David Ortiz is NOT the MVP!!!

After his hits last night, the talk is everywhere, even the NY papers: David Ortiz for MVP. It’s an emotional response, but with it all the logic, everything we’ve learned from sabermetics, all of our rational thinking about how baseball works is going right out the window. And it’s frustrating. Papi belivers have become baseball’s flat-earth fanatics. Its supporters of creationism. Its global warming doubters. Those would find it acceptable to put a political hack at the head of FEMA. (Okay, maybe we’re pushing it.)

But the facts speak clearly when analyzed rationally. A-Rod has better numbers. He has better numbers THIS WEEK. He has higher VORP scores. He PLAYS DEFENSE. (Gold Glove caliber over the last couple of months).

OPS Last 7 Days:
Ortiz: .753 (that’s worse than Jeter)
A-Rod: 1.251

OPS season
Ortiz: .999
A-Rod: 1.029

Papi is a lovable, wonderful, clutch player. A-Rod is more valuable. End of story.

42 comments… add one
  • I’ll believe ARod is the MVP if the NYYs can win it all.
    Until then, he’s still the Cooler
    Whatever happened to Travis Hafner, or even Mariano Rivera?

    dabize September 30, 2005, 10:49 am
  • Cold. So cold. YF would have us believe that the MVP is not subjective, empirical, and should always be fair. It isn’t. Rodriguez is probably going to win it, and that’s just fine, most deserved, no matter what happens this weekend. But get over the sabermetrics of it, and embrace the drama and romantic unfairness of the award.
    Ted Williams didn’t get it when he should have, but I don’t see Yankees fans apologizing for it or asking that the award be properly transferred posthumously to the Williams estate. As they say here in Italy, “spingalo sul vostro cornhole”.

    SF September 30, 2005, 10:50 am
  • SF: Maybe it’s too much Chianti fresh off the vine, but your argument makes no sense. Because Ted Williams did not win an award 60 years ago, it’s fine for all logic to go out the window now? Hell, We didn’t have blacks in baseball then either. Should we return to that ban as well? Past injustice does not excuse current injustice. You don’t need to eschew logic to appreciate the game’s romance. You can definitely have both. We’re going to have both this weekend. And A-Rod is MVP.

    YF September 30, 2005, 11:05 am
  • YF is clearly right on this one and, great as Ortiz has been, it’s not really all that close.
    What bugs me is that the debate in the media seems to be over-simplified into two positions: (a) Rodriguez should win because DHs should never win; or (b) Ortiz should win because it’s silly to deprive him of the MVP just because he’s the DH — in other words, the media (who after all are the folks voting) seem to view the vote as a philosophical statement rather than a frank evaluation of the value of the two players.
    And to anticipate claims of bias: Mo is my favorite player ever, but voting for him for MVP would be absurd.

    Fred Vincy September 30, 2005, 12:08 pm
  • as a yankee fan i think a-rod is exceptional but in the clutch ortiz rules.a-rods hrs seemed like vanity shots sometimes,unimportant to winning but jacked his stats.in the bottom of the ninth,two out,i’ll take papi every time.

    Anonymous September 30, 2005, 12:22 pm
  • YF knows what I mean, so his posturing is silly. My point, in words clear enough for YF to understand, is not that I MYSELF THINK ORTIZ SHOULD WIN, but that HIS EXPECTATIONS for what will happen with the award voting or, really, what SHOULD happen, are grounded in fantasy, in an empirical world that doesn’t exist.
    Maybe YF should be an economist, or a Republican, such is his belief in a world devoid of emotion, of shades of gray, of humanity.

    SF September 30, 2005, 12:33 pm
  • This MVP is going to come down to which team wins the division. As a Yankee fan I do think Arod is more of a complete player and gold glove caliber player. Big Papi is Mr Clutch. But he is a profesional ball player who does the crossword puzzle while his team plays defense. I do have a problem with that. If he had to play 150 games in the field I believe the Sox would be more than 1 game back even with his clutch hitting.

    james September 30, 2005, 12:36 pm
  • For the record, A-Rod is a better player than Ortiz. No argument. No contest. But he might not win the MVP. And that’s because “value” is seen by different voters as something other than “talent”, or “sabermetric excellence”. Why can’t YF understand this?

    SF September 30, 2005, 12:38 pm
  • MVP’s don’t hit .260 with runners in scoring position.
    End of discussion.

    digital-derek September 30, 2005, 12:40 pm
  • YF loves beating a dead horse.

