FanDuel - WFBC

October 02, 2007

Karma is the key for Rockies play-in to playoffs: The gods smiled on this one. The Rockies had to win 13 out of 14 just to get to this game. They won it in the bottom of the 13th by scoring three runs against the most successful closer in the history of the game. The winning run came on a controversial play at the plate. Of course it was scored by Matt Holliday, who just moments before got RBI #137, allowing him to claim the RBI title from Ryan Howard. Some think he's the MVP, and if he wasn't in that game (and the whole month of September), when the team needed him most, then the term has no meaning. Holliday could've been the goat after misplaying a fly ball that allowed the Pads to tie it up in the 8th. Pads fans no doubt are unhappy with how the play at the plate was called, but maybe it makes up the for home-run-no-it's-a-double that was taken from Brad Hawpe, the third time THIS MONTH(!) the Rox were robbed of a home run by a bad call.

posted by drumdance to baseball at 11:30 AM - 64 comments

Thank God the rockies won so we didnt have to spend the post season hearing about Milton Bradleys knee and how he was roobbed of his playoff dream. Good job Colorado

posted by Debo270 at 11:40 AM on October 02

Trevor Hoffman is a stand-up guy. He's taking an awful lot of heat for losing a game in which Jake Peavy gave up six runs in 6+ innings. Only one of the eight teams from last year's post-season is going back again this year. If you're still rooting for a change in the financial structure of baseball -- like a salary cap -- you can pretty much forget it.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 11:42 AM on October 02

Very classy the way Hoffman handle the postgame.

posted by drumdance at 11:48 AM on October 02

If you're still rooting for a change in the financial structure of baseball -- like a salary cap -- you can pretty much forget it. And that's sad, b/c there are two teams that buy their way in each year. I guess the other six can just rotate through each year. As for MVP, Holliday is extremely deserving, but Jimmy Rollins is definitely in the running. He started all 162 games at shortstop, (only three NL players started every game this year), and he still only had only 10 errors all season. That's pretty impressive at shortstop. He also became the 4th player ever to get 20-20-20-20 thing and he carried the team when Howard and Utley were injured. I'd vote for Holliday, but if Rollins gets it, it's not like the "term has no meaning." As for the game last night, I like Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus' take. It's subscription, but you get the gist from the free part.

posted by SummersEve at 12:01 PM on October 02

b/c there are two teams that buy their way in each year Nothing stopping other teams from doing the same. Boston's not even a big city, relatively-speaking. Have the Dodgers, Cubs, etc. explain why they're not buying their way in.

posted by yerfatma at 12:22 PM on October 02

I'm a Padres fan, and with the way the Rockies have been playing, and with two of our key guys out, I'd much rather see the Rockies in the postseason than the Pads, who would most likely just limp to another drubbing in the division series.

posted by LionIndex at 12:27 PM on October 02

And that's sad, b/c there are two teams that buy their way in each year. Except for last year.

posted by justgary at 12:41 PM on October 02

I'm still waiting for Matt Holliday to touch home plate.

posted by wfrazerjr at 12:49 PM on October 02

Have the Dodgers, Cubs, etc. explain why they're not buying their way in. There's a pretty decent case to be made that the Cubs did buy their way in this year, after a summer in which over $100MM in free agent commitments were made. That said, I don't get all exercised about the economics of the game. Colorado and the Diamondbacks are largely doing this on homegrown talent that's relatively cheap, the Phillies have 3 MVP-caliber performers in their infield that have come up through the system, the Angels have done a good job developing in-house talent, and even the Yankees and Red Sox this year are getting key contributions from players who came up recently through their respective farm systems. Brewers came very close and may be favorites next year in the NL Central with a largely homegrown roster. Etc., etc. Nothing stopping other teams from doing the same. Boston's not even a big city, relatively-speaking. I think this is a bit misleading. Boston has a wide following throughout much of New England beyond metro Boston, which results in greater value for the TV rights which leads to more revenues for the club. The relevant media market is much larger than just Boston. Some teams simply do not and will not have access to those revenue streams. All teams could theoretically do more to build the brand and put an attractive product on the field in the hopes of taking more money from ticket sales (as do the Red Sox), so it could be seen as a more level playing field from that perspective, but that's only part of the revenue puzzle. Until the Pittsburgh Pirates get a Roman Abramovich-style owner, they're not going to be able to spend like the Red Sox or Yankees.

posted by holden at 12:50 PM on October 02

Dodgers tried it for a while and found they weren't very good at it. I shouldn't have made that comment. I was trying to make a back door observation about the parity in baseball. I didn't mean to turn this into a discussion on finances. Forbes laid out a pretty good case for why your argument, Seve, while popular, doesn't align with the financial reality of the game. Along the lines of yerfatma's response, there is a lot of revenue out there not being spent. I'm a Padres fan, and with the way the Rockies have been playing, and with two of our key guys out, I'd much rather see the Rockies in the postseason than the Pads, who would most likely just limp to another drubbing in the division series. The playoff game hurt the Padres' chances of advancing a lot more than the Rockies. The Padres had to burn their ace for the game, while the Rockies went with their number... uh... well, it's hard to say, but not their ace anyway.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 12:50 PM on October 02

You're right, and I shouldn't have made my comment either, especially w/o backing it up or explaining it. Not the time nor place. Withdrawn. Let's talk MVP.

posted by SummersEve at 12:58 PM on October 02

As a Rox fan, it thrills me to see this. This is only the second post-season showing for Colorado (the first being a wild card slot in the 1995 strike-shortened season, which I'm not sure really counts!). They were beaten by Atlanta in that one (in 4 games) - I'm cautiously optimistic that they will do a little better this year.

