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You Da Man!
2004-09-16 21:39
by Will Carroll

The MVP vote is seldom done off, you know, logic or facts, but let's ignore that for a moment.

In the NL, Barry Bonds is so much better than everyone that it's simply .. well, it's nearly criminal. His current 130 VORP/15 WARP is well above anyone else. The second place player, Albert Pujols, is at 92. Where it gets interesting is that Pujols has two teammates right behind him. If there's a "anyone but Barry" movement, Pujols and Jim Edmonds (91.5 VORP) could get some attention. Also, Scott Rolen (73) will likely get votes, though his injury doesn't help.

There's going to be a lot of discussion that having three MVP candidates will work against all three, but it's really not as close as it appears. The split vote argument shouldn't work if the voters do a little homework (or read the guys doing their homework for them!)

WARP3 is a better tool for the discussion among the three great Cards, since it takes defense into account. The argument for Rolen and to a lesser extent Edmonds is defense. So, does Rolen (11.9, a career high) look better than Edmonds (13.0, a career high) or Pujols (10.6)? Certainly defense helps Edmonds more than most would expect and may remove the best argument for Rolen.

Edmonds is not only setting a career high in WARP and VORP, he's also, at age 34 and injury prone, on track to set a career high in Rate, a great defensive stat available on the great DT cards at BP. (Before you start arguing DT vs. UZR vs. anything, DT Defensive Stats are available now and updated daily. There's value in that.)

I'm hardly going to argue Edmonds over Bonds or even Edmonds over Pujols, but the three Cards aren't nearly as tightly bunched as many would make you think. Also interesting, J.D. Drew is in the mix (though it was still a smart trade.)

Also interesting is the AL race. The NL has the top TEN by VORP, but then the AL has nine out of the next ten. At the top of the charts are two names that will likely get little consideration from the voters, Melvin Mora and Travis Hafner.

Ichiro will get more consideration than he should, putting up only a 5.0 WARP. I think the award may come down to who puts his team solidly in the playoffs or, rather, who gets the image of beast. Manny Ramirez (8.3 WARP) and Gary Sheffield (8.6 - and I think we should all adopt Alex Belth's nickname for him, "The Punisher") will get plenty of media attention with Vladimir Guerrero as the wildcard ... if he gets his team the wild card. Should Mora (8.1) and Hafner (7.6) deserve more consideration? You decide.

No, I'm not considering pitchers in this discussion, but this quick and dirty analysis shows that there is room for discussion as these players take their teams into the last few weeks.

Except in the NL. Just go ahead and give that award - and pretty much all of them - to Bonds.

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