Saturday, November 1, 2014

2014 MLB Award Predictions


Two years ago I used my Bases Per Out (BPO) to predict the MLB award winners. BPO is the total number of bases the batter is responsible for (TB + BB+ HBP + SB + SH + SF) divided by the outs made (AB - H + CS + GDP + SH + SF). I realize that in these days of advanced metrics, BPO is pretty weak, as it equates a single with a walk or a stolen base (or a double with a walk and a stolen base), and it ignores defense. But it's fun in its own way and not to be taken too seriously. I find it quite similar in rankings to OPS but base stealers get bumped up a bit while those who ground into a lot of double plays will fall.

This year, there are few interesting races for the awards, but let's confirm that using BPO.

AL MVP

Who Should Win: Mike Trout. His BPO of 1.022 is slightly better than Victor Martinez at 1.005, mainly because Trout had 16 stolen bases to 3 for Martinez. Trout led the league in WAR (Baseball Reference) and his team was the best in the majors. No brainer.

Who Will Win: Trout.

Who Won: Trout, unanimously. Kyle Seager got one 10th-place vote.


NL MVP

Who Should Win: Clayton Kershaw. It drives me nuts when people say starting pitchers should not win the MVP because they only appear every 5 games. During that game, they are the center of attention for every pitch they throw and will often face 25 or 30 batters in a game, while an offensive player will get at most 5 plate appearances in a 9-inning game. In fact, over a season, a pitcher will record more plate appearances than a hitter - Kershaw faced 749 batters while Adrian Gonzalez led the Dodgers with 660 plate appearances.

Anyway, when looking at BPO, Kershaw's .435 (i.e. less than one base given up per two outs) is 13% better than Adam Wainwright, second in the league at .493. Kershaw's competition comes from Andrew McCutchen, whose BPO of 1.053 was only 3% better than Giancarlo Stanton's 1.020. McCutchen had 648 plate appearances by the way. The award should go to Kershaw.

Who Will Win: Andrew McCutchen - the voters stick with the tried and true.

Won Won: Kershaw, surprisingly, ruining my predictions. Stanton came second, McCutchen third.


AL Cy Young

Who Should Win: Felix Hernandez. Chris Sale sports a BPO of .473, the only American League hurler under 0.5, but he was hurt early in the season and finished with only 174 innings pitched, enough to qualify but not enough to overthrow Hernandez, who was second with a BPO of 0.503 in 62 more innings.

Who Will Win: Corey Kluber. His .539 BPO was fifth in the league, but he won 18 games compared to King Felix's 15 and struck out 269 to Hernandez's 248. Writers go for glossy stats like that, and Kluber was a relative unknown at the beginning of the season. As well, his WAR was a league-best 7.4 while Hernandez was second at 6.8. This is the closest race of the year, and I think Kluber gives the better narrative here, so he will win.

Won Won: Kluber, with 17 first place votes to 13 for Hernandez (169 to 159 overall).

NL Cy Young

Who Will Win: Kershaw, unanimously.

Who Won: Kershaw, unanimously.

AL Rookie of the Year

Who Should Win: Jose Abreu. His BPO of .982 ranks fourth in the league, just behind Jose Bautista (.986). Michael Brantley was fifth at .917, which shows how much better Abreu was than other good hitters. The leading rookie pitcher in the league was Yordano Ventura at 0.628, good for 22nd overall, but not good enough to beat Abreu.

Who Will Win: Abreu, probably not unanimously though.

Who Won: Abreu, unaminously.


NL Rookie of the Year

Who Should Win: Jacob DeGrom. This is an odd category as only one NL rookie qualified, Billy Hamilton of the Reds. But his season wasn't that great, with a BPO of only 0.662, which is helped by his 56 steals but hurt by 23 caught stealings. So we have to look at the non-qualifiers and among them, one stands out: Jacob DeGrom of the Mets whose .570 BPO in 140.1 innings pitched ranks 7th in the league, in front of World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, who came in 9th at .577 (Julio Teheran was 8th if you need to know).

Who Will Win: I have no idea, but I'll guess DeGrom as he plays in New York and is one of the few bright spots the Mets have.

Who Won: DeGrom

So there you go. Six more predictions. I'll update this after the awards are announced to see how I did.

Best,

Sean


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