posted by cobrajet at 01:02 PM on October 02

This is only the second post-season showing for Colorado (the first being a wild card slot in the 1995 strike-shortened season, which I'm not sure really counts!). They were beaten by Atlanta in that one (in 4 games) - I'm cautiously optimistic that they will do a little better this year. I only got to see the Rockies when they played the Yankees and Red Sox this year, and I have to say, I like 'em. They hit the ball like crazy and their pitchers have the goofiest stuff going. It's a bit of a different game, and I think it will be fun to watch in the playoffs.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:11 PM on October 02

Every NL team in a Cinderella, the Rockies and Phillies more than the Cubs and D'backs. I have lived in Denver, and there is magic in this team. As for the Dodgers, being in the Valley, in L.A., I can tell you all bets are off until 2010, at th earliest. This team is in a mess, they are in a bottomless pit they can't get out of. I am optimistic about the Rockies and Cubs in the playoffs. On the AL, side I am optimistic about the Angels and Indians. I will say that, as I view it today, Colorado vs. Cleveland ina World Series is a very real possibility. Again, as happy as I am for the Nl and all the AL teams except NY, because that was Detroit's slot, my heart at the same time burns for my Dodgers.

posted by SFValley_Dude at 01:17 PM on October 02

SummersEve: Let's talk MVP.
Well, I don't know about you, but I think it's a toss-up in the AL. :) Kidding, of course. A-Rod had this award (again!) even if the Yankees hadn't made the playoffs, he was so above and beyond everyone else. However, I think Ortiz deserves consideration, even though he won't win: he's been a bridesmaid of the AL MVP for several years, yet for several years he's been a clutch hitter (which I don't believe in, except for Ortiz :) ), an offensive powerhouse, and the clear leader of that team. It somehow seems a shame if Ortiz never gets the MVP because he was always #2 every year, although I think his time will come soon enough. Sadly, there are always those idiot voters who refuse to vote for either pitchers or DH's for the MVP (why these people remain eligible to vote is beyond me; if they for example stated they refused to vote for Dominicans, they'd be rebuked by the BBWAA). The guy is now a few great years short of Hall-of-Fame election, as far as I can tell. For the NL, it's clear that with no A-Rod like statistical outputs the winner will have to come from a playoff team. I think Ryan Howard won't win on the Phillies (since he won last year) but "team leader" sentiment notwithstanding, it'd be hard to vote for Jimmy Rollins. A good shortstop, a decent hitter, but not even the most dominant player on his team. For the D'Backs, I can't even think of anyone off the top of my head who deserves consideration; they had the best record in the NL, and yet I can't name one spark plug for their success. Same with the Cubs- Soriano and Ramirez had good years, but weren't overwhelming. I think drumdance is right: the voters cast their ballots today, and given that Matt Holliday has two of the three triple crown leads (avg and RBI) like A-Rod, given that his heroics last night- botched fly ball notwithstanding- helped win their playoff spot, and given the lack of a truly stand-out player from the other teams except the two Phillie players who'll likely split votes between them, I honestly think the voters will pick Holliday for MVP- Coors inflated stats be damned. Christ, who saw THAT one coming at the beginning of September?! :)

posted by hincandenza at 01:38 PM on October 02

Does that RBI count as 137 or is this considered a playoff game?

posted by HATER 187 at 01:45 PM on October 02

The playoff game hurt the Padres' chances of advancing a lot more than the Rockies. The Padres had to burn their ace for the game, while the Rockies went with their number... uh... well, it's hard to say, but not their ace anyway Exactly. After Hairston hit the home run, I was simultaneously jubilant and filled with dread at the prospect of having to play the Phillies with Peavy already burned.

posted by LionIndex at 01:52 PM on October 02

it counts as a regular-season game

posted by ajaffe at 01:55 PM on October 02

One thing about Coors Field - stats are still a little inflated there, but nothing like they used to be. Pitchers' balls don't break as hard as at sea level, so there's a slight batter advantage, but the humidor has pretty much eliminated the launching pad effect. The Rox bullpen had one of the best ERAs in baseball this year, especially from June on. BTW I didn't mean to suggest Rollins and others don't deserve the MVP, but last night's heroics will be fresh on voters minds, and it helps that it was the only game in MLB.

posted by drumdance at 02:05 PM on October 02

Do you think Ortiz is more deserving than Magglio Ordonez Hal?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:13 PM on October 02

Corrections: It was Garrett Atkins, not Brad Hawpe, who was robbed of a home run. And it it didn't happen three times this past month. It happened three times this year including last night and also including a September 10 game that cost them two runs. They lost that game by -- you guessed it -- two runs. More info here.

posted by drumdance at 02:14 PM on October 02

The case for Jimmy Rollins. Rollins is the first major leaguer to have at least 200 hits, 15 triples, 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases in one season. He is also only the third everyday shortstop to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in a season, joining Barry Larkin in 1996 and Alex Rodriguez in 1998. Rollins ranks first in the N.L. in runs scored (136), at-bats (704), multihit games (62) and triples (19). He began the day tied for second in hits with 207 before adding to his total and drawing within one at-bat of the single-season record of 705, set by Willie Wilson of Kansas City in 1980. “Thirty homers, Gold Glove at shortstop, steals bases, hits for average — yeah, I’d say you could make a case he’s as good as there is,” Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox said of Rollins. My view on this today is the same as it was yesterday. If the Rockies lost last night, Rollins would win the MVP. But because they won (and additionally, because Holliday was involved so directly in the victory) it will probably go to Holliday. I have to say, though, that Rollins candidacy is better than many people are giving him credit for. He had a seriously awesome season.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 02:56 PM on October 02

