Tuesday, October 23, 2012

PEVA Picks World Series Participants

Okay, it doesn't always happen this way, within this mixup of a playoff format where you could be the Wild Card participant and get to the series ala the Cardinals of last year and almost the Cardinals of this year.  But, this year, it did.  The San Francisco Giants, who were the 41st best team in regular season history this year, and number one for the season will play the number two team, the Detroit Tigers.  Yes, we said that, about the Giants.  When you total up all of the PEVA values for individual players and get a team number, they were the #41 team in baseball history.  Are they that today?  Probably not.  It includes the PED first half of Melky Cabrera, who was on his way to the MVP award through the All-Star break, but it also includes a pitching staff and batting squad that is surprisingly potent, all while playing in that pitcher's park which makes the batting exploits and numbers seem less stellar.

So what makes them so good, even if you discount the Cabrera boost.

Buster Posey, 3rd best catching season in history, and the upcoming MVP of the whole season for players, hopefully, that didn't take PED, and #2 in PEVA this season at 39.383.
Angel Pagan, at #32, an under the radar type of player who'll garner a significant contract in free agency this offseason.  Pablo Sandoval, #95, and whose old school line of 12 HR, 63 RBI, and 0.283 looks a lot better outside that ballpark.  Overall, and including part year players like Melky and Marco and Hunter, they had 6 Top 100 players, when an average team should have 3.3.

They also had 6 Top 100 pitchers, with Matt Cain heading the list at #9, Bumgartner at #26, and Vogelsong at #42.  An average team should have 1.4 pitchers in the Top 42.  When you add in Sergio Romo in his part-time closer role and the comeback of Barry Zito, #82, and the fact that a down year from Tim Lincecum is still in the mix, the pitching side of the equation almost kept pace with their batting teammates.

And their opponent.  Well, this isn't nearly as balanced a squad, but oh, when you talk about their top line players that everyone knows about and could win both the MVP and Cy Young Awards, this year with two different people, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, it could be one great World Series to watch.

Miguel Cabrera, #1 PEVA
Prince Fielder, #8 PEVA
Austin Jackson, #28 PEVA

Justin Verlander, #1 PEVA
Matt Scherzer, #35 PEVA

Check out the PEVA Team and Individual Power Rankings for 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

MVP 2012, Who Should Win and Who Will Win

I don't know, but it seems like no brainers to me when we're thinking about who should and will win the Most Valuable Player awards in each league for 2012.  The fact that there's any debate over that question in the American League after Miguel Cabrera wins the Triple Crown just goes how far the advanced SABR stats have entered the universe.  But folks, and we're all about advanced stats here, let's not short shrift the stats in the Triple Crown either.  Okay, so Home Runs are more sexy than important, but they are still important.  The impact they have on the game, besides the run production value, creates intangibles up and down the lineup in how a team pitches another team, on how many pitches and walks are given out, and it is that home run which drives that debate.  Just ask the Philadelphia Phillies how their lineup dynamic changed in the second half of 2012 when a gimpy and marginally effective Ryan Howard entered it.  All of a sudden, there was a balance and rythmn in the lineup as pitchers feared the #4 hitter again.  Oh, but we digress.  And Runs Batted In, ... it's still the most important stat on the batting side, even for all those OPS lovers out there.  Remember, OPS does not tell us anything about durability and how often that player is important.  But if you've led your league in RBI, even on a team with table setters, it means you've played in a whole bunch of games and impacted most.  It's why we're not all up in the Josh Hamilton is great sweepstakes.  He just doesn't take the field often enough for us.  Think the Texas Rangers might have been a division winner and not had to take the chance of losing that wild card knockout game if Hamilton had appeared in more than 148 games in 2012, or 121, or 133, or 89 as in the previous years.  Oh, but we digress again.

The American League MVP
Most of the reason, even beyond the Triple Crown argument, that we can't, or they shouldn't select Mike Trout as the MVP of the American League, no matter how spectacular a rookie season he had, and there's no doubt that he had one of the best rookie years ever, is the same argument against Josh Hamilton, albeit for a totally different reason, ... he wasn't on the field for 23 games.  I know, some say that's an argument for the other side, that if he'd played the full season and come up from the minors earlier, his stats would have been even more redonkulus.  They would have been, but he didn't.  And for those 23 games, his MVP status was nill, and nill meant Angel losses, and those losses meant a loss of a playoff berth.  So for that reason and the opening paragraph reasons above, Miguel Cabrera is our MVP for the 2012 AL season.  And he's gonna win it with the writers, too.

