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Class in Session: Final Thoughts on Tex for MVP



By Mike Silva ~ August 17th, 2009. Filed under: Mike Silva.

Since the comments are coming fast and furious I figured I would give one last tidbit on my rationale behind Mark Teixeira for MVP.

First, I absolutely love Joe Mauer and, if I were starting a team tomorrow, he probably would be my first pick. Hopefully he hits free agency and either the Mets or Yankees sign him because he deserves to play in the spotlight of New York. With that being said, I don’t base my MVP vote the same way I draft the first round of my fantasy team. That doesn’t mean you are wrong and I am right. It’s more a product of how the MVP award is set up and the interpretation of the voter.

I combine the stats with the impact the player has on the team. Since the accuracy of WAR, in my opinion, is dubious at best, I use a more holistic approach to combining stats with the value of a player on a winning team. Obviously, the BBWAA has done this as well since Kirk Gibson and Terry Pendleton have won the award without close to the best numbers. My whole argument for Teixeira being the early favorite for MVP is based on the impact he has had on the Yankees team success. The Yankees were a non playoff team last year. They were seventh in the league in runs scored and scored less runs than three NL teams. I understand they lost Jorge Posada for the year, but Jason Giambi still had an OPS+ of 128. Not too shabby. Outside of Teixeira, they haven’t drastically changed the offense. As a matter of fact, they have a compromised Alex Rodriguez this year and have lost Posada for a small chunk of the season.

Enter Teixeira. The Yankees are second in the AL in runs, barely behind Anaheim, and scoring about a run more a game. Since players in Colorado are not disqualified for the MVP award (Larry Walker won it in 1997), than I can’t penalize Teixeira because of the new Yankee Stadium. No one has a true handle on that anyway.

The Yankees are scoring roughly 15% more runs with Teixeira versus Giambi, yet, some think that it’s ludicrous to consider him for the MVP. Think about this for a minute. I am proposing Mark Teixeira for MVP on August 17th, 2009. Not Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, or the injured A-Rod. Mark Teixeira, arguably one of the top 15 players in baseball.

Also, let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with anyone who votes for Joe Mauer. Things can change very quickly. Don’t you think many writers were going to vote David Wright as the 2007 NL MVP with 17 games left? In comparison, Joe Mauer has six weeks left. If the guy hits .400 do I reserve the right to change my mind? Of course. This debate started last week, after the Boston series, when I had Howard Megdal of SNY on during our weekly podcast. It was brought up again on Friday when many of the beat writers, after Tex hit a homer in the ninth, started to chatter about it. Anyways, I don’t have a vote so my opinion won’t sway the final tally. Everyone can relax and know that Mike Silva won’t ruin baseball as we know it.

Here is what I will leave you with. If Teixeira, according to WAR, is worth only four wins this year, shouldn’t Brian Cashman be fired for giving him a $180 million dollar deal? Don’t you think the entire Yankees lineup would be different if you have Miranda or Swisher at first and a Nady equivalent in RF? Imagine a compromised A-Rod being asked to carry the load of the offense? You might have a completely different clubhouse dynamic. These are the kinds of things that I value. That is why I read sports writers and what they report about the “intangibles” of a team. They are in the clubhouse daily and have the best grasp on what the true value of a player really is. These are things that are very hard to quantify, but are part of the lore of baseball. History indicates that others before us have done the same many times over.

It’s ok to create a statistical formula and have the “best overall offensive player” award. Joe Mauer probably would lock that one up today. The MVP, however, has no such criteria. Until the rules are clarified you can’t criticize the writers who voted for Gibson in 1988 anymore than those that voted for A-Rod in 2003. The nature of the award is such that each writer can use their own individual metric to come to a conclusion. Not you, me, or anyone else can change that. Only the MLB powers that be can, and we know how quickly they react to change.

You might not agree with my pick, method, or response, but anyone who says its wrong is simply just being unfair. The same goes for me. I can’t say anyone is wrong for debating me and using metrics to award it to Mauer. There is no right or wrong, it’s based on the individual’s interpretation. That is why it’s a vote. The best part is we all have fun discussing baseball.  That is what this site has always been, and will continue to be, about. If that bothers you, well, not sure if I can help you through that. I respect all that come here and challenge me. It makes me better and improves the overall baseball discourse.

