Who’s Number 2?

Last year, after Dustin Pedroia won the MVP, I suggested on this site that he would be one of the more forgettable selections in history. That generated a lot of flack here, and I think unfairly, as I did not mean it as a knock on Pedroia, who deserved the award and who I think is a fine player, and I did not write out of any kind of sour grapes. It was merely to suggest he was an anomalous victor, and not someone who figured to list among the truly elite players who regularly compete for those crowns—the class that includes the A-Rods and Pujolses of the game. Pedroia's performance this year, let me suggest, demonstrates what I was talking about. Certainly, he had a fine season. But you could also make a very reasonable argument that his was not among the top 10—and almost certainly not in the top 5—seasons at his position this year. And 2b is hardly the most valuable position on the field. Let me reiterate that I'm not trying to knock Pedroia here. He's an excellent player. Who would I rather have, Pedroia or Cano? That's an awfully tough call. I sincerely hope we can have a calm discussion about this here, no flamethrowing. 

97 comments… add one

  • I take Cano hands down. Biased yes but he put together a hell of a season especially given he was hitting in the bottom of the lineup.

    sam-YF October 4, 2009, 8:26 pm
  • It’s actually become a closer debate. Last year, Pedroia hands down. This year it sort of depends what you’re looking for.
    Cano had a great year. Lots of hits, excellent average, and pretty good pop for a 2nd baseman (.520 slugging and 25HRs).
    At this point though, I would still take Pedroia (and yes I’m a bit biased) for the following reasons: he gets on base a lot, and scores a ton of runs — this is his 2nd consecutive year leading the AL in runs scored. He walks a lot more and is one of the toughest guys in the league to strike out, although Cano is no slouch there either. He is a better fielder than Cano (half as many errors). Pedroia is also a solid baserunner, with 20 steals 8CS on the year to Cano’s 5/7.
    They both have exactly 48 doubles, and Cano has a few more RBI, though that’s to be expected considering where they hit in the order.
    It’s definitely tight, and I’d be happy to have either guy on my team, but at the moment I will take Pedroia’s (imo) slightly better overall tools to Cano’s better offense.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 8:51 pm
  • I’m still predicting Pedroia to follow Marcus Giles’ career path, as I am sure many Sox fans are still predicting Cano to follow Carlos Baerga’s career path.

    AndrewYF October 4, 2009, 8:58 pm
  • Well, you can’t argue the more runs and then discount the more RBIs “because where they hit in the order”…

    Lar October 4, 2009, 9:01 pm
  • Here’s a guy who has beat Pedroia’s 2008 and yet won’t even make the top 10 in the voting
    …this is just wrong.
    He has beaten Pedroia’s 2008 in: slugging% and HRs. That is it. Pedroia was not a typical MVP because he does not put up big power #s, but that doesn’t mean he was not deserving.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 9:03 pm
  • Oh, he topped Pedroia’s 2008 OPS by .002, sorry.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 9:05 pm
  • Oh well, looks like civilized discussion has gone out the window.
    Well, you can’t argue the more runs and then discount the more RBIs “because where they hit in the order”…
    Yes I can actually, particularly with the Yankees lineup, top to bottom. And Cano does not exactly blow Pedroia away in the RBI column, nor does Pedroia blow Cano away in the runs column. Pedroia scored about 13% of the Sox’s runs while Cano scored about 11% of the Yankees. Pretty close.
    Any argument that tried to say that either guy is not a good (or even great) player is pretty laughable. I was just comparing their respective pros and cons. Pedroia gets on base more and has a better all-around game. Cano hits for more power and (this year) a better average.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 9:11 pm
  • Ethan –
    Even if you call their seasons close, there’s no arguing that Cano won’t get many votes.
    What would you call the reason?

    Pedroia’s season last year would not have won the MVP this year, nor will Cano’s this year. Why? Because Joe Mauer has had an historically great season and anyone who doesn’t vote him #1 should frankly have their vote revoked. Also there have been two players on Cano’s own team that are better than him, which was not the case with Pedroia last year.
    I’m not saying that Pedroia is the kind of player that will win the MVP every year, or even be in contention for it. Saying that he did not deserve it last year, however, is a bit questionable. Every season is different.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 9:14 pm
  • I was referring to you calling his MVP undeserved and bringing up racism, not Lar who had a valid point about what I was saying.
    And yeah, Pedroia is better at home, as are the Red Sox in general. The Yankees are a better team at home too. That is how baseball works. I don’t see why you should punish a player for playing better at home. Cano’s consistency is admirable. Although this year I believe he did benefit somewhat from NYS, as if you take a look at his home/road splits from this season, his average jumps .30 and his OPS from .842 to .911…

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 9:24 pm
  • Cano will barely get votes, if at all, for the same numbers from the same position. But I suppose that’s because he’s lazy.
    What are you talking about? I did not miss your point at all, and have had nothing but good things to say about Cano. I did not once call him “Lazy”.
    I told you exactly why he will not get votes with a similar season, but I guess I’ll repeat it again: Joe Mauer is having an absolutely incredible year. Pedroia’s season from last year would hardly have gotten any votes this year either, as I said.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 9:26 pm
  • I didn’t call the MVP undeserved. That’s debatable and the point of this thread.
    …Rob, you said “Nothing shows how much that MVP was undeserved…”
    And the point of this thread was whether you’d rather have Cano or Pedroia. Obviously you’d rather have Cano and that’s fine, I can understand.
    Maybe there is some racism involved with the old fogeys that vote for MVP, but do not project that here or onto me personally.
    Yeah, he is insanely better at home, but can every player on the Sox benefit from home field advantage like that? No. So he has mastered hitting there and should get full credit for it. Cano’s numbers on the road this year are basically his career average, and his season was made great by NYS. Should we give him less credit for his year because of that? I say no.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 9:36 pm
  • But do you honestly think that Pedroia’s 2008 this year wouldn’t have warranted any votes? If so, that means the votes truly are worthless from the perspective of history if they’re so context-dependent..
    I do not think it would have warranted any first place votes. Last year I think it did. I think it would have warranted some 3rd or maybe 2nd place votes, as does Cano’s.
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the MVP being based on historical context. How else can it be measured? You can’t look back at last year based on this year. Nor can you look at this year and guess exactly how next year is going to go. That is part of the beauty of baseball and the history of it, even if it is somewhat tarnished due to segregation, PEDs, etc.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 9:42 pm
  • whoops, let’s close those italics. Anyway, I’m certainly not saying the MVP voting process is perfect. I think it overly favors teams that make the playoffs, and puts a bit too much emphasis on power #s and ignores pitchers due to the Cy Young.
    Still, it’s an interesting debate. There have been a lot of people over the years who’ve been robbed of it.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 9:45 pm
  • Well, comparing raw stats for Pedroia and Cano doesn’t really matter, since MVPs are awarded based on the context of the league that year. So, here’s where Cano and Pedroia stood in the AL in the offensive biggies (these obviously don’t all reflect these two players’ strengths, but seem to be a fair collection of the most commonly-cited offensive stats):
    …..Pedroia, 2008…Cano, 2009
    BA…2nd………….6th
    OBP..11th…………41st
    SLG..19th…………17th
    OPS..18th…………20th
    Runs.1st………….6th
    Hits.1st………….3rd
    2B…1st………….3rd
    RBI..27th…………30th
    SB…20th…………irrelevant*
    Hard to say Cano’s got Pedroia’s season beat. Cano is certainly having a great season, but he doesn’t lead the league in any major offensive category. Runs and Hits may not hold much water with the more sabermetric among us, but they do get a lot of attention from MVP voters.
    The other problem is that last year, there really wasn’t a runaway leader like Mauer this year. You could make an argument for Milton Bradley and his .321/.436/.563 line, but he “only” had 78 Runs, 77 RBI, and 22 HR. Plus, Texas finished 21 games out of first in their division, and 16 games out of the wild card. For better or worse, those things matter to MVP voters.
    So yeah, in the big picture of MVPs over the years, Pedroia’s ’08 probably won’t be going down as one of The Greats. But that’s as much a reflection of the rest of the league in 2008 as anything else. It doesn’t matter whether Cano’s raw stats are comparable to Pedroia’s 2008 numbers–last year, nobody was head and shoulders above the rest of the league like Mauer is this year. Cano’s had a great year, but compared to the rest of the league he’s not really in the picture.
    *He only has 5, and I don’t feel like looking up where that places him in the league. Suffice it to say, pretty low.

    Rex Manning Day October 4, 2009, 9:55 pm
  • No no. I’m saying seasons *should* be judged in their historical context.
    I think Pedroia was the MVP last year. You can disagree with me, that’s understandable. I can also understand someone calling it one of the weaker MVP years. Again that wasn’t really the point of this thread if you read it.
    I don’t think that just because there have been many greater MVP seasons invalidates a specific MVP award. There are other things that can depending on how deep do you want to go — there were many more undeserving winners, many winners who probably cheated. Last year, I think Pedroia deserved it. If you were doing “All time greatest seasons”, Pedroia’s 2008 would not be near the top, nor would Cano’s 2009. In 2008 however, Pedroia had the best or one of the best years in the AL and got the award.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 9:56 pm
  • Someone didn’t close their italics tag.

    Rex Manning Day October 4, 2009, 9:57 pm

  • Hopefully this fixes it.

    Rex Manning Day October 4, 2009, 10:01 pm
  • But do you honestly think that Pedroia’s 2008 this year wouldn’t have warranted any votes? If so, that means the votes truly are worthless from the perspective of history if they’re so context-dependent.
    Stats are context dependent on the YEAR they were achieved. You seem to have a problem with this simple concept.
    And yes, some criticism of Cano is probably buried in race. It’s also unfair that he’s such a smooth player and people take that as not trying. But to insist that he isn’t getting MVP consideration because of his race is nonsense.
    I know, I know, keep it nice. But you’re so totally off the rails with your opinions that it’s hard to take you seriously. From selectively pulling out stats from various years to compare (I still can’t believe you don’t see how completely stupid that is) to screaming racism you’re pretty damn comical.

    dave October 4, 2009, 10:08 pm
  • There’s really no need for that dave. I think we were having a pretty good discussion.
    Anyway, Youklis’ ’08 was very good, but if I recall (and I wasn’t following the end of the year so well because I was in Japan) he had a few parts of the season where his production dropped off pretty heavily, while Pedroia was on fire almost the whole year. Mauer was probably his closest competition.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 10:12 pm
  • I don’t think a season’s place in history has any bearing on whether or not a player will win the MVP. I guess that’s where your confusion came from. Certainly the season can be judged in terms of history after the fact, but I sincerely doubt any MVP voter thinks about how a given MVP winner will stack up to other winners. I mean, what were they going to do, not name an AL MVP last year? Maybe you can make an argument for someone other than Pedroia winning, but whoever it was, it wasn’t going to be an all-time-great season. Though it certainly was an excellent one.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 10:32 pm
  • Cano won’t get many MVP votes this year, and I really don’t see how he should. Good year, yes. MVP year, not even close. I mean, Cano’s not even the MVP of his own team–of those offensive categories I listed, the only one he leads the team in is doubles.
    And I don’t see how “historically great” matters for MVP voting, either. Not every year gets a historically great performance. Like Ethan says, what happens then? Do you just not award the MVP at all?
    The nature of an annual award requires that you only consider performances within the context of that year. You pick the best person that year, and let the historical context shake itself out later. In 2008, there just wasn’t a standout performance. You could argue for Youklis or Bradley or Mauer or Pedroia, and you’d essentially be right every time.
    As for the road/home splits, I don’t remember any discussion of it, but then I wasn’t paying attention. But I think it’s pretty clear that Pedroia won the award for his counting stats, where splits are harder to see disparities.

    Rex Manning Day October 4, 2009, 10:55 pm
  • Since Rob has such a hard-on for home/road splits… Albert Pujols 2008 OPS:
    Home: 1.175
    Away: 1.056
    Shit man, that’s a bigger gap in home/road OPS than Pedroia had in 2008. Can you believe that guy won MVP? It’s probably reverse racism.

