Tuesday, September 30

Pure insanity

I'm sure firejoemorgan.com will get to this one eventually, but check out FJM poster boy Jon Heyman's MVP picks. I mean, from the second you read the title "MVP picks that may surprise you," you just know he has made poor choices and has done so knowingly. Wow.

Editor's note: FJM actually wrote two articles about this piece.

I'm not going to waste a lot of time going through every logical error Heyman makes here, because I don't have forever. But let's hit some highlights:

- Manny Ramirez as NL MVP. Was Ramirez awesome for the Dodgers? Yep, sure was. Did he play less than a third of the season for them? Also yep. I know Heyman fancies himself as an independent, out-of-the-box thinker, but you simply can't give this award to someone who played so little in the league. Manny "easily had the biggest impact?" What? Which brings me to:

- Albert Pujols finishing 5th in Heyman's NL MVP race. Pujols had an OPS+ of 190 for the entire season and Heyman only sees fit to rank him here and mention his batting average. Ahead of him, Heyman has CC Sabathia (we'll get there); Brad Lidge, who is a closer; and Ryan Howard, whose pedestrian 123 OPS+ is his lowest in four years. All three of these are unjustifiable. I know Heyman is giving extra weight to guys whose teams made the playoffs, which is ridiculous because one guy can only do so much on a 25-man team. Exactly how could Pujols have gotten the Cards into the postseason?

- Where's Chipper Jones? Not in Heyman's Top 10, despite a staggering 177 OPS+. Probably the playoff thing again. Jones should have willed his team's pitching staff to perform better.

- Francisco Rodriguez, AL MVP. This is what my post title refers to. This is stupid, stupid, stupid. There are countless players more deserving of this award than Rodriguez. Rich Rodriguez is a better candidate - at least he's not a closer. This man should not write about baseball again until he learns why this selection is wrong, admits publicly that he made a mistake, apologizes to SI and its readers for this error, and promises never to do it again. I know F-Rod is going to get actual MVP and Cy Young votes, and it bothers me as a fan of the game, but this is egregious.

- No A-Rod, anywhere. I know, not his best or most high-profile year, but not in the Top 10? Neither he nor Aubrey Huff (I know, right?), two of the most productive everyday players in the AL, made the list, but two closers did. And real quick: explain to me how Jermaine Dye had a better year than him, or, say, Grady Sizemore? You can't.

- CC 2nd in the NL Cy Young Voting. Yeah, he was tremendous - for half of the season. I do think he should get some consideration as one of the more valuable pitchers, certainly a Top-10 Cy finisher, despite his abbreviated stay in the senior circuit. But he should not place this high based on his half-season in Milwaukee. Sorry, big guy. Heyman is actually right about Santana, but Lidge has no business here and Tim Lincecum should be (at least) second.

- Cliff Lee, AL Cy Young. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Hold on. Beep...beep...beep How can you pick Lee as the league's best pitcher and have F. Rodriguez, who you just named the AL's most valuable PLAYER, as only third, behind Lee and Roy Halladay? This makes no sense. I actually agree with the 1-2 picks here, but how can you possibly square this paradox in your mind? I guarantee Heyman is trying to play some semantic game by over-parsing the word "valuable," I know he is, and it's dumb and patronizing. If Rodriguez was the most valuable player in the American League this year (which he emphatically was not), then he should be awarded the Cy Young as well (which he should not). FJM helpfully published the criteria for voting, which are:

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.

I wonder how many of these guys who make these silly picks for closers and dudes who played 53 games, and shun guys whose teams missed the playoffs by one game have actually read these guidelines. Every year, guys read way, way too much into the adjective "valuable," even though it says very clearly just what that means right here in the rules: strength of offense and defense. How hard is that? In light of these criteria, Heyman's MVP picks are comically bad.

I'll give Heyman some credit on page 2 - his ROY and managerial picks are acceptable (except maybe Torre), and no one cares about executives. But having all these closers and dudes who didn't play more than a half-season in a league as your top MVP candidates display a striking lack of knowledge about baseball, the kind you'd expect from a guy who wrote an anti-VORP article just last week, as Heyman did.

Please, understand the game better, or stop writing.

No comments: