Tuesday, November 22


As you may have heard, Justin Verlander Justin Verlander won the AL MVP award.. I support this - I can hear arguments for Ellsbury, Bautista, Granderson, and Cabrera, but Verlander is a solid pick.

So solid, in fact, that he appeared on 27/28 of the BBWA AL MVP ballots, left off of only one: Ohio's Jim Ingraham. Ingraham has "defended" his choice in the above-linked article, a piece of writing so devoid of logic that I had to work it over for a while.

While I'm on the topic of anti-logic, how about Yankee pitcher David Robertson getting a 10th-place vote? Is his Mom on the committee? It's OK, I hadn't heard of him either. Wow.

But back to Ingraham's decision and poorly-reasoned explanation. Let's go.

Jim Ingraham: Why I left Justin Verlander off my MVP ballot
Jim Ingraham: Post-Hoc Reasoning.

I was one of the 28 voters for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
As we will see, you should be immediately relieved of this responsibility.

I had three Detroit Tigers on my ballot. None of the three was Justin Verlander, who won the award, getting 13 of a possible 28 first-place votes. I was the only voter who didn't include Verlander anywhere on his 10-player ballot.
The only acceptable line following this admission (which I give Ingraham credit for being honest and transparent about, at least), would be, "and I was mistaken."

This was my reasoning:
Taking remarkable liberties with that word.

The short version is I don't believe pitchers should be eligible for the MVP Award.
Oh, Jim Ingraham. It doesn't matter who you think should be eligible; pitchers are eligible. If you have a problem with the rules, take it up elsewhere. It says right on the ballot you were sent that pitchers are eligible.

My not voting for Verlander had nothing to do with evaluating what Verlander accomplished this season.
Well then, you screwed it up, didn't you? That's the entire point of the award. If you didn't evaluate Verlander's season, then you literally could not have done a worse job.

It was one of the great seasons by any pitcher ever. Nobody has to convince me of Verlander's greatness this season.

I cover the Indians, who are in the same division as the Tigers, so I've seen Verlander's greatness first-hand.
Irrelevant. We have TV now - anyone can watch Verlander.

He's the only pitcher I saw this year who I felt had a legitimate chance to pitch a no-hitter every time he took the mound.
Yeah, intellectual concessions, I know this tactic. Get to it, man.

I know Verlander is a great pitcher. I also know, by the nature of his job, he did not appear at all in 128 of the Tigers' games this year. That's 79 percent of the Tigers' season. I can't think of any other sport in which a player who didn't play in 79 percent of his team's games could be voted the Most Valuable Player in his league.
"I lack the imagination and sense to understand the way in which baseball differs from other sports."

Obviously, I'm in the minority in this year's MVP voting. I expected to be.
And you still didn't realize you were making a weak point? Did it at least occur to you that the reason no one agreed with you was that you were wrong? Did you ever kinda want to look at the numbers and see how pitchers' contributions compare to position players'?

I'm sure many wonder why I didn't at least have Verlander somewhere on my ballot — second, third, fourth — if not first. My answer to that is this: If Verlander was going to be on my ballot at all, he was going to be first.
Speechless. I cannot imagine what it is like to write something this illogical. I can't make my fingers do it.

But once I decided I didn't think it was fair to compare pitchers with position players for this award,
"Because I don't understand WAR or any other metric that allows for such comparison, and nor do I care to."

meaning I wasn't going to give Verlander a first-place vote, it would have been hypocritical of me to have him anywhere else on my ballot. He was either going to be first on my ballot or not on it at all.
Wow, you said it twice! This is absolutely insane. Is that more hypocritical than being selected for a prestigious task and putting your own ego before it?

Again, I realize I'm in the minority, and I don't begrudge any of my peers who did vote for Verlander. I can understand their argument for voting for him, and I respect the reasoning of those who did. I just don't agree with it. That's the whole purpose of the voting process. Sorting out opinions.
This is not the purpose of voting on baseball awards. Not at all.

In the 34 games (21 percent) of the Tigers' season that Verlander appeared in, he was obviously overpowering, and in most games virtually unbeatable. But in 128 of the Tigers' games (79 percent), he was no factor at all.
Verlander averaged 7 1/3 innings per start, and I simply won't let you pretend that his going deep into nearly every ballgame didn't help the Tiger bullpen in those other 129 games.

Twenty-one percent of an NFL season is three games.
3.4. You rounded down and I noticed.

I highly doubt an NFL quarterback could be voted MVP if he only played in three games.
This is totally inapt and dishonest. More than anything else in this horrible article, this sentence rankles me. If you don't understand the differences between baseball and football any better than this, then you should not write about sports professionally.

Look, Verlander faced 969 opposing batters this season; MVP runner-up Jacoby Ellsbury had 729 plate appearances. Ellsbury had 394 fielding chances to Verlander's 50 (and Verlander batted four times). That means Verlander was involved in 1023 plays and Ellsbury in 1125, where in nearly all of Verlander's he was far more involved in the outcome (pitching) than many of the routine flyballs Ellsbury no doubt handled. Don't give me this NFL QB "three games" rubbish.

I also believe there is a grind to the 162-game major-league season that position players have to deal with that starting pitchers don't. Position players must be physically and mentally prepared to perform at a high level in 140 or more games per season.
Ingraham just got mauled in the comments, as well he should have. 21/24 negative as of my writing.

It's a great achievement for the position players at the top of the MVP voting to be able to stay healthy and to perform at the high level they did over the long marathon of a major-league season. Starting pitchers aren't required to do that.
Yeah, throwing 100 pitches at ~90 MPH every five days is easy - that's why starting pitchers never get injured or develop elbow/shoulder issues.

That doesn't mean starting pitchers are any less important than position players. But to me, it does mean trying to compare the relative worth of a player who plays in 150 games to one who plays in 34 is very difficult. A pitcher and a position player are two completely different jobs.
WAR. It's not perfect, but it's useful and it blows up your whole spot.

I've been voting on these awards for 27 years.
Sorry, but you should be immediately disenfranchised.

I take this process very seriously.
No, you take yourself very seriously. If you took the process seriously, you would read and follow the instructions.

Verlander is a great pitcher. The best in the majors this year. My ballot is not my way of saying he wasn't. My ballot is my way of saying it's unfair to both groups to have to compare pitchers and position players for this particular award.
Your ballot is self-serving and wrong.
I'm going to add the WAR for each player he put on his ballot here. Know that Verlander's was 8.6.

Ingraham's MVP ballot:
1. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (8.5 - amazingly, he actually got the best position player right)
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox (7.2)
3. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (7.1)
4. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox (6.9)
5. Robinson Cano, Yankees (4.6)
6. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox (6.8)
7. Curtis Granderson, Yankees (5.2)
8. Alex Avila, Tigers (5.4)
9. Michael Young, Rangers (2.4, easily the worst player to crack the Top 10. Every other player to get any vote had a higher WAR than Young. Bizarre. Verlander was worth 6 more wins to his team than was Young.)
10. Victor Martinez, Tigers (2.9)

Hopefully the BBWA finds someone more qualified to handle this voting next season.

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