    Atheose October 4, 2009, 10:57 pm
  • I think when your OPS is over 1.000 that all kind of goes out the window =P.
    Anyway, I think Rob’s somewhat strange point about historically great season arose from my saying that Cano would not get any first place votes because Mauer is having an historically amazing season. I don’t think it’s all that hard to understand, but I was just saying that Cano won’t get votes because Mauer has had a better year, irregardless of whether or not Cano’s numbers are similar to Pedroia’s in ’08. I wasn’t saying that Mauer should win because of how historically great it has been (and it has been), but just because he had the best season — and was pretty unquestionably the most valuable player on his team — in the AL.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 11:03 pm
  • Actually, Hamilton technically deserved the award in 2008, but he was on a pretty bad Texas team.

    AndrewYF October 4, 2009, 11:40 pm
  • That anyone has to explain or argue to anyone else here that MVP votes in year X have zero/nothing/not one iota to do with MVP votes in year X-1 is crazy. It makes an entire discussion because to argue otherwise (that guy didn’t deserve the mvp last year because this guy put up similar numbers to him this year and won’t get a single vote) is to reflect either no knowledge of the game and what the mvp award is for OR a penchant for baiting others with hyperbolic assertions that one knows hold no water. Give me a break.
    When a guy wins player-of-the-week for outperforming everyone in that particular week, does it have anything whatsoever to do with who wins it the following week? And does who wins it the following week reflect in any way, shape, or form on his having won it this week? Frankly a waste of time to even entertain that position and I wish I could get the last 5 minutes of my life back.
    As for the debate about Pedroia and Cano and which is better, now that’s interesting, and I do think the home-away splits are important, not just because they are so disparate for Pedroia but because the range that they cover goes between what would be a rather pedestrian player to what would be a perennial all-star. Cano’s inconsistency seems much less over the course of the season but significant within any particular game (though not having watched Pedroia vs. anyone but the Yanks, I have no idea whether he can also be accused – as can Cano – of seemingly losing concentration on one play and then making a brilliant play 2 minutes later).

    IronHorse October 4, 2009, 11:41 pm
  • Insert “inane” “pointless” “tedious” after the word “discussion” in that last comment…

    IronHorse October 4, 2009, 11:44 pm
  • I have no idea whether he can also be accused – as can Cano – of seemingly losing concentration on one play and then making a brilliant play 2 minutes later).
    Not really IH, one thing he always gives is effort. I don’t watch Cano a lot, but can only gather that he’s a really good player from the stats he keeps putting up. Home/Road splits certainly are relevant to some extent, but I just can’t make myself take much credit away from a player if they are better at home. Saying Pedroia becomes a pedestrian player on the road though just isn’t true. He isn’t as great as at home, but he’s hardly “Glove only”.
    I was trying to be nice about explaining things, but you hit the MVP thing on the head.

    Ethan-SF October 4, 2009, 11:51 pm
  • Ok, how to explain this — it is wrong, period, to base annual awards on a broader historical view. If a guy is having an historically great season, then yeah he is probably going to win the award. For example, the AL Cy Young last year — Cliff Lee’s season would not even remotely compare to Pedro’s best, or Clemens’ best, or Koufax’s Best, or Gibson’s best, but he won the Cy Young, because he was best that year.
    If there is no one who is having an historically great season — and no one did last year — you still have to give the award to someone. Anyway, I’ve made the point as best as I can. Neither Mauer nor Youklis had a season in 2008 that would be described as historically great. This year Mauer hass, so Pedroia’s 2008 would not hold up. So what? It help up last year.

    Ethan-SF October 5, 2009, 12:01 am
  • Like I said Ethan, I don’t think you should have to even make the argument since the opposing view goes something like:
    Frank won salesman of the month in August for selling 125 widgets. But Tom didn’t get a single vote for selling 123 in September so there clearly must be some bias against Tom. Oh yeah, the guy who won in September sold 175 widgets and was one of 10 guys to sell more than 123 widgets that month. But that’s somehow irrelevant.

    IronHorse October 5, 2009, 12:08 am
  • Wasn’t Mauer’s the first time a catcher won a batting title? I’d say that qualifies.
    And yet it wasn’t even his personal best season up to that point (2006 was). And only his average was superior to Pedroia.

    Ethan-SF October 5, 2009, 12:17 am
  • And just to be clear — historically significant is not the same as historically great.

    Ethan-SF October 5, 2009, 12:20 am
  • What I mean is — he may have won the batting title, which was historically SIGNIFICANT, but it was not even his personal best batting average, and certainly not one of the best seasons ever by a catcher. I.E. not historically great, which is what you seemed to be arguing. Both are gold-glove fielders, so it’s hard to quibble too much about that.

    Ethan-SF October 5, 2009, 12:25 am
  • As far as Jeter for MVP goes, he had the poor fortune to have many of his best years during an era where the media and fans in general were hypnotized by the huge power numbers being put up. Look back at most of the MVPs during Jeter’s career, and it’s been all big power hitters (particularly in the ’90s). This is one of the things I pointed out as one of the problems with the MVP voting.

    Ethan-SF October 5, 2009, 12:31 am
  • All,
    Last month, Rob was banned from this site. This decision, like all decisions of this caliber, was made in consultation among all the comoderators of YFSF. There was no disagreement.
    Since then, Rob — using both his normal nickname and several others — has tried multiple times to post here, and his posts were immediately removed.
    Unfortunately, none of the moderators was here tonight to stop this from going off the rails until it was too late. His posts have been removed, and while I know that makes the rest of the points here look a little strange, perhaps they can serve as the framework for an actual constructive debate.
    Our apologies for allowing this to continue for as long as it did.
    The mods

    Paul SF October 5, 2009, 12:46 am
  • Now I look like a crazy person mumbling to himself -_-. Oh well, it’s not the first time.

    Ethan-SF October 5, 2009, 12:50 am
  • I really am sorry, Ethan. At least all your hard work is still here for all to read.

