Friday, November 18, 2016

Analysis of the MLB MVP Awards

The MLB MVP awards were announced yesterday with Mike Trout of the Angels winning in the AL while the Cubs Kris Bryant took home the hardware in the senior circuit.  After the mild (and unnecessary) controversy over the Rick Porcello winning the Cy Young , I thought I'd do a quick study of the MVP awards to see if the voters make good choices.

Once again, Bases Per Out (BPO) is the statistic used, but for offensive players the formula is a bit different: (TB+BB+SB+HBP+SAC+SF)/(AB-H+CS+SAC+SF+GIDP). That's the total bases achieved by the batter against the number of outs he made, and obviously, the higher the ratio the better.

With that in mind, here are the top 5 in the AL.
Player        Bases  Outs  BPO
Mike Trout     464   393  1.181
David Ortiz    424   397  1.068
Miguel Cabrera 419   438  0.957
Mookie Betts   443   481  0.921
Nelson Cruz    407   442  0.921
So Trout was the best player in the American League offensively, and when you add in his defensive contributions (which BPO ignores) he was the MVP. Betts was a defensive stud but his 49 walks really damaged his BPO.

Over in the NL, the story is a bit different:
Player           Bases  Outs  BPO
Joey Votto        435   400  1.088
Freddie Freeman   445   429  1.037
Daniel Murphy     372   362  1.028
Paul Goldschmidt  440   434  1.014
Kris Bryant       438   438  1.000
Would you look at that! Joey Votto was the best player offensively, while MVP Bryant was 5th with a BPO of exactly 1.000. So does that mean Votto was robbed? Of course not. First, Bryant was on a division champion, but more importantly, he was strong on defense too. Of those five players, only Bryant had a positive Defensive WAR (0.79) while Votto was a league-worst -2.43.

So it looks like the voters got it right this year, but in looking at the candidates, it was a pretty easy choice for both.



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