Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mike Trout Leads the League in #HaaHIF, Thus Give Him the MVP

Tuesday is normally the day in which Your Party Host enters the mind of Bill Simonson and shows how Bill is completely wrong about everything using simple facts and logic. Alas, for the second straight week, Huge has not devoted his column to the Tigers. Therefore, we must seek our fun elsewhere. Darn.

What luck! It’s Yahoo to the rescue! Normally, I ignore these Yahoo Contributor Network articles because they are pretty much universally garbage. To write one, I believe an author must possess a pulse and an internet connection, with little else. Some don’t even come up with their topics themselves, as Yahoo just assigns topics it wants covered.

This one was written a week ago, but was just brought to my attention. And it is one that is just way too stupid to ignore. (Kind of like Angels fans.)

Here we go.

I shall skip the opening which is a boo-hoo session on how the Angels have been a disappointment this year, despite the efforts of God’s Gift to Baseball, Mike Trout. When listing all the ways Trout is so amazing, the author even describes him as “handsome as all heck”. Seriously.

Home runs, stolen bases, doubles, walks, great catches and handsome as all heck.

As you can see in this beach photo, Trout leads the league in Handsome as all Heck Index Factor (HaaHIF). Or as I may start calling it on Twitter, #HaaHIF.

We’ll pick it up as this clown starts by complaining about Cabrera topping Trout in last year’s MVP race. 

As a matter of fact, he's been hitting even better this year than last year; and last year he should've been the American League's MVP, but he was robbed by the old-school baseball writers who fell in love with Miguel Cabrera's "Triple Crown" while ignoring the fact that two of those three stats are relatively useless.

I agree, the RBI stat is quite overrated, as those with talented teammates in front of them in the lineup getting on base often is going to inflate the stat. See Prince Fielder this year in Detroit. But one shouldn’t ignore it completely. High RBI numbers aren’t as impressive to me as something like OPS, but I don't consider them completely useless.

And while batting average isn’t my favorite stat either, again I wouldn't call it useless. If a guy’s hitting .340 over 600 at bats, I think it’s safe to say that he’s a pretty good hitter. But like all stats, there isn’t just one stat you should look at. There are many to give a full picture. This is the trap our Yahoo author falls into as we move on through this piece.

Yes, Cabrera's offense was a bit better than Trout's. But his defense and baserunning were negatives while Trout's were among the best in the league. Coincidentally, the Detroit Tigers wound up losing the World Series in no small measure due to the team's baserunning errors and inferior defense.

Miguel Cabrera being slow on the bases and below average on defense does not translate to an entire team being the same. While indeed, like many teams, the Tigers have many slow runners and crappy defenders, one player does not affect the others. If it did, Jesus H. Trout’s speed and solid D would mean everyone on the Halos would be the same. It would mean that a slow Cabrera would produce a slow Austin Jackson. It’s a fucking stupid thing to say. One of many in this article.

Also, the Tigers lost the World Series because nobody on the team could produce on offense during the four games. I know that in your world, defense and speed are super-duper important, but without offense, your team can’t win. Quite simply, the Giants pitching staff shut the Tigers down. If you would have stopped masturbating to your life-size handsome as heck Mike Trout cutout, you may have known this. Or perhaps you like this picture of him dressed as a baby?
Whatever floats your boat, man.

Finally, thank you for bringing up how overrated defense and speed can be, without meaning to do so. Despite the Tigers overall being so un-Trout-like in those categories, they still made the World Series. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

Despite Trout's overall statistical superiority (10.0 WAR to 6.9 WAR),

Overall statistical superiority…IN ONE STATISTIC. A statistic that cannot be agreed upon on how to properly calculate it, as it is different depending on the site you go to. A statistic that most agree completely overvalues speed and defense when determining high scores.

In 1989, the speedy defensive wizard Ozzie Smith had a WAR of 7.3 while batting .273 with 2 home runs. Who would you rather have on your team, 1989 Ozzie or 2012 Miguel? If you said Ozzie, you’re either a delusional Cardinals fan or a complete moron. Possibly both.

Cabrera won the MVP Award, and the voting wasn't even close. Voters felt strongly that someone needed to teach a lesson to all the stat nerds who are ruining the game of baseball by explaining it in greater depth and with more accuracy.
This is why voters and fans with roots in traditional stats will not take you seriously. Because you’re being a cock about it. To call those that embrace batting average as being valuable stupid is just as annoying as when a 90 year old fart like Jerry Green dismisses sabermetrics as “poppycock” because he doesn’t understand it.