    Paul SF October 5, 2009, 12:52 am
  • To get back to the OP…I think:
    Will Pedroia’s MVP season be one baseball fans talk about decades from now?
    Unlikely (haven’t heard much talk about Nellie Fox’s MVP lately).
    Does that mean he didn’t deserve it?
    Well, Joe Dimaggio only slugged .671 in his ’39 MVP season, against .704 for Jimmie Foxx in ’38. What say fellow Yankee fans, shall we dump on Joltin’ Joe?
    It’s a nonsense argument. There may have been some player last season whose contribution to his team outweighed Pedroia’s to the Red Sox, but I’d want to see some serious proof. It was a most well-deserved award.
    As for Pedroia vs Cano, well I’d take Robbie because I think he has more upside (You have to go with one of them for the next 10 years, which do you choose?) but I’d happily have either one of them on my team.

    jimintokyo October 5, 2009, 1:22 am
  • Wow, it’s official: the Yankees chose schedule A, so the Sox get B. I didn’t think they had to choose until all playoff spots were decided.
    Looks like games 1 and 2 will start at 9:37 in Anaheim. F*cking left-coast.

    Atheose October 5, 2009, 7:44 am
  • Where did you see the Yankee ALDS option being announced? I don’t see it on the Yankee site or espn. They have/had until one hour after the completion of Tuesday’s one-game playoff to choose.

    IronHorse October 5, 2009, 8:33 am
  • I don’t know if I can end the italics Armageddon, but I will try.

    AndrewYF October 5, 2009, 9:12 am
  • Not again guys!
    I take back what I said; on mlb.com they have both scenarios posted, and I only saw the first one.

    Atheose October 5, 2009, 9:28 am
  • I don’t think people are arguing if Pedroia was MVP-worthy, but I think YF’s point was that he might be a “one hit wonder”, and while a good to very good player, not quite a Pujols who would carry the team year after year.
    I think the Jeter comparison is more apt, as Jeter is a certain Hall of Famer, because he’s good/very good, but also because he played a long long time. Pedroia can get there, but only by playing a long long time..

    Lar October 5, 2009, 9:39 am
  • NOTES: Pedroia walked more and struck out less in 2009 than 2008. He batted .296 and had a .371 OBP, just .005 off his 2008 pace. The notion that this represents some giant drop-off from last year is not just silly, it’s unsupported by any data whatsoever in the front-page post. Indeed, YF has not provided any metrics at all for the inflammatory “point” that Pedroia was not among the top 10 at 2nd base this year, suggesting that this is typical Yankee fan-hating on Dustin.
    For example, Pedroia ranked this year 5th among second basemen in OBP in the majors, 2nd in the A.L. How’s that fit YF’s speculative thesis?

    Hudson October 5, 2009, 11:07 am
  • P.S. Tampa Bay’s second baseman, Zobrist, had a better SLG (.023 higher) this year and a better OBP than Cano (.053 points higher).
    Plus Zobrist drove in more runs, hit more home runs, and had 60 more walks despite having 130 fewer at-bats than Cano. And he also stole 12 more bases than Cano.
    But I don’t hear any YFs touting Zobrist for MVP.

    Hudson October 5, 2009, 11:13 am
  • “But I don’t hear any YFs touting Zobrist for MVP.”
    I dont know any YFs touting Cano for MVP either. Thats the point.

    sam-YF October 5, 2009, 11:24 am
  • If Pedroia played 10 years at his current level, he’d have a heck of a time getting into the Hall of Fame. Jeter isn’t just ‘very good’, he’s outstanding. Not quite at the ‘wtf’ level of Nomar or A-Rod in their SS-playing days, but he’s had 4 years that are quite far above what Pedroia accomplished last year.
    Let’s not make unfair comparisons.

    AndrewYF October 5, 2009, 11:36 am
  • Well, I’m relatively reserved for superlatives, so you can rescale it as you like. My scale is basically:
    Pujols/ARod/Bonds insane super whatever. (Not counting roids, etc..)
    Very Good – Next Tier, Jeter, Teixiera, Ortiz in his good years, etc.
    Good – All-Stars
    ..
    So ya, I didn’t mean that to say that Jeter _only_ got in because he has tons of counting stats, but if he ended his career at say, 35, I’m not quite sure he would be in the Hall. Thus, he’s very good.

    Lar October 5, 2009, 11:46 am
  • I think “not being top 10″ is a little rough, but you can certainly try by listing 10 2Bs. I’ll try to create this list, but some are questionable:
    Zobrist
    Utley
    Hill
    Uggla
    Cano
    Roberts
    Phillips
    Kinsler
    and then I’m running out. To further avoid flames, the list is a list of people you can even begin to argue is better than Pedroia, so he’s clearly in my Top 10..

    Lar October 5, 2009, 11:51 am
  • Lar, if Jeter ended his career today, he’d get in the Hall of Fame. Heck, if he ended his year after last year, he’d get in.
    Heh, one could say he’s just ‘padding his stats’ now.

    AndrewYF October 5, 2009, 11:54 am
  • at least give yf credit for having the brass ones for bringing it up in the first place…i have been fairly critical of him and other yf mods for not being a little more controversial and pushing back once in awhile, particularly in light of some of what comes from the other side on occasion…so my hat’s off to him for taking this risk…wonder what would have happened if i had brought it up instead of him, or one of the various iterations of the now-banned “rob”…i’m guessing that it probably wouldn’t have been left up to ethan to, for the most part, go it alone…then again, i wouldn’t bring it up anyway…both teams have a very good second baseman…i wouldn’t mind having either one of them on my team…

    dc October 5, 2009, 12:00 pm
  • I dunno — some of us do actually expect more from this site than just “bringing up” topics. “Bringing up” is easy, actual research takes work.
    For example, one could “bring up” the topic that “some say” that Joe Girardi is more lucky to have a great roster than a good manager. But without doing more than raising the topic, it’s just throwing out red meat to generate traffic, rather than a substantive topic.
    I prefer how others such as Paul usually flesh out front page posts with hard stats that people can then debate, rather than just stirring the pot.

    Hudson October 5, 2009, 12:13 pm
  • P.S. re Sam-YF’s “I dont know any YFs touting Cano for MVP either.”
    Have you actually tried reading this thread? A large portion (some of it evidently deleted) involved a debate about Cano deserving MVP votes.

