Buster Olney breaks down the awards races

In a recent ESPN article, Buster Olney handicapped the AL/NL MVP and Cy Young races. The piece was interesting enough to draw my attention. I will go through each piece of the article to share my thoughts.

There are six weeks of baseball remaining, a quarter of a season, in which a lot can change. In 2004, Vladimir Guerrero mashed his way to the American League MVP Award by hitting .363 in September and hoisting the Angels onto his back: He generated 11 homers and 25 RBIs in that late push.

There is a lot more baseball to play in 2010. But as of today, here’s how we’d handicap the races for the two major awards in each league.


AL MVP

Cabrera
1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. He leads the majors in OPS and RBIs and is tied for second in the AL in homers, all the while playing half his games in a pitchers’ park.

So far I have no complaints. While I believe Josh Hamilton is the MVP, I wouldn’t complain if Miguel Cabrera won the award. I know and you know OPS and RBI are junk stats, but in this case Olney is still picking a solid candidate to win the award.

2. Josh Hamilton, Rangers. He’s hitting .375 since the All-Star break, and .396 overall in home games.

No problems here. Although, saying he has hit .396 at home hurts his argument that Hamilton has been really good. Considering his BA is in the .350 range, it shows his home park has inflated his BA. Considering Olney takes a players home park into consideration- he did so with Cabrera- then Olney did not make a convincing case for Hamilton. My argument wouldn’t hinge on a stat like BA at all.

3. Robinson Cano, Yankees. The most important player in this lineup in 2010, and he has been excellent defensively.

That’s fine.

Others in the conversation: Delmon Young, Twins; Adrian Beltre, Boston; Evan Longoria, Rays; Paul Konerko, White Sox. But to be clear, there is an enormous gap between the top two candidates and the rest of the field.

Really Olney? Really? Delmon Young is in the conversation? What conversation? Young has finally put together a solid year offensively , but his defense continues to suck. His 2.0 WAR is average. Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Orlando Hudson, Jim Thome, and Denard Span are all Twins players with a better WAR. That’s 5/9 of the Twins starting lineup alone. Young is not in the MVP conversation.

Paul Konerko is not in the conversation either. He has been good, not great. The worst part is that while Konerko is mentioned, a player on a better team who has had a much better season is not mentioned at all- Carl Crawford. That is a poor oversight by Olney.

NL MVP

Votto
1. Joey Votto, Reds. His numbers are basically running neck-and-neck with those of Albert Pujols — and Votto’s team is in first place, which will count for something in the voting.

Agreed.

2. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres. Numbers do not fully reflect what he means to San Diego’s success, between his defense and what teammates perceive to be an extraordinarily unselfish approach

Stoopid, just stoopid. Olney thinks he is the second most valuable player in the league, when is “only” the fourth most valuable player- at all first base alone! He’s having a fine season, but it doesn’t compare to Albert Pujols or Votto. The entire pitching staff, defense, and lady luck are the MVP’s of San Diego because they are winning due to those three things. Even with A-Gonz, the Padres offense is anemic.

3. Pujols, Cardinals. He’s having another great season.

Good analysis!

Others in the conversation: Aubrey Huff, Giants; Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies; and the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman, who will get a lot of top 10 votes. Again, there is a major gap between the top tier of candidates — Votto, Gonzalez and Pujols — and the rest of the field.

I will give kudos to Olney. He mentioned Zimmerman, a top three MVP candidate, which I was not expecting since he is on a last place team and gets a lot of value from defense. So I will excuse him for saying there is a gap between Zimmerman and Votto or Pujols, when Zimmerman might have the best case of the three.

AL Cy Young Award

Lee
1. Cliff Lee, Mariners/Rangers. His WHIP is a major league best 0.95.

Here’s one barometer of just how good Lee has been, from Daniel Braunstein of ESPN Stats & Information:

The lowest percentage of pitches thrown on 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1 counts:

Pct. K/BB
Cliff Lee 3.53 14.50
Roy Halladay 4.21 7.20
Ricky Nolasco 4.72 4.90
Scott Baker 4.92 3.90
Kevin Slowey 4.99 3.92
Phil Hughes 5.00 3.05
Carl Pavano 5.14 3.45
Josh Johnson 5.14 4.26
Roy Oswalt 5.20 3.36
Dan Haren 5.25 4.94
For the sake of comparison, the highest percentage of pitches thrown on 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1:

Pct. K/BB
Gio Gonzalez 9.93 1.81
Tim Lincecum 9.38 2.73
Wade LeBlanc 9.15 2.11
Derek Lowe 9.07 1.87
C.J. Wilson 8.81 1.80
Joe Saunders 8.66 1.62
Jaime Garcia 8.50 1.94
Brandon Morrow 8.44 2.55
Trevor Cahill 8.43 .95
CC Sabathia 8.37 2.34

Well, Olney took a weird route to his final answer, but at least he picked this one correctly. Lee is having his best season and arguably the best season since Pedro in 2000 (or Zack Greinke in 2009).

2. Felix Hernandez, Mariners. He’s been absolutely dominant in the second half, with a 1.93 ERA.

Felix has had a great second half, but he should not be second in this race. Francisco Liriano has been filthy this season, but Carl Pavano is getting all the attention in Minny. Who does Liriano need to jerk off to get some respect?

3. David Price, Rays. Fifth in ERA and tied for second in wins with 15

We know better than to use ERA and wins, but Olney doesn’t. So it’s hard to criticize him for this pick. But what about other great lefties instead of Price? Like, lets say, Jon Lester?

3a. Trevor Cahill, Athletics

No, just no. King Luck should not be considered. I like Cahill and he does a nice job garnering ground balls. But he relies on BABIP too much. He doesn’t strike many people out. So balls are put in play a ton against him. By getting ground balls he does a good job to help himself from giving up too many base runners via hits, but a .213 BABIP is absurd. That is not his talent level at all, which is why he should not be in the Cy Young running.

Others in the conversation: CC Sabathia, Yankees; Clay Buchholz, Red Sox; Jered Weaver, Angels.

JON FUCKING LESTAH!

NL Cy Young Award

Wainwright
1. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals. He has gotten better and better and better as the season has progressed.

No qualms here, although it should be Doc Halladay or Josh Johnson.

2. Tim Hudson, Braves. Having an incredible bounce-back season.

No. See Cahill, Trevor.

3. Roy Halladay, Phillies. He has a shot at 20 wins in his first season with the Phillies.

Open your eyes and look at the numbers, Buster. Halladay, a future HOF’er at this point in time, is having his best season. He should be 1 or 2 (if you like J-Johnson). Not three. Poor effort here.

Again, who does J-Johnson need to jerk off? 5.6 WAR, 2.27 ERA, 2.45 FIP, 3.16 xFIP. Yeah, nbd I guess.

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One Comment on “Buster Olney breaks down the awards races”

  1. dougbies Says:

    Well said. What is there that you can’t easily break down better than an expert? I love seeing supposed experts write this crap with so many flaws in it.


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