    Tito September 30, 2005, 12:41 pm
  • I don’t see the point of arguing this now, given that the three most important games of the regular season for each player have yet to happen. A huge hit by either player in the next couple games pretty much seals the deal.

    Earl September 30, 2005, 12:53 pm
  • MVP Awards are like Gold Medals in figure skating, horseshit.

    Bozo September 30, 2005, 12:56 pm
  • It’s not talent, SF. It’s production. What’s “Republican” is your insistence that there is no reason to be accountable to facts, and that bullshit can replace logic. When the facts don’t add up to your liking, then you simply change the terms of debate. This administration does that every day. In Iraq. With the environment. The budget. Security, Katrina, you name it. And I wouldn’t make a big deal of it, but that RIGHT NOW, in this country, it seems time that we stop kidding ourselves with bullshit. Baseball is obviously not important in a serious sense, but it is symbolic. And Facts are facts. Enough already. It’s time to say that what we value is objective reality. Not bullshit. Not what makes us feel good about ourselves.

    YF September 30, 2005, 12:58 pm
  • is your insistence that there is no reason to be accountable to facts, and that bullshit can replace logic.
    This, my friend, is UTTER BS. And you are missing the point, in toto. The MVP has never, ever, ever, EVER been about rewarding the most talented player, or the BEST player, or the player adjudged by Bill James to have the most worth, in scientific terms, to his team. It has always been about an evasive definition of the word “valuable”, and that’s that. Are you asking that MLB re-define this term “value”? Or are you stating that you yourself know what “value” is, explicitly, in the terms that the award intends? I am not sure why this bends you so out of shape – this is an award that has, on many occasions, been awarded “unjustly”, so why now is it vital that we stop accepting the foibles of the BBWA, or the ambiguity of the word “value”.
    Personally, I couldn’t care less who wins, honestly. I don’t give a crap about the inner symbolism of the MVP trophy, and if A-Rod wins then good for him, he probably gets a bonus and he can use that to pay for another session with his shrink. Or for YF to go see one.

    SF September 30, 2005, 1:09 pm
  • Let’s look at some numbers, shall we?
    Close and late:
    Slugging: .803 vs. .527
    Home runs: 10 vs. 4
    RBI: 31 vs. 12
    Let’s put this another way:
    David Ortiz has 146 RBI; 79 percent of them could be called “unclutch.”Alex Rodriguez has 129 RBI; 91 percent of them could be called “unclutch.”
    Clutch hitters do not exist. Clutch hits do.

    Josh - SF September 30, 2005, 1:12 pm
  • SF: That response makes no sense. The award has a funky history, ergo there is no reason to have reasonable criteria for it?
    Josh SF: All runs have exactly the same value. You don’t get extra for scoring in the 8th inning. The meaning of the stats you quote is massively dubious. And I believe A-Rod has the lead in GWRBI (another useless stat, but one you might find intriguing if such issues concern you so greatly). If you need to resort to these kinds of dubious metrics to support Papi’s candidacy, that speaks for itself.

    YF September 30, 2005, 1:27 pm
  • Looking at those “close and late” numbers, Josh, they’re actually no so dramatically different. In essentially the same number of at bats, 79-74 Ortiz has but 3 extra hits-statistical noise. The difference is in home runs (10-4). And how much has Ortiz been aided by the bandbox that is Fenway in racking up those numbers? AND HE DOES NOT PLAY DEFENSE.
    Give. It. Up.

    YF September 30, 2005, 1:36 pm
  • YF, Baseball Prospectus recently posted an article which showed that Ortiz’s offensive value was greater in relation to contributing to his team’s wins than A-Rod’s. The number of win-contributing valued hits he has had this year apparently is historic. A-Rod is a distant second. This is to say that there is a statistical argument in favor of Ortiz. I’m too stupid to describe it more clearly but you should check it out. I still like A-Rod over Ortiz but let’s say SF was right a while back when he refuted my claim that it was an easily answered argument. I guess it’s not so obvious.