    Hudson October 5, 2009, 12:17 pm
  • Hudson
    there is a huge difference between receiving votes for MVP than touting someone for MVP. Nobody here has said he should win MVP. Being voted in the top 10 is a different story and a reasonable position to take for Cano, Zobrist, and Pedroia. Im pretty sure that Zobrist didnt come up here largely due to the fact that this is a YFSF website and nobody was talking about their full slate of people they would vote for.

    sam-YF October 5, 2009, 12:30 pm
  • Pedroia’s performance this year, let me suggest, demonstrates what I was talking about. Certainly, he had a fine season. But you could also make a very reasonable argument that his was not among the top 10—and almost certainly not in the top 5—seasons at his position this year.
    I do think YF may be reaching a bit in an effort to revisit this issue.
    I’m fine with the idea that Pedroia won the MVP in large part because there was no dominant slugger-type season that we’ll remember for years in the American League that year. As a Red Sox fan, I will remember the season because he was so hot, so clutch that summer that when Youkilis went down with an injury, Pedroia batted cleanup for four games and went 11 for 18 with two homers, three doubles and six RBI. From Aug. 12-Sept. 5, when people really start looking at MVP candidates, and when the Sox were needing to hold off the Yankees, Pedroia batted .435/.481/.793 with seven home runs and 10 doubles in 21 games. Anyway, the rest of baseball may not remember that years down the road, but I sure will.
    As for this year, yes, Pedroia’s lost about 50 points of slugging off 2008, which is basically the 16 fewer singles, eight fewer doubles and two fewer home runs he’s hit in nearly the same number of plate appearances. He’s increased his walks totals to make up for the lack of singles and bring his OBP to about the same level as it was in 2008.
    But Pedroia’s defense remains elite, and accounting for both, WAR puts Pedroia third in baseball this year, behind only Zobrist and Utley.
    Batting runs above average:
    Pedroia: 15.5
    Cano: 23.2
    Fielding runs above average:
    Pedroia: 11.0
    Cano: -6.0
    Replacement level adjustment (playing time based)
    Pedroia: 23.8
    Cano: 22.5
    Positional adjustment:
    Pedroia: 2.4
    Cano: 2.5
    TOTAL:
    Pedroia: 52.7 (5.3 WAR)
    Cano: 42.1 (4.2 WAR)
    Even on offense, though Cano’s OPS+ is much higher, he only has a 10-point advantage in wOBA, largely because Pedroia has a 20-point edge in on-base percentage which is somewhere around 1.8 times more important than slugging. When you calculate Runs Created based on wOBA, Pedroia actually beats Cano, 104.0 to 103.9 (I have no idea how, but those are the data).
    Meawhile, The Hardball Times’ Runs Created formula also says Pedroia actually had a better year at the plate than Cano, giving Pedroia 101, fifth among all second basemen, to Cano’s 80, tied for 10th. I’m not sure I buy that, but there it is. WPA/LI, which moderates the clutch factor of WPA by dividing it by the Leverage Index of each event, has them neck and neck, Cano eighth at 1.37 wins, Pedroia ninth at 1.21. EqA puts Cano third and Pedroia sixth, and the runs based off EqA put them fourth and sixth. VORP, an offense-only stat, has them third and sixth, respectively, while WARP likes Cano’s defense quite a bit better than WAR and gives Cano about a two-win advantage over Pedroia (I don’t know how they rank relative to other second basemen because BP doesn’t let you sort by position for that statistic).
    So, given all that, I guess it’s not really a given that 1. Cano has had the better year this year, and that 2. Pedroia has had such a drop off for YF to claim justification for the previous post.

    Paul SF October 5, 2009, 12:44 pm
  • Basically a large amount of the difference in value from fangraphs between the two players amounts to defense. However, looking at other metrics from other sites its not necessarily clear that Pedroia is THAT much more valuable in the field. Last year for example, fangraphs had a similar spread in value added attributed to defense while if you look at the PMR ratings from Dave Pinto, the players were largely even. So for some reason, fangraphs’ system could be either undervaluing Cano or overvaluing Pedroias defense. The final numbers for defense arent available on baeball-reference yet but last year showed a close parity between the two players defensively. From what Ive looked at, fangraphs seems to be the outlier.
    I think that if you go looking for stats and data to compare these two players, you will find some information to fit the argument you wish to make. Personally, watching almost every yankee game this year, I find it very hard to believe that Cano had a -6 run value overall in the field. These metrics are fraught with problems as is illustrated by the inconsistency in rankings they yield when compared with each other. By most metrics, Cano had a better season at the dish than Pedroia. Yet it doesnt surprise me though that Paul was able to find one that shows Pedroia was better/more valuable. However, he seems to be picking from the two most favorable situations for pedroia by using the Hardball times evaluation for offense and the fangraphs one for defense.

    sam-YF October 5, 2009, 1:06 pm
  • “Fielding runs above average:
    Pedroia: 11.0
    Cano: -6.0″
    I really dont know how to refute this but taken at face value, does anyone really trust this data? Pedroia was 17 runs better in the field this year? i find it really really hard to believe that number. For reference, this same system has Teixeria as a negative value defensively for the yankees this year too.

    sam-YF October 5, 2009, 1:13 pm
  • What Paul is saying is that except for two statistics, Cano beat Pedroia soundly this year. Which is fine, as this year can be described as Cano’s best year, while it’s only Pedroia’s second-best.

    AndrewYF October 5, 2009, 1:19 pm
  • here we go again…somehow i think if team A was dumped from the post season and team B went on to win the world series, someone could dig up a set of obscure, cherry-picked statistical fragments that prove [to themselves anyway] that team A actually had a better post season than team B…the sad thing is that they probably would do that research…
    hudson, don’t worry, no one is voting for either cano or pedroia this year for mvp…cano’s not even in the running for mvp of his own team…
    “…”Bringing up” is easy, actual research takes work….”
    but, digging up stats to support a preconceived bias is not so tough…
    “…Joe Girardi is more lucky to have a great roster than a good manager…”
    joe girardi IS very lucky to have a great roster…but, some say that’s as tough to manage [see joe torre with the yankees] as having a roster with no expectations…but then i have no “hard facts” to support that…
    “…But without doing more than raising the topic, it’s just throwing out red meat to generate traffic, rather than a substantive topic….”
    so, you’re saying that yf should open a steak house?…yf, discounts for yfsf regulars?

    dc October 5, 2009, 1:20 pm
  • when does pedroia’s massive home advantage come into the discussion?
    I’m not sure of all the numbers, but at some point, a lefty at YS2, and a righty at Fenway basically cancel each other, don’t they?