Correction to drumdance's correction: The ball hit the top of the wall and bounced back into play. Atkins was not robbed of a home run...the call on the field was correct. Can't speak to the September 10th one...didn't see it.

posted by TheQatarian at 03:23 PM on October 02

The Crafty Sousepaw: I completely agree with you; as of Sunday, Rollins was the likely NL MVP (and very likely may still be) for having a 4x20 year, at shortstop, with that pre-season Namath-esque guarantee of a playoff spot. But after Monday? A lot of voters are going to be noticing Halliday, his near-triple-crown numbers, and his team's playoff berth. He iwll be fresh in their minds. Ying Yang Mafia: I do. I know the MVP is not officially a "cumulative" award, but like the Oscars often a historically deserving person will win in a weaker year even if it wasn't their best performance, simply because the voters see it as a chance to reward someone they feel has repeatedly been deserving. I.e., if you look at the last few years, Ortiz has been a deserving winner each year- he's finished 5th, 4th, 2nd, and 3rd the last 4 years. Last year he hit 54 HR, 137RBI, yet finished 3rd in the voting- just like the Sox finished the division. So while I'm not a strict "the MVP can only come from a division winner" believer, it'd be hard to say Magglio Ordonez deserves 2nd place more than Ortiz this year, or that Magglio is more deserving on a non-playoff team than Ortiz was last year. Compare below. Theoretically, David Ortiz was injured this year- but looking at that line, you'd be hard pressed to see how, other than his HR numbers being down: he had 29 doubles and 54 HR last year, effectively reversing those this year yet with a much higher average and OPS. Injury or not, I think Ortiz had a better year than Ordonez: more power, more walks and a higher OBP, and a career high with the 5th best average in the league. Ordonez had basically a few more RBI and a higher average, on a G______AB_____R______H______2B___3B_____HR ___RBI____SB_____BB____BA_____OBP_____SLG 149____549____116____182____52____1 ____35____117____3_____111___.332____.445____.621 157____595____117____216____54____0____ 28____139____4______76___.363____.434____.595

posted by hincandenza at 03:42 PM on October 02

Who cares about the race for AL MVP Runner Up?

posted by bender at 04:03 PM on October 02

I do.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:05 PM on October 02

Hal I am interested to see who contributed a greater percentage to their teams run production. I couldn't tell you for sure but if I had to guess I'd say Ordonez. Plus, Magglio contributes on the defensive end which can't be said for Ortiz.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:06 PM on October 02

Oh no, not the "a DH can't be MVP" wank again...

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:46 PM on October 02

If a SS and a DH were head to head for MVP and had the same, or very similar numbers, under what justification would the DH get the nod as MVP? Is the only influence on Value offensive production? Shouldn't defensive contributions be figured in?

posted by apoch at 04:51 PM on October 02

The DH can be an MVP - but the thing I take away from Ortiz this year, is that his avg./OBP./OPS. line seems more impressive than his actual season. He certainly didn't seem to be the dominating force I remembered from years past - though the totals would suggest otherwise. Hmmm. Maybe the stats don't tell the whole story all the time. I for one think Ordonez' year is the greater anomoly and more impressive. As for NL - Rollins' has had a helluva year - but shouldn't being on the Phillies, with Utley hitting behind you and Howard thereafter affect that? I think the MVP was probably Jake Peavy (NL triple crown). I can hit better than half those Padres and they almost made it. Now, that won't happen (and maybe shouldn't) so I think that Holliday - despite his home/road splits will take it, and he's pretty deserving. Rollins puts those numbers up on any other team save the Mets and it's a no brainer. But remember, Curtis Granderson's numbers are pretty fucking close and no one is talking about him like he's an MVP.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:56 PM on October 02

He certainly didn't seem to be the dominating force I remembered from years past - though the totals would suggest otherwise. This comes up every season for some player. Logically, the suggestion here is Ortiz managed to hit 30+ home runs and 50+ doubles all in garbage time and that his league-leading (I think) OBP happened mainly in games that didn't count. I find it difficult to support that kind of non-random distribution. He didn't have many walk-off home runs. That's a hell of a complaint to lodge. Hal I am interested to see who contributed a greater percentage to their teams run production. Ortiz Runs created: 156 RC/9: 10.8 Ordonez Runs created: 152 RC/9: 10 Career highs for both guys in Runs Created.

posted by yerfatma at 05:14 PM on October 02

As good as Holliday was yesterday, let's not forget that Rollins came up huge in his team's final game as well. He went 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, an RBI. His hit in the first inning, followed by steals of both second and third, put that first run on the board. His 20th triple came in his final at-bat -- a record-setting 716th of the season -- and the RBI on the play made it a 4-run game, sealing the victory and the Phillies playoff berth. Also: no totally awful plays in the field! I could entertain the idea that Holliday had the better year, but not because of game 163. Rollins' 162nd beat it.

posted by cl at 05:24 PM on October 02

Glad the rockies are in. Padres seem to fold every time in payoffs, however, boy was that one of the most exciting games I seen in a long time (decided to watch sports again).

posted by brickman at 05:34 PM on October 02

TheQatarian, the top of the wall is flat. The physics are obvious - it can't rebound back into the field without hitting something behind the wall. The people sitting there showed it to reporters:

Selby indicated the ball did not leave the park but hit the fence above the yellow outline, which would make it a homer. "It was a home run," said Selby, pointing to a spot on the barrier where the green paint was chipped. "It hit right here where these markings are."

