week before the real hardware is handed out. This one is drained somewhat of its drama. Again I'm looking at AVG/OBP/SLG, OPS+, Win Shares and Runs Created from THT, VORP and WARP1 from BP and JinAZ's fielding translations of the Hardball Times' data (and everyone should check out his recent comparison of the various fielding measures). There's no defense rating for catchers or DHs, and I'll mention the stolen base numbers where applicable.
10 candidates in alphabetical order:
302/361/552 OPS+ 136 RC 112 VORP 67.3 DEF +33.0 WS 26 WARP 10.7 SB/CS 26/1
About a month ago a poster on BBTF pointed out Granderson's 10 most important at bats of the year (based on win probability added). They were all in the 8th or 9th inning, men on base in close games, etc. He was 0-10. This wasn't due to some innate unclutchness, but an inability to hit lefties. Nearly all the at bats were against left specialists. VS R: 337/393/621, VS L 160/225/269. You should never let Granderson beat you in the later innings because a lefty turns him into a very bad player. It will be interesting to see if he improves on this going forward.
This is all my way of needling Zach. Despite the huge platoon split his boy had a tremendous season.
324/403/547 OPS+ 147 RC 124 VORP 62.6 DEF -15.4 WS 31 WARP 6.1
Will this be Vlad's last appearance on a list like this? He doesn't steal bases anymore and while he still uncorks that powerful arm occasionally his defense is suffering. He battled injuries to put up a solid offensive year. His perineal MVP-ness is bolstered by the Angels not having any other major offensive threats. Maybe that will change this offseason if they sign a certain somebody.
351/396/431 OPS+ 122 RC 133 VORP 63.5 DEF +33.0 WS 33 WARP 63.5 SB/CS 37/8
Players like Ichiro are always hurt by OPS comparisons, so it's no biggie that he easily brings up the rear in that category. His successful switch to centerfield improves the value of his strong defense. And he's still swiping bags. I'm thinking his skills will add a long tail to his decline phase.
301/374/505 OPS+ 127 RC 109 VORP 55.0 WS 31 WARP 7.0
Pretty solid campaign for an Indians team that needed it with Travis Hafner's year long slump. Unfortunately for V Mart another catcher overshadows his performance.
363/434/595 OPS+ 167 RC 154 VORP 87.8 DEF -4.9 WS 36 WARP 8.6
Second in Win Shares, Runs Created and VORP. This would be an easy choice for MVP in most years (although the Tigers' faltering could hurt him).
332/445/621 OPS+ 171 RC 136 VORP 86.2 WS 29 WARP 8.2
Yet another year with him near the top of this discussion. Despite his drop in home runs the advance metrics show this to be one of his best years ever.
282/411/627 OPS+ 172 RC 117 VORP 68.5 DEF 11.5 WS 30 WARP 9.5
The year's biggest surprise didn't have a starting job coming out of spring training. He finished second in OPS+ and third in WARP. He was the undrafted fantasy baseball MVP, but where will you take him next year?
338/426/543 OPS+ 154 RC 100 VORP 73.4 WS 26 WARP 8.2
Classic late career, contract year resurgance. Strangely his RC is well below many who aren't on this list (Raul Ibanez?) and his WS total ties for last among my contenders. But a 154 OPS+ out of a catcher will always be incredibly valuable.
314/422/645 OPS+ 177 RC 160 VORP 96.6 DEF -5.8 WS 39 WARP 11.0 SB/CS 24/4
First in OPS, OPS+, SLG, HR, Runs, RBI, RC, WS, WARP, VORP, adjusted batting runs, batting wins, times on base, power/speed number and a hundred other metrics that haven't been invented yet. His defense wasn't too hot though. It will be interesting if Boras markets him as a shortstop.
277/390/462 OPS+ 122 RC 124 VORP 53.8 DEF -18.9 WS 31 WARP 6.4 SB/CS 33/10
A down year for Grady, but he played 162 games and led the league in plate appearances. There's value in that and the advanced metrics show that. Was his defense really that bad?