    Brad October 5, 2009, 1:29 pm
  • Despite the fact that Cano can no longer be considered “new” to the Yankees, I still have difficulty judging his contribution. He is a great hitter but generally not with RISP. He is an often-brilliant but sometimes-distracted fielder. His career BA of .256 and OBP of only .291 with RISP. For this reason and the fielding lapses he continues to feel like a player who can contribute more than he already does and that leaves me sometimes more frustrated over what he is not doing than appreciative of what he is. Where he is hitting in the order does not help. A guy who hits like this but rarely cracks #6 on the line-up is strange and a bit difficult to gauge for me. He has hit in the 6-9 slots in almost 600 games in his career and in the 1, 2, 3, or 5 slots in less than 150 games. He has never hit clean-up. I want to believe that featuring him more prominently in the line-up would bring out even more in him, but I sometimes get the sense (perhaps unfairly) that he’d rather blend in and not have too much placed upon him.
    I do not feel bad about him being at the plate in a key situation, but there are at least 6 other Yankees – including some with significantly worse BA’s – who I’d prefer in such situations.
    If the game is on the line and I know in advance that a specatacular fielding play needs to be made, I would be happy to have the ball hit to him. If I knew that a routine grounder needed to be fielded I’d worry if it were goingto him.
    I certainly don’t think he is a bad player by any stretch. On the contrary, he is an excellent 2B. But he is also the most enigmatic of the guys on the current team (though in a storng run-off with AJ Burnett) and that makes it hard for me to come down too strongly in either praising or criticizing him. I just know I want to see more – not more or bigger numbers so much as more consistency on both sides of the plate. I don’t think I’m alone among yfs in feeling this way about him and I have no idea what it means relative to what Pedroia is like ot root for because I frankly don’t watch him. I’m just making the point that the stats alone do not tell the story for me with Cano.

    IronHorse October 5, 2009, 1:38 pm
  • twice the advantage how? I’m not sure what metric you are using or which stat you’re saying is twice as much?
    He hit less homeruns, so you can’t be talking about the wall, his doubles maybe? Are you talking about doubles?

    Brad October 5, 2009, 1:43 pm
  • I’d rather have Pedroia on my team if we’re talking purely in terms of value. His approach to the plate is better than Cano’s and, as a result, he’s a better bet for more consistently good performances going forwards.

    Nick-YF October 5, 2009, 1:45 pm
  • I’d also like to have a home-run distribution chart for Robinson Cano, so we can see how much of an advantage YS had for him (and Johnny Damon) this year in terms of power.
    Id be curious to compare the two stadiums with re: to just Cano at YS, and Ped at Fenway. Is one more forgiving than the other for either of those two?
    I know Pedroia has exactly one opposite field HR in his career, which happened at YS this year, so while I do think Ped gets a boost from Fenway, I also think Cano gets a boost from YS, and neither should be held against them when in comparison.

    Brad October 5, 2009, 1:50 pm
  • But Robinson is a way cooler name than Dustin.

    walein October 5, 2009, 1:51 pm
  • This made me chuckle:
    From Sam:
    Yet it doesnt surprise me though that Paul was able to find one that shows Pedroia was better/more valuable.
    From Andrew:
    What Paul is saying is that except for two statistics, Cano beat Pedroia soundly this year.
    I collected all the stats I could think of at the time that measured both offense and defense. I tend to like WAR better because, for one, it’s easier to understand, and for another, people have expressed fewer reservations about the data it produces (as opposed to WARP). The one overall stat I couldn’t get for 2009 is Win Shares, which is behind the Bill James paywall. I neglected to check PMR, so thanks for the reminder on that one, Sam. And as you are quick to mention, all defensive stats come with numerous caveats and disclaimers, particularly when we’re discussing fewer than three years of data. I don’t ever watch Cano in the field, so I honestly have no idea whether he’s any good, though I know he has a reputation for being erratic out there.
    But I think the broader point to take away from all that is that two respected overall measurements — WAR and WARP — differed on who had the better 2009, and even on offense, where a quick look at OPS and OPS+ would indicate that Cano had the much better season, there are a number of metrics that indicate the question is much closer.
    I don’t have a problem with saying Cano had the better season. Before I did the research, I would not have even raised the question because I have long assumed that to be the case, so I was surprised to see these numbers. I did the research because YF’s statement that Pedroia was arguably not in the top 10 and likely not in the top five struck me as over the top, and I wanted to get a better idea of where the two second basemen would rank. If you want to say that Cano’s 2009 is around 3/4 and Pedroia’s 2009 is around 4/5, that doesn’t bother me one bit.

    Paul SF October 5, 2009, 1:58 pm
  • the problem is he swings at bad pitches. when they put him in the 2 hole he’s going to clean up. pitchers will have to pitch to him.
    The only way to do that for sure is to put him there, which they won’t do. Every time they’ve put him in a more pressured position in the lineup, he’s struggled. He doesn’t get good pitches because pitchers know they don’t have to give them to him.

    Brad October 5, 2009, 1:59 pm
  • I retract that statement. He only played in the two hole once this year, which he did fine.

    Brad October 5, 2009, 2:07 pm
  • The stats do in fact show that the further in the batting order he is dropped, the better he is, which goes hand in hand with players with bad plate control and minimal difference between BA and OBP, which flies in the face of “if he ever got pitches to hit” argument. He hits good pitches, and chases bad ones, and it matters not where in the lineup he is.

    Brad October 5, 2009, 2:13 pm
  • Brad
    According to hittracker, Cano only had 1 HR which was a true “yankee stadium HR” meaning it was a HR there and only there.

    sam-YF October 5, 2009, 2:32 pm
  • I agree, Sam. I wasn’t really arguing his “power” but more where he sent that power in regards to where Ped sent his. On hitracker, Ped has exactly two homeruns that flew less than 350′, which means that while he did use the wall side, the wall itself didn’t give him cheap homeruns, as that other person (i assume, Rob) was arguing. Playing at Fenway didn’t help Ped anymore than it helped Cano, who subsequently has about 10HR lower than 350′.
    Of course Cano has more power, but to suggest that Ped has twice the advantage because of Fenway is kind of silly, on more levels than just homeruns.
    But, then again, I was arguing with a person who I would assume is restricted, so I guess I’m the silly one here.
    I appear as if I’m having an argument with myself above. haha.

