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Who is your Sox MVP?


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Poll: Red Sox MVP (370 member(s) have cast votes)

From the following choices and using the criteria of the league-wide award, who is your Sox MVP?

  1. Jonathan Papelbon (3 votes [0.81%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.81%

  2. Dustin Pedroia (8 votes [2.16%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.16%

  3. David Ortiz (103 votes [27.84%])

    Percentage of vote: 27.84%

  4. Mike Lowell (155 votes [41.89%])

    Percentage of vote: 41.89%

  5. Josh Beckett (101 votes [27.30%])

    Percentage of vote: 27.30%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 kazuneko

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 01:24 PM

I took this poll from the Globe online. Currently they have received over 3,000 votes with only 2.2% of participants choosing David Ortiz and 1.5% choosing Paps ( both beaten out by Pedroia's 2.5%). Lowell is far and away the leader, having been picked by nearly 80% of respondents.
For me this seemed a classic example of voters reacting to this question in terms of how player production compares to preseason expectation, something I don't see as relevant to an MVP vote. Sure Lowell (and Pedroia) are the biggest surprises on this list, but that does not make them the MVP. My vote? David Ortiz, who, injuries and all, has carried this team offensively all season long.

#2 jayhoz


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 01:28 PM

I look at the MVP this way. Which player could this team stand to lose the least? I voted Beckett. Papi is a close second.

#3 Lefty on the Mound


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 01:30 PM

Beckett.

How can you not pick the first 20 gamme winner since 2005 as the team MVP? Remember that he missed 3 games with the avulsion. Without Josh winning games at such a high "win per appearance" rate, the Sox are not finishing with this good a record and PN23 might still be at large on this board.

#4 Razor Shines

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 01:43 PM

Lost amid Ortiz's decreased home run total is the fact that he might be having better year than 2006 (when he had 54 HRs).

His "power outage" has been completely overblown, since HR rates across the league are down, and due to a few more doubles than HR's in comparison to last season.

2006: 85 extra-base hits
2007: 84 extra-base hits, with 5 games to play.

He's shattering his career high in OBP, and will likely finish with his best season in OPS+ for his career. Were it not for A-Rod's outrageous season, this guy would be getting some AL MVP chatter. For me, the easy choice is Ortiz.

Edited by Razor Shines, 27 September 2007 - 01:49 PM.


#5 mabrowndog


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:02 PM

Ortiz has been the far bigger offensive producer, but I'm going with Lowell. He's had another tremendous season defensively -- his 5.3 fielding win shares is tops among AL 3rd basemen by 1.0 over Brandon Inge.

His 17.8 batting win shares give him 23.1 total, not far behind Ortiz's 24.8.

Beckett (18.1) ranks not only behind both of them, but behind Youks as well (20.3).

#6 xjack


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:09 PM

Here's The Hardball Times' Win Share numbers for the Sox through last week:

THT Win Shares
Year Name Total WS
2007 Ortiz 25
2007 Lowell 23
2007 Youkilis 20
2007 Pedroia 18
2007 Beckett 18
2007 Crisp 16
2007 Ramirez 14
2007 Varitek 13

Off topic, but what I found most interesting here wasn't the top guys but Coco's win shares, which are boosted by a his 8.6 defensive win shares -- the most of any outfielder or infielder in the AL.

http://www.hardballt...p;Submit=Submit

Edited by xjack, 27 September 2007 - 02:10 PM.


#7 ObstructedView

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:39 PM

I think there's a tendency with these things to focus on the guy who's been the biggest surprise, as opposed to the most valuable. Clearly Lowell has been unexpectedly huge, and that turned out to be a big factor given Manny's late-season absence. But you can't take Ortiz for granted. Take his production away and this offense is very average.

Beckett was obviously a rock and has been a key stopper down the stretch, but for much of the season he was part of a rotation that was pretty solid up and down.

#8 Fratboy


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:42 PM

Ortiz is the MVP. Hands down. SoSH doesn't realize just how good he's been this year, and you should. OBP > SLG, and his although his slugging is down a little bit (but still in the .600 range), his OBP is through the ROOF, and that's where the value lies.

Mike Lowell wins the award for "Most Pleasant Surprise", doing what would have been expected of JD Drew, and Drew doing what would have been expected of Lowell.

