Come right here. Sit down. Let’s have a chat. I’m not offended, simply dissatisfied.
Final evening, Main League Baseball introduced the recipients of the 2021 MVP Awards. Philadelphia’s Bryce Harper received the Nationwide League Award for the second time in his profession, whereas the American League MVP Award went to Los Angeles’s Shohei Ohtani, changing into the eleventh participant to win the award unanimously and first since Mike Trout in 2014 to take action.
I’ve no issues with both of the winners. The issue lies within the full voting breakdown.
The Baseball Writers’ Affiliation of America (BBWAA) launched two separate articles declaring the winners, and in every it was revealed what number of votes every participant had. Right here’s the American League breakdown:
Nothing too odd. I admire that Kyle Tucker received a vote. The one particular person I might see not price having a vote is Austin Meadows, however he did file over 100 RBIs for the group with the very best file within the American League, so I can perceive the logic behind putting him there.
Now, on to the Nationwide League:
Hmmm, I’m shocked how far Freddie Freeman fell contemplating he was one of many favorites for the award close to the center of August. I like how effectively Bryan Reynolds was represented. Oh, isn’t it fascinating that Corbin Burnes received the Cy Younger Award however completed with fewer MVP factors? That’s fascinating, proper? All in all although, I don’t have a lot of a probl — FLOPPING FLOUNDERS! WHAT’S THAT?!
LaMonte Wade Jr.? He received an MVP vote? How? How? How?!
I don’t have something towards Wade. He was an amazing participant for the San Francisco Giants this 12 months, however on the similar time, he was a rotational piece for the Giants — simply one in all myriad gamers they rotated into and out of their outfield relying on who they had been going through. He performed in solely 109 video games this 12 months. He recorded an rWAR of 1.2. To place that in context, an rWAR of two.0 is taken into account to be a participant able to being a starter. If he’d performed each sport of the season, perhaps he would’ve reached 2.0… perhaps. He didn’t even file sufficient plate appearances to qualify in FanGraphs’ hitter leaderboards for 2021, so to insinuate that he was one of many 10 greatest gamers within the Nationwide League is questionable to say the least.
On the backside of every of the aforementioned articles, there’s an possibility that reads “View particular person ballots on separate web page.” To grasp how Wade managed to get a vote, you’re gonna wish to click on on that. After rigorously surveying every identify listed on every poll, or by urgent “Ctrl+F,” you’ll finally discover Wade’s identify on the backside of 1 Andrew Baggarly’s poll.
Baggarly is a author for The Athletic and covers the Giants. With that in thoughts, it is smart that Baggarly would lean in favor of the group he spends a lot time round. That’s regular. Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford acquired 4 first-place votes and two of them got here from the pair of Giants’ writers (Baggarly and Susan Slusser). We count on to see this sort of favoritism, whether or not or not it’s for a participant — like Baggarly with Crawford — or towards a participant — like me with Harper. That’s why I ought to by no means be given an MVP poll so long as I reside.
Essentially the most egregious occasion of this may be when a author for the NY Publish, George King, left Crimson Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez off his MVP poll solely in 1999. Martinez led the league with a 2.07 ERA that 12 months. He had 23 wins — additionally league-leading. To prime that each one off, he additionally led the American League with 313 strikeouts changing into simply the ninth pitcher in MLB historical past to file a number of 300-Ok seasons. None of that was sufficient to persuade King of Martinez’s MVP candidacy. Martinez wound up ending second-place within the 1999 AL MVP race, behind Texas’s Ivan Rodriguez. Martinez truly completed with extra first-place votes than Rodriguez, so who is aware of how the playing cards would’ve unfolded if King’s bias hadn’t performed a job in how he stuffed out his MVP poll.
All that stated, I perceive Baggarly’s determination to place Crawford as his prime possibility for MVP. He even presents up a pleasant explanation as to why he put Crawford on the prime, principally detailing that he values protection greater than most writers. I get it, however that also doesn’t clarify his determination to place Wade in at 10.
Wade wasn’t an amazing defender this season. He posted a 2.0 UZR/150 within the outfield this season — rating forty fourth in MLB amongst gamers who spent a minimum of 500 innings within the outfield. Wade’s mark additionally ranks third amongst Giants’ outfielders alone, behind each Austin Slater and Steven Duggar. Wade was not a defensive shiny spot on the group.
If Baggarly actually needed to point out like to his Giants, why not give that closing vote to Buster Posey, who not solely posted higher offensive numbers than Wade did in additional video games than Wade performed at a more durable place that requires common days off to be able to maintain that gamers’ effectiveness for all the season, but in addition posted the sixth-highest defensive worth amongst catchers with a minimum of 800 innings performed, per FanGraphs. Posey might not have been as nice behind the dish as Jacob Stallings or J.T. Realmuto, however he was nonetheless very strong. Why not him?
Regardless of the way you attempt to spin it, Wade’s inclusion on any MVP poll is difficult to defend. You’re telling me that Wade was extra helpful to the Giants than Nolan Arenado was to the Cardinals (didn’t obtain a single MVP vote by the best way)? Extra helpful than Nick Castellanos was to the Reds? Extra helpful than Freddie Freeman was to the Braves? I don’t purchase it. Wade was good this 12 months. As a Giants fan, I hope he stays with the group for a very long time. He’s a strong bat and versatile defender that any group would like to have, however he was not a top-10 participant within the league this 12 months… not even shut.