Both sides act like children in most of these arguments. That or condescending jerkoffs. Look at the entire picture. Most of the time, when you do, patterns start to emerge when using as many stats as possible. Like Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera are both pretty good at baseball, no matter what stats you enjoy more.

If you insist on bringing up last year, fine. I would have had no problem with Trout winning the AL MVP in 2012. The Triple Crown was cool, but that shouldn’t guarantee anyone the MVP Award. But to dismiss it completely isn’t very bright, either.

In 2012, Trout topped Cabrera in WAR, OBP, runs, OPS+, VORP, and stolen bases.

Meanwhile, Cabrera edged out Trout in batting average, hits, home runs, RBI, slugging, OPS, wRC, and wOBA,

Each guy led the other in a mix of traditional stats and sabermetric ones. And again, while I agree WAR is an important stat, the MVP is not awarded to the guy with the highest WAR. The BBWAA voting is determined by the following guidelines:

1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.

2. Number of games played.

3. General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.

4. Former winners are eligible.

5. Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.

That’s it. It’s an award that each voter decides on who matched the criteria the best. It’s not the title of “Best Overall And Most Handsome Player in Baseball”. Both men had valid claims to it last year. If you’re a speed and defense fan, you liked Trout. If you valued offense more than the others combined, Cabrera had the edge.

Notice that I’m not using Cabrera’s team making the playoffs as an argument, as many do. I cannot stand that argument. A player having a season like Trout or Cabrera did shouldn’t be penalized because the rest of his team played like shit. Baseball is a team game. The MVP is an individual award.

Why are we still going on and on about 2012? It's over. Let's concentrate on 2013. This year, Cabrera clearly trumps Trout. More on that later...there's more 2012 whining to get through first.

Detroit players and the media went on ad nauseam about how Cabrera "carried" the Tigers at the end of the season. But he was on a "team" of players that included an extremely productive Prince Fielder and a starting rotation that had an ERA under 2.00 for the last five weeks of the season. So, whom was he "carrying" exactly?

Alex Avila, Delmon Young, Omar Infante, Jhonny Peralta, and Brennan Boesch. That’s who. The five of them put up the following OPS+ numbers as Tigers last year: 99, 88, 78, 84, and 88.

You want just September/October numbers? Fine.

Avila: .220/.361/.390, 2 HR
Young: .239/.254/.372, 3 HR
Infante: .238/.274/.327, 1 HR
Peralta: .171/.250/.257, 2 HR
Boesch: .196/.281/.333, 1 HR

In 31 regular season games in September and October, Cabrera hit .333/.395/.675/1.071 with 11 home runs. While his teammates wilted down the stretch, he flourished. If you can’t see the value in that, you’re insane.

Also, going through the last month of the season game-by-game, Miggy's "incredible" offensive numbers actually only factored into four of the team's wins -- while his poor baserunning and fielding factored into three of the team's losses. "Interesting," say some. "Facts bad!" scream everyone else.

Interesting…I say your facts are bad.

This season, with less than 50 games to go, it looks like we have another close race for the MVP with these two. Trout once again has the overall superior numbers (7.4 WAR to 7.0 WAR),

A 0.4 lead in one stat now means OVERALL SUPERIOR NUMBERS. I’ve had more logical debates with a wall.

and Cabrera has the slightly better offensive numbers.

Let me stop you right there. A 0.4 advantage in WAR is “overall superior numbers”. But the following are just “slightly better offensive numbers”. Suddenly, you’re the one screaming “FACTS BAD!”

Average: Cabrera .360, Trout .333

HR: Cabrera 40, Trout 21

RBI: Cabrera 120, Trout 78

OBP: Cabrera .452, Trout .430

SLG: Cabrera .689, Trout .574

OPS: Cabrera 1.141, Trout 1.004

wOBA: Cabrera .478, Trout .428

wRC+: Cabrera 207, Trout 179

wRAA: Cabrera 67.4, Trout 50.4

WPA: Cabrera 6.05, Trout 4.00

RE24: Cabrera 69.49, Trout 62.02

RISP: Cabrera .437/.552/.881/1.433, Trout .321/.441/.541/.982

So for the author to say that Cabrera is just slightly better offensively, I would respond with:
Of course, the MVP isn't just "who has the best WAR?"

Well, fuck. There goes your entire argument. Thanks for wasting our time. Instead of looking up stats, I could have been googling “shirtless mike trout” and fapping like there’s no tomorrow.

Note: Googling “shirtless Mike Trout” will get you this picture.
The internet is a magical thing.
There are other factors to look at

Like nearly every stat other than WAR?

-- most of which are somewhat subjective.

At this point, the author does not list any of these subjective factors to look at. I’m assuming this is because he’s a pimple on the ass of sportswriting. Bleacher Report wouldn’t have published this.

