Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Jimmy Rollins is not the MVP

Okay, let's start with this. First of all, in probably the single most important stat, OBP, especially for someone who is most of the time a leadoff hitter - Jimmy Rollins has a .344. The average in the NL is .334. He only has 10 points higher than the average!

The other most bandied about MVP candidates - David Wright, Prince Fielder, and Matt Holliday, have .416, .395, and .405 respectively, and yes Holliday plays at Coors, but even on the road he has a .374.

Note that no MVP has an OBP that low since Andre Dawson in 1987.

But Rollins is such a slugger from that leadoff spot, right? That surely makes up for his lack of on base percentage. Well, let's look over to his slugging percentage compared with the other candidates -

Rollins - .531
Wright - .546
Fielder - .618
Holliday - .607, though .485 on the road

Rollins' OPS is .875, with what baseballreference.com calls OPS+ of 120 - basically, OPS with a park factor, but you can read more about it on their website, and in addition - it compares with league averages, so it's better at comparing players through different eras.

The last MVP with a lower OPS was Kirk Gibson in 1988 with .860.
The last MVP with a lower OPS+ was Zolio Versalles in 1965 for the Twins with 116.

And no, I don't want to hear all about his defense - yes he does play a plus position, and he should get credit for that - but no, his defense is not above-average for that position - 9th amongst NL shortstops in hardballtimes.com's Revised Zone Rating.

VORP up your alley? Jimmy Rollins is 9th in the NL, below the three other candidates discussed above, Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera Chipper Jones, and his own teammate Chase Utley - and this accounts for the positional bias.

And I don't want to hear about his RBIs or Runs scored - these are extremely lineup dependent stats, and, yes, when you're a pretty good player (and I never said Rollins wasn't) and you lead off for the most productive team, offensively, in the league, you're probably going to lead the league in runs scored.

Okay, I have more to say, and I should make my full award picks, but first before the first game starts, let me make my playoff picks.

Phillies over Rockies in 4
Dbacks over Cubs in 5

Yankees over Indians in 4
Angels over Red Sox in 5

All right, I'll make the rest of the picks, and then just make new ones, when all of mine are wrong:

Phillies over Dbacks in 6
Angels over Yankees in 7

Angels over Phillies in 5

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