EDIT: I wrote this without knowing what Obstructed View wrote above, btw. Great minds, etc.,...

Edited by Fratboy, 27 September 2007 - 02:42 PM.


#9 Senorec

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:53 PM

I voted for Ortiz. Even though its not a no-brainer, it is pretty close. And in regards to the Globe poll with Lowell being the overwhelming favorite, I think it has a lot to his big night last night and taking over as the RBI leader (again). The news stories are (rightfully) fellating Lowell, so it makes sense that he has garnered 80% of the vote. But he definitely is a close 2nd, along with Beckett. Interesting Pedroia only has 1 vote, even though he is as close to a SoSh favorite as we have.

#10 kazuneko

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 03:28 PM

One of the rapidly developing media myths on this subject is that no player on the Sox has "been more consistent" than Mike Lowell. Despite this, available statistical data does not bare this out.

Not only has Ortiz' OPS been superior to Lowell's for every month of this season but Lowell, month to month, has been the much more inconsistent performer. Exemplifying this is the fact that Lowell's year-worst, June OPS .(657 OPS.) is nearly .340 points below Ortiz' year-worst, July (.995) OPS.
Further, while Lowell has put up numbers below his seasonal averages in September (.816 OPS) Ortiz has taken his game to a new level at exactly the time the team has most needed him: this crucial final month. Ortiz' .1231 OPS for the month of September is not only league- leading, but by by far the best month any member of the team has put up all year.

Edited by kazuneko, 28 September 2007 - 01:29 PM.


#11 satyadaimoku


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 03:42 PM

I went Beckett, I could have gone Ortiz. Both are clear 'but-for' players on this team, in the sense that if we don't have either of them, we're not making the playoffs. But if you gave me a choice between being without Ortiz for the playoffs and being without Beckett for the playoffs, I would choose the former. Beckett, IMO, is what stopped us from total collapse over the past couple of weeks, and his recent dominance is my #1 hope in the playoffs.

#12 deanx0

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 03:54 PM

I think Globe fans are reading the following article, and agreeing with Ryan:

The answer is clear to Bob Ryan

I think Ryan still holds juice with the average Globe reader, and if this question was on the site yesterday, before the Ryan article, Papi would be the leader in the poll.

#13 ToxicSmed


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 03:56 PM

I went Beckett, I could have gone Ortiz. Both are clear 'but-for' players on this team, in the sense that if we don't have either of them, we're not making the playoffs. But if you gave me a choice between being without Ortiz for the playoffs and being without Beckett for the playoffs, I would choose the former. Beckett, IMO, is what stopped us from total collapse over the past couple of weeks, and his recent dominance is my #1 hope in the playoffs.

I voted for Ortiz, but was torn between him and Beckett. This post raises a good point, however, and I wish I could change my vote. If I had to do without Ortiz or Beckett for the playoffs, it would be Ortiz. It wouldn't, however, be a fun choice.

#14 Morgan's Magic Snowplow


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:07 PM

Here's The Hardball Times' Win Share numbers for the Sox through last week:

THT Win Shares
Year Name Total WS
2007 Ortiz 25
2007 Lowell 23
2007 Youkilis 20
2007 Pedroia 18
2007 Beckett 18
2007 Crisp 16
2007 Ramirez 14
2007 Varitek 13

Off topic, but what I found most interesting here wasn't the top guys but Coco's win shares, which are boosted by a his 8.6 defensive win shares -- the most of any outfielder or infielder in the AL.

http://www.hardballt...p;Submit=Submit


That number for Coco is definitely very impressive. But keep in mind that defensive win shares are calculated in a fairly opaque way that doesn't employ play-by-play data (instead its reliant on things like putouts, errors, assists, overall team DER, and putouts/inning compared to others on the team). I don't really understand the whole formula, but I think its far from clear that its a top-notch defensive metric.

For a point of comparison, Coco is far and away the leader among AL centerfielders in defensive win shares but is only 4th (which is not too shabby of course) in RZR among AL centerfielders. He has almost 3 defensive win shares more than Curtis Granderson, but trails Granderson in RZR .920 to .909.

I voted for Papi.

#15 Eric Van


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:20 PM

According to WPA, after adjusting for position played, defense, and PT, and fudging the value of relievers downwards since their replacement is the next best reliever --

it's Beckett, Ortiz, Papelbon, Okajima (remember him?), Schilling, Matsuzaka, Pedroia, Lowell.