    Brad October 5, 2009, 2:56 pm
  • Hasn’t Fenway become more of a pitcher’s park in recent years? I’m not saying that certain players on the Sox do not benefit from the park, but if it’s not especially easy to create runs there then what those players do hitting-wise has a lot of value. In the case of Colorado a few years ago, you could argue that gaudy offensive stat lines had less value because runs came in abundance. Quantify affected quality. But if Fenway is a relatively neutral park, then Pedrioa is bringing a lot of value to his game by hitting so well there.

    Nick-YF October 5, 2009, 3:21 pm
  • …giving Pedroia 101, fifth among all second basemen, to Cano’s 80, tied for 10th.
    While I agree that there are and should be at least a couple of metrics where Pedroia is more valuable than Cano, this stat just seems weird. How can Cano have produced both: less runs than he scored (Pedroia too), and less runs than he batted in? I know you are RBI-agnostic Paul, but that stat just seems fishy, and over-thought.
    I think a more useful generalized stat like that would be simply: what percentage of a players at bats resulted in a run being scored.

    Ethan-SF October 5, 2009, 3:25 pm
  • Hasn’t Fenway become more of a pitcher’s park in recent years?
    This is more anecdotal than stats based, but I wouldn’t really say so. It depends on the pitcher. Most Red Sox starters are better at home than on the road, but there are a lot of pitchers who regularly get shelled there.
    I think it’s more a matter of learning to pitch to the park. There’s certainly things that a pitcher can take advantage of, but there’s also many things that can hurt pitchers (lack of foul territory, the monster obviously, short right field corner).
    Similarly, some batters just learn to hit there — hence my point that Pedroia shouldn’t be punished because he hits so well at home. Not everyone can do that, on the Sox or any team.

    Ethan-SF October 5, 2009, 3:32 pm
  • You guys should really save up all of your our-team/player-is-better-than-your-team/player stuff for the playoffs, which begin in just over 48 hours.

    Atheose October 5, 2009, 3:34 pm
  • “Similarly, some batters just learn to hit there — hence my point that Pedroia shouldn’t be punished because he hits so well at home. Not everyone can do that, on the Sox or any team.”
    I’m not going to deny the idea that players learn to hit at their ballpark (to the point where it might actually hurt their performances away from that ballpark) but the last sentence is, of course, key. A player’s offensive value is all about context. A run created in Petco is much more valuable than a run created in Texas. So if Boston is a big-time hitters park, then I think you’d have to “punish” or, at least, reassess Pedroia’s overall value accordingly.

    Nick-YF October 5, 2009, 3:51 pm
  • Nick – OPS+ handles this quite well. It adjusts for park factors. You will see that Pedroia has an .819 OPS, but only a 108 OPS+, while Carl Crawford has a .816 OPS, but a 111 OPS+. This is because, while TB is a slight hitter’s park, Fenway is a much greater hitter’s park.

    AndrewYF October 5, 2009, 4:02 pm
  • Thanks, Andrew. The problem with OPS+ it seems is that it weighs slugging and OBP equally, when OBP is more important for run creation. Am I right about that?

    Nick-YF October 5, 2009, 4:08 pm
  • I’m pretty sure you’re right about that, Nick. I don’t know if wOBA accounts for park factor.

    AndrewYF October 5, 2009, 4:41 pm
  • You are correct, Nick, about OPS+ not properly weighting its components. wOBA I don’t believe adjusts for park. The Batting Runs Above Average component of WAR, however, adjusts wOBA for home park.
    If you want a good stat that does the job of OPS+ but accurately weights the components of OPS, GPA at The Hardball Times is fun. It’s [1.8(OBP)+SLG]/4. The dividing by four just scales it similarly (probably a little lower) to batting average, which makes it a little more user friendly.
    THT then weights it to home park. They also have a formula to convert GPA to runs.
    For the record, MLB 2B ranked by GPA:
    1. Zobrist, .321
    2. Utley, .300
    3. Cano, .288
    4. Uggla, .280

    10. Pedroia, .268
    A lot of separation between the top four (21 points, 12 points, 8 points), then only 12 points between Uggla, Pedroia and the five second basemen separating them.

    Paul SF October 5, 2009, 6:26 pm
  • FYI, Fenway for 2009 ranked eighth in park factor by runs (1.072), but it actually costs hitters both overall hits and home runs while giving them more doubles and triples (and walks, though surely this is more of a fluke right?). I’m pretty sure none of the stats weight for this particular breakdown, which means that a doubles hitter like Pedroia is probably properly dinged for the portion of his batting and slugging that is benefited from hitting in Fenway, but given that getting a hit is actually harder in his home park, I wonder whether he should be given more of a boost than the park-adjusted stats provide.

    Paul SF October 5, 2009, 6:33 pm
  • Doubles are in sheer abundance at Fenway and for Pedroia especially. He has hit 62% of his career doubles there.

    Rex Manning Day October 5, 2009, 7:03 pm
  • “…You guys should really save up all of your our-team/player-is-better-than-your-team/player stuff for the playoffs, which begin in just over 48 hours….”
    well, there’s 2 seasons ath…the regular and the post…but, you’re right…let’s see who does better…if it’s anybody but the sox, see the opening paragraph of my comment at 1:20pm… that’ll be some funny sh-tuff…

    dc October 5, 2009, 10:11 pm
  • Let me comment briefly here. Again, the post was not meant to knock Pedroia. He was phenomenal last year, always with the big hit, an impossible out, I have no problem with his victory. I just place him in the Versalles/Rizzutto camp of forgettable winners. Suggesting that Pedroia might not be a top 10 at his position was hyperbolic, I admit (I was looking at the THT stat Paul mentions), though I don’t think he had quite the year as Cano, and probably is somewhere around 5-6, which ain’t bad. The defensive metrics are all over the place. I will admit that I should have thrown a few more stats out there but I was pressed for time and just figured I’d get the ball rolling, and that the peanut gallery here would chime in, which is precisely what happened. Again, the post was not intentionally meant to breed a firewar, but to generate some interesting discussion, and I think it did, even in some of the comments that were erased.