    Nick September 30, 2005, 1:41 pm

    james September 30, 2005, 2:42 pm
  • Courtesy of Joy of Sox, SoSH, and Eric Vn
    Eric Van worked up some stats in mid-September and posted them at SoSH. What follows are his charts and comments:
    Batting by Game Run Margin, through Sept. 14
    ——— David Ortiz ———Margin PA BA OBP SA OPS1 – 2* 261 .318 .418 .701 1.1193 to 5 232 .318 .422 .552 .9746 or more 153 .231 .320 .515 .835 ——- Alex Rodriguez ———Margin PA BA OBP SA OPS1 – 2* 248 .255 .347 .463 .8103 to 5 237 .323 .447 .599 1.0466 or more 148 .420 .486 .809 1.295*includes all extra inning gamesA further breakdown:
    -Ortiz- –ARod- OPS (PA) OPS (PA)2 run W 1195 (33) 828 (36)1 run W 1151 (87) 880 (81)Ex In W 1286 (23) 1029 (21)Ex In L 495 (11) 121 (17)1 run L 1481 (50) 985 (51)2 run L 1026 (47) 611 (42)This gets more ridiculous the more you look at it.
    -Ortiz- –ARod- OPS (PA) OPS (PA)6+ run W 870 (86) 1790 (93)6+ run L 779 (67) 523 (55)Rodriguez has hit .544/.613/1.177 in games that the Yankees have won by 6 runs or more, while going 1-16 with a SF and no BB or XBH in the Yankees’ 4 extra-inning losses.
    In only 2 of the Yankees’ 18 victories by 6 or more runs did Rodriguez’s R + RBI total even approach the margin of victory. He had 5 R and 6 RBI (5-6, 2 2B, 2 HR) in a 19-8 victory over TB 4/18, and 3 R and 10 RBI (4-5, 3 HR) in a 12-4 victory over LAA 4/26. So some of the offense in those games (but by no means all of it) was meaningful.
    Papi did this once in 17 such games, 3 R and 4 RBI (3-4, 2 HR) in a 9-2 win at Cle 6/21.

    Laura September 30, 2005, 2:53 pm
  • Sorry if you can’t make sense of those numbers. I had to copy/paste. Check out Joy of Sox for more legible charts.

    Laura September 30, 2005, 2:54 pm
  • yanks vs. sox????
    i bet the yanks don’t have a dvd highlighting all their great local wins. check out city of champions best of boston sports dvds. http://www.cityofchampionsdvd.com
    i wish the yanks could all see this.

    liz September 30, 2005, 3:33 pm
  • http://joyofsox.blogspot.com/2005/09/al-mvp-ortiz-v-rodriguez.html
    This a link to the piece, with the numbers legible.

    Josh - SF September 30, 2005, 3:36 pm
  • I’m sorry Josh, but I find that kind of analysis entirely deceptive and extremely dubious. You might as well go back and review every single at bat, comparatively. Earlier this week A-Rod hit a huge early game home run that brought the Yanks back in a game they eventually lost. That goes right out the window in this kind of absurd analysis. It’s over-engineered, and engineered by an employee of the Red Sox, no less. These kinds of “situational” metrics are just not that credible. Earlier this year Bill James himself refuted–or at least called into question–a whole bunch of them. But A-Rod’s superior OPS is clear. And he plays defense.

    YF September 30, 2005, 3:50 pm
  • Actually, I think the first table is pretty unambiguous. Ortiz has played his best in close games and Rodriguez has played his worst in close games. The reason Eric Van put together those numbers is because a single game, like the one you cited, can be deceptive. A larger sample is better.
    If you want to enlarge the sample size to include all games, I think looking at overall batting average — as opposed to batting average with runners in scoring position — provides what you’re looking for. Ortiz has been better with men on than he usually is; Rodriguez has been worse.
    What the stat geeks say is that there’s no such thing as a clutch hitter, but there are such things as clutch hits. And I think it’s obvious that Ortiz has had more clutch hits this year than Rodriguez has. Moreover, Eric Van’s numbers suggest that A-Rod’s biggest hits haven’t prevented games from being close. They’ve prevented them from being closer.

    Josh - SF September 30, 2005, 4:13 pm
  • It’s not “statistially best player”. It’s
    MOST VALUABLE PLAYER. Quite clearly, A-Rod
    isn’t the most *valuable* player on the
    Yankees — Gary Sheffield is. No contest,
    ask any Yanks fan.
    Now if you *must* use some statistics to
    calculate who is the “most statistically valuable player”, let me suggest one. There’s this
    VORP thing, value over replacement player.
    Put a VORP in each guy’s place, crunch Monte
    Carlo simulations for a week, and figure out what each
    team’s *RECORD* would be with a replacement
    player in their place. Obviously the RP
    wouldn’t have all the key late-inning hits
    Ortiz had, but is that really more valuable
    than A-Rod’s consistent output? I personally
    think so, but I’m a Sox fan. :)
    — ajs, nj

    Anonymous September 30, 2005, 4:17 pm
  • I love Sheffield but A-Rod’s been more valuable for the Yanks this year. That’s just this Yanks fan’s opinion. So I guess I destroyed one building block of your argument. ajs.:)

    Nick September 30, 2005, 4:30 pm
  • Josh: It makes no attempt to address how or why games are close. And why is it relevant in any case? It’s still ignoring the key point that Ortiz plays no defense.
    Sheffield has not been more valuable than A-Rod this year. Let’s not get crazy. Manny more valuable than Ortiz? At least he’s in the field. Sort of.