That is all for now. Class dismissed. Respectfully of course!

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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21 Responses to Class in Session: Final Thoughts on Tex for MVP

  1. Jason

    “Obviously, the BBWAA has done this as well since Kirk Gibson and Terry Pendleton have won the award without close to the best numbers.”

    If you don’t see the big effing problem with this logic, no one can help you.

  2. Mike Silva

    Jason

    Both those players had HUGE impacts on their team. Many think Pendleton helped speed up the development of a young Braves team that some believe was not as good as the Dodgers. It’s possible Strawberry wins it in 91 if the Dodgers win the NL West. Straw very well could have been robbed 3x in 87,88, and 91.

    Gibson, I agree, is far more dubious, but he is always credited with being the heart and soul of that LA team.

  3. SS

    Don’t you think you should wait to determine your MVP until after the season?

  4. Mike Silva

    That is why I said, as of today, in my commentary. It’s ok to discuss early favorites no?

  5. Jeff

    so you still haven’t really answered the question: why should Mauer be knocked down in your mind because the twins pitching staff hasn’t held up its end of the bargain? you don’t get a chance to win too many games when one in every three starts (seems that way at least) your starter has to be taken out after giving up 6-7 runs in 2-3 innings. if the twins had league average pitching, they’d be much closer to being at the top of the division, if not at the top.

  6. Yankee1010

    Class in Session? Who is the teacher? You? Yep, welcome to the school of Mental Midgetry.

  7. John

    By this logic, Jeter should be the MVP as his turn around this season has probably been more impactful than Teixeira. When you can replace a player with at least 3 other players in the AL without a drop in production (probably a rise), how the hell is he MVP?

    Go look at his home and road splits and come back to me.

    The idea that an MVP should only come from playoff teams is elitist non sense. Mauer is doing more than any player in the world to better his team, simple as that. When will people learn most RBI + most HR on a playoff team != MVP.

    Where was Teixeira in April when the Yankees actually needed him to carry them without A-Rod?

  8. Eric P.

    “Outside of Teixeira, they haven’t drastically changed the offense”

    They haven’t drastically changed the guys playing for them. There’s no arguing, however, that the offense has drastically changed. The Yankees hit .271/.342/.427 last year. This year’s line is .278/.357/.477.

    Cano was rotten most of last year. Jeter had a down year. Jose Molina received way too many AB’s. Gardner & Melky were lousy in CF. Both Damon & Matsui were fine but have been even better this year. Swisher has effectively replaced Abreu’s AB’s.

    Trying to pin the turnaround of this offense mainly on Tex is just you trying to create a story to give credence to your argument. It’s not the truth.

  9. Jason

    “Both those players had HUGE impacts on their team. Many think Pendleton helped speed up the development of a young Braves team that some believe was not as good as the Dodgers. It’s possible Strawberry wins it in 91 if the Dodgers win the NL West. Straw very well could have been robbed 3x in 87,88, and 91.”

    That’s not what I’m arguing. Those selections may or may not be right but justifiying your argument for Teixeira by effectively saying “voters screwed up in the past so we should screw up now,” is ridiculous.

    You’ve admitted that you would take Mauer over Teixeira in a start from scratch, one year draft. That means you value Mauer over Teixeira. So why shouldn’t Mauer get the MVP?

  10. Chris Silva

    Let’s give a little credit to Tex here that he’s a top notch first basemen regardkess if you think Mauer should be MVP. Plus, you guys preach all the time that Cashman is a guru of your philosophy. Doesn’t bode real well for your guy if he’s giving out $200M contracts for average 1B. Time to re-evaluate the logic its sounding insane.

  11. Colin Wyers

    “Here is what I will leave you with. If Teixeira, according to WAR, is worth only four wins this year, shouldn’t Brian Cashman be fired for giving him a $180 million dollar deal?”

    Not really, no.

    Teixeira is making $20 million this year, innit he? Prorating that out to games played so far, (the Yankees have played a little over 70% of their games so far) and you get $14.6 million. 4 WAR is worth about $17 million. Putting up a 4 WAR performance basically means that he’s produced almost as much as two league average players do in a full season. Nobody is saying this is bad.