And that's OK. It should never just be a mathematical award -- unless that math says 10.0 to 6.9.

It should never be a way, unless it is this way which supports my argument.

However, this year there's a wrinkle in the overblown Triple Crown -- Chris Davis is also having a very good offensive season in those categories, so Cabrera probably won't get all three.

When you begin arguing a piece that the Triple Crown means nothing, why do you go off on a tangent about it here after mentioning subjective factors in the MVP race? (Also, I wouldn’t count out Cabrera catching Davis in the HR race. Unless Davis is too overpoweringly HANDSOME.)

Before you get too worked up, Baltimore Orioles fans, Davis isn't even close to this discussion.

Hey, don’t get worked up Oriole fans, but your guy sucks asshole.

He's a heck of a batter and, so far, is a distant third place in the MVP ranks.

He’s third in WAR. Which means everything in the beginning of this piece. But then it doesn’t. But then it does if it’s a certain number vs a certain number. And now it means everything again. I hope you’ve all been able to keep score at home on this one.

Davis' performance really shows the fallacy of using the Triple Crown as a basis for giving out an MVP Award. Cabrera's offensive numbers are better than last year's, but he probably won't get the Triple Crown and is therefore less likely to win the MVP.

I agree that Triple Crown should not equal MVP. But only crazy people think a Triple Crown guarantees an MVP. In fact, many Triple Crown winners did not win the award. It's just as silly as folks that believe WAR should be the only deciding factor. But if, say, Joe Mauer would have had a twelve point higher batting average and topped Cabrera’s in 2012, are you telling me people would have been less likely to vote for Miguel and would have given it to Trout? That’s ridiculous.

With no Triple Crown and no Team Carrier,

I hope the next girl you get drunk enough to bang you is a herpes carrier.

it's unclear what false narrative the media

LIBERAL JEW MEDIA, amirite? Asshole.

will come up with to pretend that Cabrera's offense is actually even more especially special to make up for being a terrible base runner and probably the worst-fielding third basemen in the league.

1. Fuck you.

2. Eat shit.

3. Slow does not mean terrible.

4. I assume you’re using UZR for your fielding shot. UZR currently has Trout as the 18th best outfielder in the AL behind guys like Andy Dirks and Vernon Wells. UZR is severely flawed. And while Cabrera is currently crippled and not very mobile at third, I’ve seen worse.

5. Seriously. Fuck you.

Maybe we can say "Cabrera's team made the playoffs (even though they would have without him),"

If Miguel Cabrera didn’t exist and his replacement, Don Kelly, was the starter at third, the Tigers would be in third place behind Cleveland and Kansas City. I have nothing to prove this statement, but you didn’t provide any when saying they’d still make the playoffs.

/sticks out tongue since this is quickly dissolving into a child’s argument

or "Trout is just showing off,"


or "Cabrera hasn't been arrested for drunk driving in a while."

Ha. What a dick. Judging by their usual comment sections, Yahoo must be proud with your contribution. Your cheap shot at Cabrera’s past mistake has done nothing but take any credibility you may have had with the rest of your article away. I hope it was worth it.

By the way, how are you enjoying Josh Hamilton in Anaheim?

It will be interesting to see whether the voters have learned anything from last year's mistake. Do they consider the Most Valuable Player to be the one that contributes the most in all aspects of the game or is it the guy who leads the league in arbitrarily selected statistical categories?

Arbitrarily selected…like WAR?

And for Angels fans, it's the cliché "there's always next year." But, in the meantime, they get to pass the time watching the best player in baseball -- Mike Trout.

Isn’t he DREAMY?

Look. I think Mike Trout’s the best overall player in baseball today when you figure in everything. Speed, power, defense…he’s the total package. But that doesn’t make him the MVP. Cabrera’s having a monster season and he’s doing it so injured that he can barely walk. You can’t ignore the numbers he’s putting up. Unless you’re only looking at WAR. And even then, it’s damn close.

Jed Rigney is a Los Angeles-based award-winning filmmaker

Jed’s award he won was the Jury Prize for Best Screenplay for “Fools on the Hill”, a film about political ethics and legislative incompetence that follows one man’s attempts to require politicians to actually read the bills they are passing.

Think about that in context with this incompetent article.

who also fancies himself a baseball writer.

I could fancy myself as a pirate. Or a cowboy. Doesn’t make me one.

He is the lead humor columnist at Through the Fence Baseball.

Ohhhhh. This was all a joke. I get jokes. Good one, Jed.


THIS JUST IN: Jed has backed off on his stance already. Click here for more. Hat tip to reader Jeremy for the link.

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