    YF September 30, 2005, 4:52 pm
  • I am sick of this. YF is grandstanding and he knows it.
    First: he knows that I think A-Rod should be selected for MVP (and that a ton of Sox fans would be perfectly content with an A-Rod victory in the voting), but that Ortiz deserves consideration as well. I have stated, without hesitation or any sense of frustration, that A-Rod is the best player in the league, and that the fact that he plays the field is a huge boost to his candidacy, and rightfully so. He also knows full well that the MVP award is an ambiguous one, and that the award is NOT given to the “most talented” player. He also knows, though he won’t admit it, that his definition of “value” is a subjective one (as is mine). His, however, is a fallacy, a definition made antiseptically objective and sterile, criteria for an award that doesn’t exist but maybe should (a “Willie Mays” trophy for the year’s best player or some other ego-rubbing hardware).
    Second: YF knows that Bill James’ method itself has limitations, and that there is a good reason that numbers are limited. It’s why there are human scouts, and why Billy Beane stunk as a player.
    Third: YF is ON THE RECORD as saying that David Ortiz is a “worthy” candidate for MVP, so that ought to end his snippy and arrogant outrage at everyone stating the obvious, that Ortiz is a viable candidate for and a possible winner of the MVP award.
    It’s quite remarkable to me that someone who is normally pretty reasonable (YF, that is), is really out of sorts about this whole issue. His sanctimoniousness in invoking the “symbolism” of this award is totally hollow and conveniently amnesiac. He also knows full well the history of the award and it’s relevance to this year’s debate, in that the award is an ambiguous one. Simply put, “value”, at least in the minds of the VOTERS FOR THE AWARD (which has been my main point all along, this point obscured by YF’s bratty ramblings), is not just measured by statistical superiority, but by other intangible things as well. It’s why YF can’t stop posting on this site about the innate quality of Derek Jeter’s last bowel movement. I don’t get the obsession he has with Jeter, but I do understand why he thinks Jeter deserves great praise. If YF will cop to Jeter’s slight above-averageness as a player in most statistical categories, and that his “value” is overrated because these statistics don’t tell the whole story (which they don’t, of course), then we can have a discussion; at least YF would be consistent. He’s not, though. I think he won’t go there, he’s brushstroked himself into a corner, quite unfortunately with lead paint.

    SF September 30, 2005, 5:18 pm
  • How cute SF, what a nice little metaphor you end with. But talk about disingenuous. When it comes to the MVP, for some reason, you’re happy to throw rationalism to the wind. As for Papi, yeah, I admitted he’d be “worthy,” based on a great year, but NOT that he deserved the award, which he does not. What’s sanctimonious is that 500 word pointless diatribe (the Chianti talking?). Because “intangibles” aren’t the issue here. And Jeter is not merely “slightly above average,” or whatever your phrase is. That’s the problem: he’s massively above average. The frustration is that you refuse to recognize this COLD HARD FACT.

    YF September 30, 2005, 5:31 pm
  • Chianti is from Tuscany. I am in Piedmont, where they drink Barolo.
    Can’t you please get your facts straight?

    SF September 30, 2005, 5:38 pm
  • I have to go with Mariano as Most Valuable, if you want to talk about things like that. The Yanks have won without A-Rod, but we wouldn’t be anywhere without Rivera. But I find it sort of funny that many Sox fans who’ve always dismissed the old Jeter is great because he’s CLUTCH argument somehow invoke the same reasoning when it comes to why, despite playing negligible defense, Ortiz deserves the nod over A-Rod who has essentially equivalent batting numbers plus a Gold Glove-caliber season at the hot corner.

    Lawrence (yf) September 30, 2005, 5:43 pm
  • hen it comes to the MVP, for some reason, you’re happy to throw rationalism to the wind
    Seriously, where do you come up with this stuff? My main point, which you are trying desperately to obscure, is not who I would vote for (at this point, barring some sort of embolism, Rodriguez), but that those who vote for the award don’t use the same criteria that you (or I) do – they are not such sterile sabermetricians as you, and thank god for that. I HATE when people resort to the whole “can’t you read” in the comments when someone doesn’t seem to get it, but really, YF, can’t you read?