posted by drumdance at 05:38 PM on October 02

Atkins' ball certainly appeared to be a homer to me. I don't know how else you could explain the way it bounced back if it didn't ricochet off something just beyond the fence. Oh well. I was wondering how many times Atkins' spot in the lineup was going to keep coming up in crucial situations after they removed him for a pinch runner earlier. It had to be killing him to be sitting on the bench during the extra innings. It was a exciting game, and I came really close to turning it off when the Padres took the lead in the top of the 13th. Glad I didn't, but watching Hoffman implode in another big moment is hard to take. As successful as he has been throughout his career, he will always be linked to his failures at key times. As for the MVP vote, I am a huge proponent of the value of fielding in an all-around player. Rollins gets my vote for that reason. Holliday's offensive numbers are tremendous, but even A-Rod over in the AL gets bonus points (not that he needs them this year) for his fielding. He botched some plays this year, of course, but he also made many, many tremendous ones throughout the season. Having to come through all throughout a long season at either shortstop or third base makes players like Rollins and A-Rod even more impressive.

posted by dyams at 05:56 PM on October 02

"It was a home run," said Selby, pointing to a spot on the barrier where the green paint was chipped. "It hit right here where these markings are." Then added: "back and to the left...back and to the left...back and to the left..."

posted by chris2sy at 06:14 PM on October 02

I don't know enough about Rollins to comment on his importance to the club, but Troy Tulowitki's numbers stand up very well next to Rollins', both offensively & defensively. Defensively, Tulo turned more double plays and had a slightly higher fielding %. They both had 11 errors. Offensively, Rollins had more home runs and a slightly higher batting average, but Tulo had more RBIs and a higher on base %. Not bad for a rookie shortstop! :)

posted by drumdance at 06:27 PM on October 02

I really hope to hell that we are not coming to the point that the league MVP awards go the way of the Heisman Trophy and go to the best (or most hyped) player on the best (or most hyped) team and everything comes down to how you did in nationally televised games when all the voters were watching. The Heisman has become the biggest joke in sports. Not that Holliday doesn't deserve the award. I just would hate to see one big game overshadow what he and Rollins did over 162.

posted by gradioc at 06:28 PM on October 02

Oh no, not the "a DH can't be MVP" wank again No, a DH CAN be the MVP, but he has to put up numbers that are FAR, FAR superior to anyone else in the league before I'll give him a chance to win the award. Ignoring the defensive aspect of the game when determining "value" for a player is simply a bad idea. Can a DH win a "batting-only" award (like the Rocket Richard "top goal-scorer" award in the NHL)? Sure. But if you are handing out the "most valuable", you can't arbitrarily decide that defense has no value.

posted by grum@work at 07:07 PM on October 02

Hmmm. Maybe the stats don't tell the whole story all the time. Carefully there, Weedy, or The Mighty Grum shall smite you, leaving nothing but a... uh... smoking pile of, um, weed.

posted by cybermac at 12:28 AM on October 03

Grum, you're wrong to suggest the numbers have to be "far, far" superior; what about the possibility that someone else is playing their position... but poorly? For example, in those core years when the trinity of shortstops were first emerging- Garciaparra, Rodriguez, and Jeter- statheads frequently noted that, Tim McCarver's idiotic ramblings notwithstanding, Jeter was one of the worst fielding shortstops in the league. Inexplicably, it was A-Rod who moved to 3rd when he went to New York. So is it "more valuable" to play sub-par shortstop than average 3rd base, etc? How about if the comparison is to a player in an "easy" position, such as LF? Yes, we can't pretend fielding doesn't exist- but we also shouldn't arbitrarily give defense equal value, especially since our ability to measure defensive value is much weaker than offensive value. Someone could be an actual liability in the field, yet come MVP debate time people would pull out the "... and he plays _____, too!", even if they aren't that good, or play an "easy" position. Hence lil_brown_bat's bemoaning the "DH can't be MVP wank". Simply putting on a glove doesn't instantly confer value- in some cases, it might remove value! What you're missing, grum, is the possibility that someone playing a fielding position while putting up decent offensive numbers is actually at or below league average or even near "replacement level player". I mean, let's not pretend that David Ortiz couldn't play first base or left field, possibly not far from league average, but would that inherently make him significantly more valuable than he is now? Finding even a good defensive shortstop or centerfielder isn't that hard- finding one who can hit is only valuable in that it means you don't have to "waste" his spot in the batting order on a banjo hitting gloveman- it's valuable in the GM's world, in terms of filling up your order with offense and defense, because finding people who can play left field decently is easier than finding great hitting catchers. Anyone who watched Manny Ramirez patrol left field knows that anyone in the league can physically play any position if they had to, but it's a special focus to become very good at the more difficult ones. I haven't heard it said that Magglio Ordonez is some wizard with the glove- he appears to be an okay right fielder, at best- so why should we value his marginal outfield work any more than a DH? The DH for the Tigers is Gary Sheffield; basically, if Ordonez became the DH and Sheffield the RF (a position he's played in the past) does it really make that big a difference? If not, then how can we give Ordonez major credit for playing RF? Ordonez is in RF because he can play RF "at least slightly better than Gary Sheffield". I guess my question is, "Just how much is defense- or the lack of it- worth?". Win shares attempts to answer that, and usually finds that defensive players are not generating huge numbers of wins with their glove- it's far overshadowed by their offense. Win shares and other systems also don't show negative values- i.e., players who are actually worse than putting a replacement-level player on the field don't lose win shares. If Matt Holliday played every game of the season like he played last night, he'd technically be allowing a run to score every game through sloppy play (albeit just like RBI, it's a circumstantial stat), but assessed no statistical penalty.