Who Should Win - Miguel Cabrera, Detrot Tigers
Who Will Win - Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Top Five - Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers; Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers; Robinson Cano, New York Yankees; Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays.

The National League MVP
It's a much closer race here and there would be no real argument against either, with one caveat.  The writer's are likely going to reward the player whose team made a splash in playing well down the stretch, and making the playoffs.  The other, sorry Andrew McCutcheon, because you were the best of the best for most of the season, played on a team that collapsed down the stretch and didn't make it to 0.500.  So, Buster Posey, you with the Batting Title won from your colleague, are the Most Valuable Player in the National League over a well-deserved second place contender.  You batted 0.336, were on-base 0.408, and slugged at a clip of 0.549.  Add to that the fact you're a catcher on a team going to the playoffs, and that spells MVP to us.  And it's gonna spell that to the writers, as well.  Oh, no, we agreed on both.

Who Should Win - Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
Who Will Win - Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
Top Five - Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants; Andrew McCutcheon, Pittsburgh Pirates; Chase Headley, San Diego Padres; Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers; David Wright, New York Mets.

Top 40 Batters 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cy Young Award 2012, Who Should Win and Who Will

It's that time of year again.  The playoffs are in bloom, now with an extra wild card game to boot, and award season will soon enough follow.  And in a season where one player won the Triple Crown on the batting side.  Congratulations Miguel Cabrera.  There wasn't really one outstanding season in the pitching realm, although there sure were a number of pretty good ones, particularly on the relief side.  Now, don't get us started.  The fact that some of the relief pitching seasons were sensational doesn't mean we think they should or will win the Cy Young in either league.  But just that they were among the best seasons ever by a relief pitcher.  We're talking top ten for one guy nobody seemed to be talking about.  Sorry, Greg Kimbrel, it wasn't you, although you're in the Top 40.  But we'll get to him, that other guy later.  For now, we'll start with the who we think will win ...

The American League Cy Young
There's going to be some push back, we think, when the voting begins, from some writers who awarded him both the Cy Young and MVP prize last year (didn't think he should win the MVP last year), but to us, there's no doubting that this season, for Justin Verlander, while not quite as special, is the best of the bunch.  No, he didn't win those 20 games that Price and Weaver did, but his peripheral stats, and a number that we think is pretty darn important, the most innings pitched, put him over the top.  Now, all three candidates were pretty darn good.  ERAs below 3.00 for all, but Verlander did this in 27 innings more than Price and more than that of Weaver.  Three full games worth of great pitching, instead of the sixth starter or that sixth inning reliever is what I'd want from my starter, so the nod, for us, goes to Justin.  However, it might be in the fifth place finisher that you have the most underreported story of the year.  Sure, we heard lots of Kimbrel and Jim Johnson noise from the relief side, but it was in Tampa Bay Ray land that the best season of the relief pitching year was occurring.  How many times have you heard of an ERA of 0.60, but that's what Fernando Rodney put up.  Along with 48 saves.  And pitching 74.7 innings, too, which is a ton for a relief pitcher these days.  All that adds up to a relief pitching season that with a PEVA of 20.292, ranks 10th ALL-TIME in the history of the game.  Somebody explain to me why that hasn't gotten more Baseball Tonight and media attention.

Who Should Win - Justin Verlander, Detrot Tigers
Who Will Win - David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
Top Five - Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers; David Price, Tampa Bay Rays; Jared Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox; Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays.

The National League Cy Young
He won twenty games, lost fewer than the guy most think he has to beat out, pitched more innings, and had a lower ERA, all pitching for a bad team.  So, okay, we hate to admit it, but we think R.A. Dickey, the knuckleballer who pitches for the Mets, should and will win the Cy Young Award in the National League.  We know the talk these days has Gio Gonzalez in a two man race for the award with Dickey, but Dickey was just a bit better, and being consistent with our rational from the American League, pitched over thirty innings more at those ratios.  We actually think the second place finisher should be Clayton Kershaw, although we doubt he finishes in that position.  The loss of a couple starts in September, coupled with the way the Dodgers played down the stretch, not making the playoffs after all those trade deadline deals, will likely push Kershaw down to three or maybe five in the voting.  And no, we just don't see Kimbrel making a run for this title, not with three starting candidates who are as worthy as they are.  But we wouldn't be surprised if he finishes third.

Who Should Win - R.A. Dickey, New York Mets
Who Will Win - R.A. Dickey, New York Mets
Top Five - R.A. Dickey, New York Mets; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers; Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds; Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals; Kyle Lohse, St. Louis Cardinals.

Top 40 Pitchers 2012
Best Relief Pitching Seasons in History