Edited by Eric Van, 27 September 2007 - 04:24 PM.


#16 kazuneko

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:23 PM

I voted for Ortiz, but was torn between him and Beckett. This post raises a good point, however, and I wish I could change my vote. If I had to do without Ortiz or Beckett for the playoffs, it would be Ortiz. It wouldn't, however, be a fun choice.

It is generally accepted that high quality top-of-the-rotation starting pitching is a key to success in the playoffs. As such, if the current debate was about who it is we feel will be most indespensible in the coming playoffs many of us might lean towards Beckett. That said, this is not at all relevant to a debate about who is the Red Sox seasonal MVP.
The MVP discussion is not about looking forward, but looking back. Part of the reason the league makes voters submit their votes prior to the post-season is because they do not want voters to be influenced by anything that happens outside of the regular season. Similarly, choosing an MVP should not be about what players potential impact might be in the postseason, but their actual impact in the regular season.
As such, I really don't think Satya's question is relevant. This vote is for the 2007 regular season MVP. The only relevant question is who on the roster was most important to the team's success (thus far).

Edited by kazuneko, 27 September 2007 - 04:26 PM.


#17 Remagellan

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:26 PM

I went with Lowell. The Papi argument is persuasive, but I'm casting this vote as much with my heart as with my head. Every year I root a little harder for some guy whom I feel other people are down on. Last year that player was Lowell, so I have taken an inordinate amount of joy in his proving that he wasn't the washed up player many thought he was when he arrived on the team.

(Coming soon--I hope--the J.D. Drew post-season redemption that answers my season-long prayers.)

As for Beckett, I don't usually consider a starting pitcher for MVP unless he has a truly extraordinary season like Carlton in 1972 or Pedro in 1999 and 2000, etc. Beckett has been great and extremely valuable to this team, but as great a season as he's having, it's not up to that standard.

#18 MidnightC

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:45 PM

This is a surprisingly tough question. I voted for Ortiz. Even with the bad knee and the lower homerun total, he's still the best hitter on this team, but his "value" compared to everyone else is a lot closer than it's been in the past.

It's hard to see the 2007 Sox being where they are without any of the guys listed in this poll, really. Lowell's had a fantastic season, Beckett's emerged as the ace we hoped he'd be, Pedroia's been great, and so has Papelbon. Okajima should probably be given a shout out too.

#19 Rice4HOF

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:50 PM

I voted Pedroia.
My reasoning was based on my interpretation of MVP, which is how would the Sox have done if this players was injured for, say 3 months. Not necessarily a vote for the best player or the one who contributed the most runs, because if the Sox have a substitute who would have filled in and done almost as well, then this player's value in relation to MVP is lower.

If Ortiz was out, we'd have replaced his bat. WMP? trade for Dye? Manny DH, Hinske to 1st? many possibilities, all which would be downgrades, but we'd survive.
Lowell - Youks moves to 3rd, Hinske goes to 1.
Beckett - lots more starts for Lester/Gabbard/Tavarez etc. - Not ideal as every 5th game we 'd be using our #5/6 guy instead of our ace, but doesn't affect the other 80% of the games. I didn't look it up, but I'm guessing we've won about 22 out of 30 Beckett starts. With a#6 guy there, maybe we win 13 out of 30. The difference is 9, over half a season of missing Beckett, the net impact would be about 4 or 5 less wins.

If Pedroia was injured or continued to bat .140 and ended up being benched, we would have an everyday lineup with feared sluggers such as Crisp, Lugo, a slumping Drew and Cora, for every single game. Think of how much having Pedroia and his ~.400 OBP at the top of the lineup since the beginning of May helped to solidify the lineup. Without this we'd have 2 of Cora/Lugo/Crisp/Youks getting the most plate appearances every game.

Not really his fault, but I feel that if anybody else was hurt we'd get a replacement for them, but with Pedroia, with stick with Cora who got off to a hot start, and we'd have paid the price all season long.

#20 flymrfreakjar

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 05:00 PM

According to WPA, after adjusting for position played, defense, and PT, and fudging the value of relievers downwards since their replacement is the next best reliever --

it's Beckett, Ortiz, Papelbon, Okajima (remember him?), Schilling, Matsuzaka, Pedroia, Lowell.