posted by hincandenza at 12:33 AM on October 03

Anent the Padres. In April I predicted, privately, that they would finish third due to new manager, some aging members and few proven hitters. I picked Arizona and Dodgers ahead of them. They ended up much closer to first than I imagined and Bud Black could be considered Manager of the Year for what he did with this group. They were fun to watch, unpredictable, frustrating, inconsistent and all that. They should be better next year, but so will the others, so who knows where they'll finish. The Rockies deserved to win that game...it was a continuation of their last 2 weeks and I was not comfortable after Hairston's homer. I bled for Hoffman, I suspect the fatigue factor, emotional and physiological, caught up with him along with others in the lineup.....they had played a helluva number of games in a row, a lot of them on the road ....he is a class act as are several of the team from Black on down.

posted by jazzdog at 02:02 AM on October 03

I mean, let's not pretend that David Ortiz couldn't play first base or left field, possibly not far from league average, but would that inherently make him significantly more valuable than he is now? Playing the field in the majority of games throughout the season vastly increases the risk of a player getting injured. Not taking anything away from Ortiz, but he only has to focus on hitting and can rest himself on the bench, or walk into the clubhouse for a while, whatever, instead of running around in the field. That really helps a big guy like him out when the season starts dragging into August and September. He can handle first base here and there, but don't go thinking that position, or left field, is a cake-walk. Can you imagine the ground a center fielder would have to cover with Ortiz in left? Wow. Just putting on a glove doesn't increase a player's worth, but doing it really well, overall, makes a full-time, two-way player much more valuable in my mind. Inexplicably, it was A-Rod who moved to 3rd when he went to New York. Do you really think any player, even A-Rod, was going to waltz into New York and make Derek Jeter have to change positions? I don't care how many plays Jeter blows in the field, he IS the Yankees, is the team captain, and is the most beloved player in recent Yankee history. A-Rod making the move, and making it with tremendous success (except for a rough spot in the '06 season) makes him even more valuable to any team.

posted by dyams at 07:09 AM on October 03

So where's Prince? Sans playoff appearance I didn't expect him to win but I was hoping he'd at least make the discussion. Braun's got ROY, right?

posted by tron7 at 09:10 AM on October 03

So is it "more valuable" to play sub-par shortstop than average 3rd base, etc? How about if the comparison is to a player in an "easy" position, such as LF? Hal, that's a great point. My response to that, I think, would be to expand a little on dyams' point. The DH has one job, hitting, which he does about once an hour during a game and then returns to the bench. A fielder has to withstand the rigors of playing his position and he doesn't have the opportunity to only focus mentally on one aspect of the game. Even if he was a league-average fielder, I think to be able to perform near equivalently on the offensive side to a DH with the additional workload is sufficient to push a position player over a DH. Shoot, Ortiz usually has the luxury of a couple of innings to go hit in the cage between at bats if he was so inclined. I do agree, though, that if the player is a terrible fielder that should be given more consideration than it is, largely because it's a more subjective element of the game that requires watching a player regularly to judge fairly. I also agree with you that Ortiz is in line for a "lifetime achievement" type of voting from the writers, but I don't think he will beat out Ordonez this year for the simple reason that the writers know he isn't likely to win and they won't see any great value in making sure he's second again rather than third. Ortiz will get those votes in a season that has no clear runaway favorite.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 10:14 AM on October 03

Back to the NL for a moment: I watched at least 140 Phillies games this year and I can assure you Rollins was by far the most dominant player. Utley was good, Howard was good (way too many K's), Rowand was extremely under-rated, and Burrell had a huge turn-around. But without Jimmy Rollins this is an average team that probably finishes third behind the Mets and Braves. Not that it should figure into the MVP debate, but Rollins is possibly the number one person responsible for the Phillies being good again. As a rookie, he came into a clubhouse with a toxic atmosphere and a "who cares?" attitude and started turning it around. Not only did he never lose his enthusiasm but he began lighting fires under his teammates. His numbers this year are impressive, and he has a great glove. He routinely gets to balls he has no rights getting. As for his offensive stats, the sub-.300 hurts, as does the sub-100 RBI total, but there are lot of "first-ever's" and "first-since's" when you hear people talk about him... SI.com: The switch-hitting leadoff man finished with a .296 batting average, 38 doubles, 20 triples, 30 homers, 41 steals, 94 RBIs and scored an NL-best 139 runs. He became the first player in major league history to have 30 doubles, 20 triples, 30 homers and 30 steals in one season - one of many accomplishments. No shortstop in the NL ever had more extra-bases hits (88) and only Alex Rodriguez had more (91) in 1996 with Seattle. And, while it seemed everyone around him was getting hurt, the durable Rollins played every game, becoming the first NL shortstop in 34 years to do so. I didn't get to see much of Holliday, but .340 with 36 homers and 137 RBI's is pretty amazing. Though I do see his home-away stats are drastically different. Rollins was very consistent home and away. I said above I'd vote for Holliday, today I'm leaning towards Rollins. I guess the case is there for both of them. Should be an intersting series.

posted by SummersEve at 10:21 AM on October 03

I can assure you Rollins was by far the most dominant player Not that I think stats are the only thing that matter, and I'll bow to your knowledge of your team, but he's 5th on the team according to OPS+ behind the 4 guys you mention and tied for 4th with Rowand for Runs Created per 9 innings, which accounts for Rollins' steals. Of course, he did play all 162 games at a very tough defensive position. I still don't know that he was "by far" the Phillies best.

