Thursday, February 07, 2008

MVP Awards

Unlike the Cy Young awards, the MVP awards came out a bit surprisingly, particularly in the AL. I don't know if "real life" voters would have gone this way, but the differences in VORP were too big to ignore...

NL- Dolph Camilli: This was a two-man race much of the year, Camilli vs. Barry Bonds. Dolph led the NL in VORP and was at or near the top in most of the more traditional categories-- 2nd in batting average (.335, Ginger Beaumont led at .339), 2nd in slugging average (.633, Bonds was at .662), leading in on-base percentage (.442) and RBI (127, tied with Hank Aaron). He also hit 37 home runs (4th, Bonds led with 50). By most sabermetric measures Camilli and Bonds were equals, so the tie-breaker was the pennant race where Dolph led Brooklyn to a close 2nd place finish vs. the 6th place finish San Francisco had.

AL- George Sisler: I'm actually as surprised as you are. Of course, you're probably me if you're reading this. :) Albert Belle had a truly monstrous first half, and was a critical part of an Indians team that needed every contribution they got to eke out a division title over the Mariners, an ALCS win over the Yankees, and a 7-game Cloverland Series championship over the Cubs. Plus, he had 62 home runs and 138 RBI! Still, he placed a surprisingly low 5th in VORP. Of those ahead of him, Tris Speaker edged him out in VORP by placing well in many categories. Better yet were a pair of Philadelphia Athletics who put in huge years: Jimmy Foxx was 5th in slugging (.601, Belle led with .698), 4th in OBP (.423), and also in the top 10 in runs, RBI, doubles and triples. Al Simmons was better yet, finishing 2nd in batting (.374) and slugging (.674), leading the league in RBI (149), tied for third in triples (21, Gardner and Goslin led the league with 22) and in the top 10 in runs, OBP, runs, hits, and home runs. Any other year, Simmons would have been the winner.

But this season George Sisler hit .434. Now, I know there's some amount of disbelief that needs to be suspended here. And I know there's no way in the world Sisler hits .434 against the competition he had. Nobody has ever hit .434 for real even facing awful teams. But there it is- he hit .434 and given that and his other statistics (4th in slugging, 1st in OBP, leading in hits, top 10 in runs, RBI, and stolen bases), and that he led in VORP by 20 runs I don't see any rational way to deny he had the best season of anyone. Cleveland fans may argue, but I think the logic is irrefutable. So congratulations to the Browns fans!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Cy Young Awards

Naturally, statistics are kept in the Cloverland Leagues. And naturally, awards are given. However, I get the only vote. :) I actually went to the trouble of determining VORP for all the players, and rely pretty heavily on that statistic, though I'm willing to use other info as appropriate. The Cy Young awards for the Cloverland Leagues this season have two relatively obvious winners.

AL: Lefty Grove. While the Philadelphia Athletics had a disappointing season (under .500 and tied for last in the AL Classic Division) Grove provided a bright spot, leading the league in wins (22), ERA (2.40), and shutouts (6, tied with the Yankees' Red Ruffing) while coming in second in strikouts and leading Philadelphia in saves. Baltimore's Jim Palmer was quite close, also winning 20 games with a better winning percentage and more quality starts, along with pitching in a pennant race, but Grove's across the board excellence gained him the nod.

NL: Ed Reulbach. Unlike Grove, Reulbach did not lead a lot of categories-- Kid Nichols (among others) had many more starts and unsuprisingly racked up the counting stats (Nichols led the league with 27, Don Sutton led the league in strikeouts). Reulbach did, however, run away with the ERA crown, finishing with 1.41 in 243 innings, nearly 2 runs better than the league average. He also finished second in shutouts (6, Mordecai Brown led the league with 8) and held opponents to a .164 batting average, way below the league average of .243 and by far the best for pitchers over 100 innings let alone over 200 innings. He held opponents to an average of 5 hits per game and allowed an astonishing 0.04 home runs per game, the league leader by a factor of 5. He pitched 6 two-hitters and a 1-hitter, single-handedly accounting for half of the Cubs number of two-hitters or better. Although not taken into account for these purposes, Reulbach continued to excel in the postseason, finishing 5-0 with 5 quality starts in 5 tries and an ERA of 0.63 as the Cubs almost won the Series. There was no particularly strong competition for this award, Brown was second in VORP but was only the second-best pitcher on the Cubs...