Monday, September 11, 2006

Derek Jeter and the MVP

As the inevitability of a Yankee AL East Title this year becomes clear, the dialogue among sports pundits has shifted toward the AL MVP race. Derek Jeter, the clear Yankee favorite, is currently favored, and a lot of people do not like that. To paraphrase some arguements (click on the link for the real article)

David Ortiz:

"I hit home runs and RBIs. I bat 4th. Derek Jeter is a great #2 hitter, but he doesn't help the team as much as me. It's a travesty. Waaa. I wish I hit in the Yankee lineup. I'm a bitch"

Several Red Sox fanboy writers:

"Derek Jeter is only being favored because he is a middle infielder. It is an idiotic bias against the designated hitters and 1st basemen of the world."

Essentially the gripe is "Ortiz should have won last year on a false premise, so a Yankee shouldn't win again!"

I'm not going to go into a giant statistical breakdown of the MVP candidates. SG over at RLYW did an amazing job of that. The writers have decided that for some reason MVP means playoffs. Among all playoff teams in the American league, Derek Jeter leads AL candidates in Runs Created (122), Batting Runs (54), VORP (73.4), WPA (5.62) and Win Shares [updated 9/4/2006] (27).

You have to hit extremely well from a DH or 1b position in order to outhit a well hitting shortstop. It is why Alex Rodriguez's career was amazing for the first ten years. He was putting up Hank Aaron numbers at a very demanding defensive position. Derek Jeter not only has been quite an amazing hitter, but he has also manned a very difficult defensive position. Sure, Ortiz has lots of RBIs and home runs. But Derek Jeter has position.

There is no doubt in my mind that Derek Jeter, on September 11th 2006, is a no brainer for the MVP. He has plenty of time to lose it, especially to Joe Mauer. Jermaine Dye has a shot, but as RLYW points out, his defense this year has been atrocious.

Oh... and fire Torre.