posted by yerfatma at 11:16 AM on October 03

Not even going to try the stats v. reality thing with you guys because I'll lose. And I don't want to sound like the president of the Jimmy Rollins fan club. But I will stand by what I said. If you watched the games, you wouldn't think my statement is as odd as it sounds. This column kind of sucks -- especially the if the Rollins doesn't win part at the top -- but these quotes sum up how other players talk about him: When the infielders gathered on the mound, Rollins used to either say nothing or keep it light. These days, Phillies pitchers say, Rollins is more businesslike. "He gives you a scouting report, and I don't think he's been wrong yet," Kyle Lohse said. He's not above a stern lecture or two when it's needed. One pitcher who Rollins felt wasn't challenging hitters enough turned around to find the shortstop glaring at him, and Rollins said: Are you trying to walk him? "Look, we're trying to win," Rollins said. "We're trying to help the team win. I know what the hitter is thinking, what he's expecting. If I don't speak up, I'm not doing all I can to help us win." Just an example. Maybe I'm wrong, I just don't like going it on stats alone.

posted by SummersEve at 11:55 AM on October 03

Not taking anything away from Ortiz, but he only has to focus on hitting A fielder has to withstand the rigors of playing his position Setting the specific Ortiz/Ordonez debate aside for a minute, I'm a bit bewildered by this argument. I'm sure we all agree that a superb defensive player with MVP-caliber hitting numbers should be seen as more valuable than a MVP-caliber DH, for obvious reasons. However, dyams and Crafty seem to be asserting that DHs are inherently less valuable than position players simply because their job at the plate is "easier" than that of a position player. But should degree of difficulty really be a factor in deciding who is the Most Valuable Player? After all, what comes easily to one player may require hours of work for another, but we don't say "Gee, Player X really worked hard on properly fielding ground balls this year while the very gifted Player Y hardly ever did...so what if he has a bunch more errors, give him the Gold Glove for effort." All that matters is what actually transpires on the field, not how hard it was for a given player to produce his numbers. I think that if a DH has decidedly better hitting numbers than a position player, he shouldn't be docked points (so to speak) because it was "easier" for him to do it. His value to the team is what it is, and if the fielder in question didn't do anything above-average defensively, I don't understand why simply being stationed in the field made him more valuable to his team than the DH, whose numbers are better. The MVP award is, of course, often determined by very subjective criteria (such as getting along with the press), but in theory, it should be purely based upon Value - the winning player being the one who added the most value to his team above and beyond what an average player might have contributed. If a position player isn't contributing extra value in the field, why he should be considered more valuable merely because he is out there?

posted by Venicemenace at 12:13 PM on October 03

By the way, I probably shouldn't have put "easier" in quotes, since it implies that dyams or Crafty used that word - which they didn't - but in general I wasn't really responding directly to their comments, but more to what LBB would call the "DH can't be MVP wank". Just clarifying...

posted by Venicemenace at 12:20 PM on October 03

After all, what comes easily to one player may require hours of work for another, but we don't say "Gee, Player X really worked hard on properly fielding ground balls this year while the very gifted Player Y hardly ever did...so what if he has a bunch more errors, give him the Gold Glove for effort." I don't see how you got from quantity of effort given in a game to work ethic between games. I guess the two thoughts I have on this are: 1. I believe the Red Sox would be harmed less by dropping their DH and letting their pitcher hit than the Tigers would be by deciding to remove their right fielder and using two DH's, regardless of who the right fielder is. 2. With regard to your comment The MVP award is, of course, often determined by very subjective criteria (such as getting along with the press), but in theory, it should be purely based upon Value - the winning player being the one who added the most value to his team above and beyond what an average player might have contributed. I would respond that this "Value" you speak of is unquantifiable and misleading, and furthermore I bet I can convince you that you don't even believe what you just wrote. On the Red Sox, would you really rather replace Beckett or Okajima or Papelbon with an average player than Ortiz? Seriously, Okajima was a good deal more valuable (in my eyes) beyond the average set up guy than Ortiz was over the average DH -- where would the Sox be without that bridge to Papelbon? They were 48-18 in games in which Okajima appeared and the Red Sox finished 30 games over .500. Yet, I don't believe you think Okajima will or should get more votes than Papi come election time.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 01:15 PM on October 03

I don't really like the word "easier" being put into the argument, venice. I only believe playing in the field in a more-than-adequate fashion (not just "stationed" at a position) is absolutely crucial to team success, and a lack of ability of a player in the field can negatively impact their hitting ability. Last year when A-Rod was throwing the ball all over the stadium, don't you think that created a type of mental block while he was at the plate? Fielding is taken for granted quite a bit because the majority of major league players do it quite well, overall. Infielders, especially third basemen and shortstops, are expected to routinely play everything. If they boot more than their fair share of balls, the team suffers, alternatives are sought, and, if the player in question is a dangerous hitter, the team probably looks to DH them. I like the Yankees approach to the DH because it gives them a great deal of options. They've used Giambi, Damon, Matsui, etc. at different times, which adds to the teams flexibility. While no DH could challenge Ortiz, his situation may sometimes limit the team's flexibility of resting certain players but still allowing them to be in the batting order. Truthfully, I wish the DH was never instituted, but that train left the station long ago. The fact one league uses the DH, and one doesn't, speaks to something, but I'm not really sure what.

posted by dyams at 01:33 PM on October 03

Allow me to derail for a brief moment. Have the Dodgers, Cubs, etc. explain why they're not buying their way in. Dodgers tried it for a while and found they weren't very good at it. Truer words were never spoken. Kevin Malone's tenure as Dodger GM set the franchise back a decade. He signed some of the worst contracts of all time and managed to oversee the degradation of what was once a great farm system. As for the Dodgers, being in the Valley, in L.A., I can tell you all bets are off until 2010, at th earliest. This team is in a mess, they are in a bottomless pit they can't get out of. Not true. The Dodgers led the NL West for most of the year. Unfortunately, managements insistence on playing "proven veterans" over kids (from a rebuilt and robust farm system, THANK YOU LOGAN WHITE) caused a late season fade. If anything the team stands to get better next year for doing exactly what their division rivals Arizona and Colorado have done the past few years, playing the kids.