  12. Jason

    No one is saying Teixeira isn’t one of the best first basemen in baseball, he is.

    Cashman has an almost unlimited supply of money to spend. Teixeira was the best free agent hitter available and the Yankees had a spot for him. He signed him and so far, it has really worked out. How…is…that…bad?

  13. Matt Vorwald

    1B vs. C as a measure of value? Winner: C.

    Joe Mauer vs. Teixiera in EVERY STATISTICAL CATEGORY MEASURABLE? Winner: Mauer.

    Regardless of a team’s record, the MVP is a measure of the individual worth of a player’s contribution. Using flawed, broken logic to justify Teixiera over Mauer only exposes one as an idiot and a voluntary imbecile.

    The reality is that Teixiera is having a good year on a great team. He’s amond the top first basemen this year, and is producing decent numbers.

    Mauer, on the other hand, is having a legendary season. No catcher has ever approached the numbers he is putting up this year in combination. He is on track to have the highest single season OPS+ of any catcher in history.

    If you are foolish enough to think anyone other than Mauer is the AL MVP this year, please at least have the common sense to keep it to yourself instead of writing a moronic blog about it.

    Of course, you did hype up Alex Merricks as the next big thing, too… so I suppose this would be a pattern of lunacy on your part, Mike.

  14. Mike Silva

    Matt

    I never hyped up Alex, although I did speak to him on Sunday night and he gave his regards.

    I guess the bigger question is this: Is the MVP the most valuable player to the league or team? If league than Mauer, if team, then, well, it could take on different meanings.

  15. Jason

    “I guess the bigger question is this: Is the MVP the most valuable player to the league or team? If league than Mauer, if team, then, well, it could take on different meanings.”

    It’s Most Valuable Player. League or team, it’s the same. Joe Mauer.

  16. Matt Vorwald

    Team/League… makes no difference. I can find you 5 or 6 players who you could substitute into Teixeira’s spot and the Yankees would be no worse off (perhaps even better). Ironically, Mauer would be able to take over 1st base without problem for Teixeira and the Yankees would be the same or better.

    However, you can’t identify one single player who could take over Mauer’s duties and still have the Twins be the team they are. Their production would suffer, as would their defense. Teixeira certainly wouldn’t be capable of donning the tools of ignorance and satisfying the requirements of the position. Nevermind the physical demands of catching and their effect on offensive production.

    Pure and simple, there is no logical (keyword) argument which appoints Teixeira a greater value to the Yankees or to the AL than Mauer.

    MVP means, quite directly, “most valuable player”. Without contoring it, that translates to mean the player which brings the most value to his team. What player, if taken away from his team, would cause that team the most degeneration? Answer: Mauer. Hands down.

  17. Jason

    Mike,
    You’ve admitted that you would take Mauer over Teixeira in a start from scratch, one year draft. That means you value Mauer over Teixeira. So why shouldn’t Mauer get the MVP?

  18. Tim

    So Mauer hit 2 more homeruns last night in addition to raising his avg to a ridiculous .383. I could understand (although can’t justify) the inclination to give MVP to a player on a winning team–if the players were remotely comparable statistically. Mauer dwarfs Tex in every offensive measure imaginable: avg, obp, ops, slg–in addition to being a stellar defensive catcher. If the BBWWA gives the MVP to Tex over Mauer, who’s having a once-in-a-lifetime season as a catcher, it’ll only be because of the ignorance of people like Mike Silva. Maybe if the Red Sox acquire Yuniesky Beatancourt and he helps them make the playoffs, the MVP could be awarded to him!

  19. Mike Silva

    Mauer is having a great season. No one can criticize a vote for him with the MVP. I doubt he gets i unanimously so there are others that have the same thinking that I do. Is there enough to take the award away from him? Only time will tell!

  20. Matt Vorwald

    So now we are stooping to the level of deleting my posts, Mike? Wow, you just lost any remaining credibility.

  21. Mike Silva

    Matt

    No one deleted your post. It could have been put in Spam. Multiple URL’s will do that. What post are you referring to?

    We had two spammers here yesterday. I loosened up the filters, but it can get very dicey when you keep yourself completely open.

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