About half of Jon Heyman's mailbag column today involves criticism of his MVP and Cy Young choices by statheads, and Heyman responds in crotchy old man manner:
-- Carolyn, Boca Raton, Fla.
Actually, you're right. That's exactly what I did, and how I came up with Prince Fielder as my NL MVP leader. His "good'' year is actually more than good, and the Brewers are right in the thick of the playoff race. While I understand your sentiments, I am more interested in "wins created'' than runs created. And the day I consider VORP is the day I get out of the business. The idea of the MVP is to honor the player who has had the biggest positive impact on the pennant races. I have been a big champion for Ramirez, but I would not consider him a true candidate to win the MVP award.
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Also, VORP (one of those spooky, newfangled computer stats) has Kelvim Escobar first, followed by Santana, Bedard and Haren. Beckett is a distant seventh.
--Rob, Southington, Conn.
There goes that VORP again. When the standings are determined by VORP, I think I will take it more seriously. But as you know, they still go by wins and losses.
Here's the irony.
Prince Fielder's team isn't even doing particularly well right now. Prince Fielder's team, in many years, wouldn't really be a playoff contender. But because the rest of the N.L. Central has been terrible, the .500 Brewers are hanging around and are still in the race.
By Heyman's logic, if the Cubs were 10 games up on the Brewers, Fielder, his top choice, wouldn't be a viable MVP candidate. But since no one has been able to pull away, and the Brewers are 1.5 games back, Fielder deserves the MVP.
I guess the problem with David Wright --a guy who, at .319/.413/.535, 28 of 32 on steals, and quality defense at third base, has been clearly better than Prince Fielder this year -- is that the Mets are far enough ahead in the N.L. East, his performance isn't having enough of an impact on a pennant race.
By Heyman's logic, the best player in baseball on a team that wins 110 games and is 20 games up on the 2nd place team is less deserving of an MVP vote than a decent player on a team that makes it into the playoffs by 1 game.
I'd also like Heyman to explain why, if he won't take VORP seriously because "they still go by wins and losses" in the standings, and not VORP, why he considers anything other than a pitcher's won/loss record in voting for the Cy Young Award. I mean, it isn't as if you should look at ERA, or strikeouts, or anything like that, since they go by wins and losses, not ERA, in the standings.
This is a perfect example of why the BBWAA awards have became such a traveshamockery.