posted by lilnemo at 01:39 PM on October 03

As a rookie, he [Rollins] came into a clubhouse with a toxic atmosphere and a "who cares?" attitude and started turning it around. Not only did he never lose his enthusiasm but he began lighting fires under his teammates. That's a cool thing to hear. Similar things are being said about Tulowitzki here, though I don't think the Rockies clubhouse was really toxic so much as young & inexperienced. Maybe a Phillies/Rollins Rockies/Tulo rivalry thing will get going in the next few years. Re: the Dodgers trying to buy their way in. The Rox tried that a few years ago and it was a complete disaster. They paid huge bucks for Mike Hampton to come here and collapse and Denny Neagle to destroy his family with a $20 hooker. (Remember that?)

posted by drumdance at 05:02 PM on October 03

In his defense, Denny Neagle makes a great train noise.

posted by yerfatma at 05:16 PM on October 03

yerfatma, you know damn well if you're going to mention that you've got to post a link.

posted by lilnemo at 02:34 PM on October 04

Both MVP candidates discussed here already have homers today. Just, you know, to say.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 02:38 PM on October 04

Hmmm. Maybe the stats don't tell the whole story all the time. I'd lean towards the opposite. The stats do tell the whole story while the memory doesn't. Ortiz started off slow, and didn't have the home runs he did the past several years, or the walkoffs, but he had a monster year. Arod is the league MVP. I don't think that's debatable. But the whole year when the media discussed the runner-ups Ortiz was never included, and in the end his stats stack up quite well against any player other than Arod. In many ways, he's impressed me more this year than any other. With the exception of lowell he didn't have the protection he's had in years past. He hits against the shift, and he's been injured. And his stats are still huge. He started too late and will probably finish too early to make the HOF, but he's a HOF hitter. No, a DH CAN be the MVP, but he has to put up numbers that are FAR, FAR superior to anyone else in the league before I'll give him a chance to win the award. In all due respect to grum, I find that to be a pretty absurd statement. Should a good fielder receive an advantage over a DH? Yep, a big one. Should an average fielder receive an advantage over a DH? Yes. But how about a generic left fielder who is below average defensively. Not really. What if Ortiz is number one offensively and gimabi number 2 next year, but giambi is forced to play first. Does his stumbling and bumbling defense make him more valuable than Ortiz? What if Ortiz is forced to play first. Does his subpar defense make him more valuable? This idea that just playing defense of any kind at any position means a DH has to have FAR better statistics is a farce. It comes from fans and media that simply wouldn't vote for a DH for MVP, and if they're honest they'd admit that. Saying a DH can win but he has to have FAR better statistics is like the pretty girl saying you have a one in a million chance of her saying yes. It's a delusion. She's trying to be nice, and fair, and do the right thing. But you don't have a chance. But should degree of difficulty really be a factor in deciding who is the Most Valuable Player? And there's the other frustrating point when it comes to choosing an MVP. In this thread alone we've had comments talking about all around players, the difficulty of each role, and the fact that being an every day player leads to injury quicker. All basically true, and all having zero to do with the award. It doesn't matter if Ortiz is wheeled up to each at bat in a barcalounger, if he's the most valuable player in the league, he should get the award. The DH is a legit position and not excluded from the award. Fans and voters have trouble accepting the award as it is and bring their own biases to the table. A DH could have 80 home runs and there'd still be voters who would ignore him. I like the Yankees approach to the DH because it gives them a great deal of options. They've used Giambi, Damon, Matsui, etc. at different times, which adds to the teams flexibility. While no DH could challenge Ortiz, his situation may sometimes limit the team's flexibility of resting certain players but still allowing them to be in the batting order. The Yankee approach was one of necessity, not choice. Giambi had a bad season, Damon was injured, as was Matsui. If the Yankees could have Ortiz at DH, or a normal Giambi, they'd take them in a heart beat. The ability to rest players would be trivial and long forgotten.

posted by justgary at 05:21 PM on October 04

justgary: A DH could have 80 home runs and there'd still be voters who would ignore him.
And, just like the assclowns who didn't vote for Pedro Martinez as the MVP- even leaving him off the ballot altogether- anyone who didn't vote for an 80HR MVP should not be allowed to vote. Actually, that Pedro episode is instructive when it comes to the MVP, because I think it's the same people who dismiss the DH that also hold the "Pitchers shouldn't win the MVP, they already have one- the Cy Young award!" viewpoint. From Wiki's Pedro Martinez article (emphasis my own):
In 1999, Martínez delivered one of the greatest pitching seasons of all time, finishing 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts (earning the pitching Triple Crown), unanimously winning his second Cy Young Award (this time in the American League), and coming in second in the Most Valuable Player ballot. The MVP result was controversial, as Martínez received the most first-place votes of any player (8 of 28), but was totally omitted from the ballot of two sportswriters, New York's George King and Minneapolis' LaVelle Neal. The two writers argued that pitchers were not sufficiently all-around players to be considered. (However, George King had given MVP votes to two pitchers just the season before: Rick Helling and David Wells; King was the only writer to cast a vote for Helling, who had gone 20-7 with a 4.41 ERA and 164 strikeouts.) MVP ballots have ten ranked slots, and sportswriters are traditionally asked to recuse themselves if they feel they cannot vote for a pitcher. "It really made us all look very dumb," said Buster Olney, then a sportswriter for the New York Times. "People were operating under different rules. The question of eligibility is a very basic thing. People were determining eligibility for themselves." The Times does not permit its writers to participate in award voting.
What I find most interesting is that one of the writers who refused to vote for Pedro- where even putting him in the 10th place spot would have earned Pedro the MVP- had voted for two pitchers the year before. Again, as justgary describes when he says "Fans and voters have trouble accepting the award as it is and bring their own biases to the table", these people are hypocrites or liars, since they aren't being honest with the real reason they don't vote for a pitcher or DH as MVP.