    SF September 30, 2005, 5:43 pm
  • I swear Red Sox Nation,
    you guys are a wierd breed…
    Forget the numbers…
    Let’s talk about the fact that A-Rod must be exhausted from playing baseball…That’s right i said it…BASEBALL!!! Alex Rodriguez can change the complexion of a game with DEFENSE (Note that your win yesterday over the Jays began with a defensive mistake the Jays made to begin a rally…)
    Ortiz also plays in a little league ballpark (Fenway)….
    And his numbers are not that much better than A-Rods (heck he dosent even have a higher batting average and has the same number of HR’s)
    “Red Sox Nation” get over it!!!
    (F.Y.I. I respect the Red Sox players, but you Sox fans are delusional…and please, get over your WS title and attempting to flaunt it to Yankee fans…because it’s like a bum in the street that won a Scratch-Off Lotto Jackpott and going up to Bill Gates to talk wealth…..PLEASE!!!)

    BX BOMBER September 30, 2005, 5:51 pm
  • Another “rational” Yankees fan chimes in on the thread. Nice pattern developing here. No more work needs to be done on my part, you guys are doing it for me. Thanks!
    (and I thought it was Red Sox fans who were supposed to cave to the pressure. And we’re down a game, not leading the division!)

    SF September 30, 2005, 6:05 pm
  • Results from last night:
    PAPI: Papi puts in a clutch RBI
    PAYROD: Error through his legs, strikeout
    Ortiz is M.V.P.

    Hudson October 1, 2005, 8:07 am
  • YF, when you call an argument for MVPapi “Republican”, you might as well look at mr. steinbrenner and the rest of your team’s corporate image. as a liberal red sox fan, your diatribes seem forced and childish.

    Anonymous October 1, 2005, 9:58 am
  • Most fans of both teams are liberal. They play in NY and Boston, the two great bastions of liberalism in this country. The issue isn’t the accountability of ownership or players for their politcal beliefs. It’s about ideas. It’s time to embrace rational thinking.
    A-Rod is clearly the MVP, and we need look only at Giambi last night. He plays in the field because the team needs his bat, and his defense hurts the team, and has an adverse affect on his health. Papi doesn”t do that. More to the point, take a peek at win shares through last night (from the Hardball Times):
    A-Rod: 33
    Sheff: 30
    Ortiz: 29
    Manny: 29
    And for the sake of amusement:
    Jeter: 22
    This should not be a contest.

    YF October 1, 2005, 10:06 am
  • Correction: Win Shares through Sept. 21. Mea culpa

    YF October 1, 2005, 11:55 am
  • A-Rod will be voted the MVP.

    Nick October 2, 2005, 2:10 am
  • First, congrats to the Yankees for winning the divison.
    Second, I think yesterday’s game was a great example of what I’ve been trying to say — even though one game shouldn’t be anything more than a cautionary example. A-Rod, stastically, had a great game. Four hits, two runs and an RBI, coming on a homerun. And yet I think anyone watching the game would come away thinking that Sheffield’s one homerun in four at bats was somehow more important than anything that A-Rod did.
    I like this example because it allows our Yankee-fan rivals to see what we’re talking about without the haze of any anti-Sox bias. A-Rod hit a homerun — yes. It happened. It happened in the fifth inning of 6-2 game with no one on base. It really didn’t CHANGE the game at all. Sheffield’s homerun was bigger than A-Rod’s. More important. More valuable.
    All big hits don’t happen in the 9th inning of a tie game. I grew up as a Celtics fan, and I remember Larry Bird winning games with last-second shots. But I also remember — quite clearly — games that he won in the third quarter so that he wouldn’t have to hit a buzzer beater in the fourth. I would never denegrate the achievements of a guy who has hit the more homers as a right-hander than any Yankee ever. I would never denegrate the talent of the youngest man ever to hit 400 homeruns and seems to have an outstanding chance of hitting the most ever.
    But this year, I don’t think he’s the most valuable player in the American League. And yesterday, no matter how impressive his individual achievements, Alex Rodgriguez was not particularly valuable. The Yankees would have won if Luis Sojo had been playing third base. The Yankees might have lost if Raul Mondesi was the rightfielder.
    Welcome to our world. David Ortiz is the most valuable player.

    Josh - SF October 2, 2005, 12:36 pm
  • Ok first of off David is more vauble so who every written this. is not seeing cleary.
    Now just beacuse numbers show diffrnet dosent mean anything.
    thanks to david sxo are in playoffs once again :)

    Christopher October 4, 2005, 1:10 pm

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