    YF October 5, 2009, 10:57 pm
  • i like my steak medium-rare, and my comments uncensored…
    yf, like i said earlier, there was nothing wrong with your opening observation, with or without the superfluous, random, tortured treatment of selected [convenient] stats, that is, other than it was not hyperbolic pro-sox…anybody who doesn’t see that about this site isn’t really paying attention…

    dc October 6, 2009, 12:58 am
  • …other than it was not hyperbolic pro-sox…anybody who doesn’t see that about this site isn’t really paying attention…
    Man DC, you make this same sort of comment about once a month. Give it a rest, huh?

    Atheose October 6, 2009, 7:58 am
  • “Man DC, you make this same sort of comment about once a month.”
    Thats considerably less frequently than we see a post about JD Drew! ;)

    sam-YF October 6, 2009, 8:36 am
  • look, i know it’s not well received when i make assertions along those lines ath, but it’s more of an observation than it is a complaint…i’ll try to be less observant…
    ;)

    dc October 6, 2009, 8:48 am
  • other than it was not hyperbolic pro-sox
    No, dc, it wasn’t. In fact, as YF himself (the original poster) admits above it was actually hyberbolically negative towards Pedroia.
    Can’t you resist the urge?!

    SF October 6, 2009, 9:44 am
  • that was the point…because it wasn’t “pro”, or neutral, it was perceived as “negative” about a sox player…yf got the desired reaction…to stimulate conversation spiced with a bit of controversy…i praised him for taking that risk…he also said this in his last comment at 10:57pm:
    “Again, the post was not meant to knock Pedroia. He was phenomenal last year, always with the big hit, an impossible out, I have no problem with his victory. I just place him in the Versalles/Rizzutto camp of forgettable winners.”
    i guess the last sentence is the one that’s considered objectionable, but his point is well taken, and if the worst thing anyone ever says about ped is to compare him to rizutto, that ain’t bad…there’s a lot of great players who never won mvp’s…pedroia earned and deserved his…nobody was arguing that once rob left the room…if you’ll scour your archives, you will even find flattering comments from me last year suggesting that he was the most deserving candidate…and no, i can’t resist the urge…i don’t think i’m out of line, and challenging conventional wisdom is part of what makes this site interesting…but, if you guys think i am [out of line that is], tell me not to come back…that would be a bummer, since i enjoy the banter as much as the more cerebral offerings…

    dc October 6, 2009, 10:27 am
  • it was perceived as “negative” about a sox player
    It wasn’t “perceived as negative”, dc. That’s your error in statement. YF admits it WAS HYERBOLIC in denigrating Pedroia’s season. Cut it out with this whole “perception/reality” thing. In this case, YF cops to the fact that the reactions were justified if not intended to be elicited. Stop this kind of framing of the issue, please, it doesn’t characterize our site correctly and is tiresome.

    SF October 6, 2009, 11:23 am
  • i’d rather not take your bait sf, but i can’t resist…yf very clearly stated his intent in his 10:57pm comment…he realized he took a shortcut by not researching his “hyperbolic” proclamation about ped’s rank among second basemen, and hoped others would flesh out the truth…i know some of you were delighted to prove him wrong, but his other comments suggest he didn’t intend to be negative about pedroia…rather it was just his attempt to put things into perspective…at least that’s how i interpreted it, but i suppose we should let him speak for himself about his intent if his earlier comments are not clear enough…my “framing an issue”, is not the issue…frankly, it’s the continued distortions of comments and misinterpretations of intent by certain sf’s, including mods, that is getting “tiresome”…the masthead says yfsf is “always opinionated”…you have your opinion and i have mine…move on

    dc October 6, 2009, 12:09 pm
  • Unfortunately, DC, you don’t express your opinion of this site as an opinion. You express it as an “observation” that is so apparent that those who don’t agree “must not be paying attention.”
    Sounds like you’re the one who needs to do some moving on from this tired old line you keep selling here.

    Paul SF October 6, 2009, 1:05 pm
  • Let me just support DC here. I think he’s interpreted my points correctly and while I’m not entirely sure I agree with his overall criticism of the site I do believe he’s expressed those views in a reasonable way, and may respond however he so chooses.
    sf, i was being hyperbolic but it wasn’t about “denigrating” pedroia’s season. that’s wrong. i don’t believe it’s denigrating HIS season to suggest other may have performed better this year. i was trying to demonstrate how broad the field was. but this is semantics. i think folks here are extra twitchey because of a certain commenter, but let’s not take it out on dc.

    YF October 6, 2009, 1:22 pm
  • “i think folks here are extra twitchey because of a certain commenter”
    I have a name YF and I didn’t even post on this thread…(I kid, I know you are really talking about Brad)

    John - YF October 6, 2009, 1:23 pm
  • but this is semantics
    Yeah, it is, and you are responsible for the words you post. You were lazy and hyperbolic in how you assessed Pedroia’s season, you said this yourself. Fine, it wasn’t meant to denigrate. But the idea that the reactions on this thread were just typical SF reflexiveness because your thread wasn’t pro-Sox, well that is utter horsesh*t and it is what dc is charging many commenters with.

    SF October 6, 2009, 2:05 pm
  • i agree for the most part sf, but you’re right that semantics are important, and look at the kind of language that’s being deployed here. “YOU WERE LAZY” “YOUR ERROR” “COPS” “DENIGRATE”
    whether or not this is accurate, it is certainly harsh. it’s one thing to push back against as assertion that may well be unwarranted, but i wonder if you’re not just confirming it by making the response so harsh.

    YF October 6, 2009, 2:42 pm
  • Fair enough, YF. Again, I appropriated the tone of your responses – you mentioned hyperbole in your own comment, you mentioned you didn’t have time to get numbers in and thus misjudged Pedroia’s season. I don’t think it is fair or right that dc finds it appropriate to cite this discussion, based on a top post which has already been clarified as lacking deep backup by the author itself, as an example of how an insufficiently pro-Sox post generates backlash, if that is even an acceptable criticism of the site in the first place.
    Time to move on, I guess.

    SF October 6, 2009, 2:51 pm

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