posted by hincandenza at 07:36 PM on October 04

In this thread alone we've had comments talking about all around players, the difficulty of each role, and the fact that being an every day player leads to injury quicker. All basically true, and all having zero to do with the award. You say this as though the award has some concrete definition. It doesn't. There is no collective understanding of what it means. Some voters use it as an "Employee of the Year Award," and to them effort on the field and the rigor of their jobs does actually make a difference. And, again, if you want to hang on the word "value" and use the award as a measure of irreplacability and contribution toward winning games, well, again I say, on any team, failing to replace the DH at all (and forcing the pitcher to hit) gives any team a better chance of winning than failing to replace any position player in the field and using a second DH. And again, I would argue that no individual hitter on the Sox had more to do with their success this year than Beckett or Papelbon or Okajima. In my opinion (which means absolutely nothing -- I don't have a vote), following along the lines of what grum said, I would extend my argument out beyond the DH to say that if you are a player who the manager routinely pinch-hits for, pinch-runs for or feels the need to replace defensively late in games then your other attributes have to be super-spectacular because you are not playing the whole game, and I don't see how you can be "most valuable" if you're often not around to help your team in the ninth inning (and beyond). And I will conclude with the observation that, while these discussions are entertaining and I enjoy them immensely, we're talking about trying to draw individual value in a team sport, which is silly, pointless and pretty close to impossible to do correctly or meaningfully. As a Yankees fan, I don't care one iota if a player on my team gets an individual award -- in fact, I'd almost prefer that they didn't because I could see where that kind of recognition has the ability to damage the team concept.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 09:03 AM on October 05

I don't care one iota if a player on my team gets an individual award Last year the Minnesota Twins had the batting champ, the MVP, and the Cy Young winner. Unfortunately, they did not win a damn thing as a team at the end of the year.

posted by chris2sy at 10:13 AM on October 05

we're talking about trying to draw individual value in a team Well... Yes and no. IMO baseball is the most individualistic of team sports, especially on offense. Yeah, you need someone in front of you to hit an RBI, but you can create your own RBI with a home run, and you can still hit for average, OBP and OPS. Pitchers in particular have a lot of control over their destiny (though W-L is still often unfairly weighted over ERA). I'm not a complete stats geek, but I definitely like how much baseball can be broken down into numbers. Much harder to do with soccer and hockey. Basketball, is more numbers friendly but still not as nuanced as baseball. Football is pretty good, especially for team stats like red zone offense. (Trivia: the phrase "red zone" was coined here in Boulder by Dave Plati, the sports press guy for CU.)

posted by drumdance at 06:11 PM on October 05

In all due respect to grum, I find that to be a pretty absurd statement. Should a good fielder receive an advantage over a DH? Yep, a big one. Should an average fielder receive an advantage over a DH? Yes. But how about a generic left fielder who is below average defensively. Not really. What if Ortiz is number one offensively and gimabi number 2 next year, but giambi is forced to play first. Does his stumbling and bumbling defense make him more valuable than Ortiz? What if Ortiz is forced to play first. Does his subpar defense make him more valuable? I think you are looking at this the wrong way. Ortiz is so terrible in the field that they don't even want to play him there unless they have no choice. Every single game where he played 1B was when the Red Sox visited a NL park. It's not just that he'd be a bad fielder, it's that he'd be a colossally bad fielder. In the games that he has played 1B (and we're talking small sample size here) he has always been below average. Therefore, the Red Sox want to avoid playing him in the field. It's not an option for them. Let me put it this way: Great fielder : gets mucho bonus points for MVP Average fielder : gets bonus points for MVP if he fields a difficult position Below average fielder : might lose points at a weak position (like 1B or LF) but doesn't lose any points if it's a difficult position (like CF/SS/2B/C) DH: loses lots of points for MVP because he is so bad his team doesn't want to play him in the field For the record, Giambi has been a DH more than 1B for the past 3 seasons as a Yankee (182 as a DH, 164 as a 1B). What is interesting is that before those three seasons (when Giambi has been a VERY below average fielding 1B), he was a very ABOVE average fielding 1B. Since he's become a detriment in the field, the Yankees have put him at DH and used no-hit fielders like Mr. Eyechart. What happens to great hitting but poor fielding 1B? They become DHs. Therefore, your hypothetical situation (great hitting, poor fielding 1B) just doesn't happen any more.

posted by grum@work at 10:06 PM on October 05

You say this as though the award has some concrete definition. It doesn't. Well sure. We could add points for the best looking mvp candidate. I mean, I agree with you, and that's one reason the award sucks. But I would think there's a logical idea of what the award entails. Most Valuable Player. RBIs? Yes. Fielding? Yes. Difficulty of position? I have no idea how that's even considered, even without a concrete definition. DH: loses lots of points for MVP because he is so bad his team doesn't want to play him in the field We'll just have to agree to disagree as I don't follow that logic at all. Or maybe I simply don't agree with it. The DH is an actual position. Someone has to fill it. Taking away points? I don't get that. Adding points for defense, sure (same result I know). This probably makes as much sense as arguing religion. I know I'm not changing anyone's mind. And in all honesty, I think it should be very difficult for a DH to win the MVP award. But I still believe that the bias is way overboard, so much so that it almost seems as if it would be more fair to just take the DH out of the running. Requiring a season that is out of this world better than anyone else is doing the same thing.

posted by justgary at 11:00 PM on October 05

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.