The AL MVP
There’s been a bit of a thing recently over who should win the AL MVP, Derek Jeter or David Ortiz. Some people think maybe even LHP Johan Santana deserves the hardware (though of course he’ll never win) Frankly, as a Mets fan, I don’t really give a shit who wins the AL MVP. But Jayson Stark has got something up over at ESPN.com giving three reasons why Santana, even with as great a season as he’s had, doesn’t deserve to be MVP that I just had to comment on.
His first point, that pitchers have the Cy Young award and that the MVP is for position players, I’m not going to argue with. I happen to disagree (I think it’s difficult for a pitcher to be the Most Valuable, playing in only 35 out of 162 games, but they shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand) but if that’s your position I can understand it. That’s fine.
His second is that “the Triple Crown is not a synonym for the MVP.” I don’t think that this is an actual argument against Santana for MVP, so much as an observation; that in the past, pitchers who have led their league Triple Crown stats (Wins, K’s, and ERA) have not won the MVP. Which probably means that Santana won’t win the MVP, but it doesn’t supply any reason why he shouldn’t.
His final point is a straw man argument for Santana for MVP, which he counters with some crap about how Liriano was just as good as Santana until getting hurt; and how if Liriano was just as good as Santana then Santana couldn’t be the MVP.
Now, forget about the fact that won-lost records are a really shitty way to tell how well a pitcher has performed (if you’ve seen 15-8 Steve Trachsel pitch you know what I’m talking about.). How does the fact that one player was just as good as another, for roughly half as long, take away from the guy who performed all season? If Johnny McRookiepitcher throws a perfect game in his first start and then his arm falls off and blows up, is he just as valuable as Santana?
And even if Liriano had been able to pitch brilliantly through the whole season, how would the presence of an excellent teammate take away from another player’s performance? Nobody makes the argument that Ortiz doesn’t deserve the MVP because Ramirez is also so good (both with 18 WSAB).
Of course, the MVP in the NL is Carlos Beltran. But if Howard takes the Phillies to the playoffs, Beltran won’t win either. No matter how much he deserves it.