And Lowell's leading the poll even here on SoSH. Nothing against Lowell's performance this season, he's been absolutely fantastic, but Ortiz and Beckett have totally carried this team this season. Beckett has been asked to be a stopper so many times this year, and has come up big in nearly every situation. He's been dominant and given the team an excellent chance to win every time that he's taken the mound. Beyond being an offensive force all year, with Manny going down, Ortiz needed to come up big and he's responded by hitting over .350 with 9 HR and 26 RBI since the injury on August 28th. Not to mention he's been playing through considerable pain all year. That being said, and it's pretty close, but I'd give Beckett the edge by a hair.

#21 dcmissle


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 05:08 PM

Until I cast a vote a few minutes ago, no one voted for Papelbon, which I find curious. No Papelbon, no playoffs, period. Embarrassment alone should preclude argument that anyone among our current crop of relievers could have fit the bill all year as Paps did. Further, the Gagne chapter is pretty persuasive evidence that a suitable replacement would not have been available at anything approaching a sensible price.

I recognize that the very same arguments support Beckett's case. But hey, the guy at least has 53 votes at this moment.

Edited by dcmissle, 27 September 2007 - 05:11 PM.


#22 Pumpsie


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 05:14 PM

To me, this is a veritable toss-up between Beckett, Lowell and Papi, and lo and behold, after voting I see that's exactly how the collective SOSH wisdom sees it too. Any one of those three deserves the accolade.

I voted for Lowell, winning a coin toss over Beckett. The guy plays the field every day and plays it as well as anyone in the game to go along with the offensive production. The numbers are instructive, to be sure, but MVP also means emotional lift to teammates. Lowell's been as big a rock to lean on as anyone. And, no, I haven't read the Ryan article.

#23 wibi


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 05:19 PM

I look at the MVP this way. Which player could this team stand to lose the least? I voted Beckett. Papi is a close second.


Thats the same logic I used and thats the conclusion I came too also.

#24 kazuneko

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 05:50 PM

I voted for Lowell, winning a coin toss over Beckett. The guy plays the field every day and plays it as well as anyone in the game to go along with the offensive production. The numbers are instructive, to be sure, but MVP also means emotional lift to teammates. Lowell's been as big a rock to lean on as anyone. And, no, I haven't read the Ryan article.


Never thought Papi would be sold short on the emotional lift he brings to a team. Not only does he have far higher WPA numbers than Lowell (who is below Pedroia in that dept.), and been the best player in the league when we needed him down the stretch (.800 slugging in September, just 16 points below Lowell's September OPS) , but I can't think of any player more central to the team's clubhouse chemistry.

Further, if the whole "been a rock" argument is referencing Lowell's position as the one big bat who hasn't gotten injured, I think this unfairly disadvantages Papi for what has been a truly remarkable part of his season: the fact that despite being injured he hasn't let it affect his play. While experiencing significant pain all year Ortiz has fought through this to appear in 146 games, only 4 less than the injury-free Lowell, and 2nd overall on the team.

If you consider Detroit's recent decline and the fact that Ortiz is now just 10 OPS points below ARod for tops in baseball, I feel it would even be logical to suggest that Papi may have passed Ordonez for #2 in league-wide MVP voting.

Edited by kazuneko, 28 September 2007 - 12:09 PM.


#25 Vermonter At Large


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 07:46 PM

I find it interesting that, despite very persuasive arguments for Papi, Beckett and Papelbon, the "silent majority" here on SoSH still votes for Lowell ...

The points for Papi having put together an exemplary season despite the 40% decline in HRs and fewer walk-off mements is very well made. He has done the things that are required of him, and made adjustments to whatever it is that caused his HR decline, and may indeed be a more complete offensive player now than at any point in his career. He has certainly been the best player on the team, and the Sox would not be here without him.

That last point, however, could also be made for Pedroia, Beckett, Wakefield, Matsuzaka, Okajima, Papelbon, Lowell and Youkilis. It has indeed been a team season. It could be argued that the season was really won back in April and May, so the guys who were really hot back then, but cooled down since the ASB (such as our Japanese friends, Youks and Wake) should also be worth of mention.

The argument for Lowell over Papi can be made in three ways: 1.) He plays the field (yeah, I know ...) and plays it very well, 2.) He's having a career year. If the key to rising above a two-man offensive show had a lot to do with the success of this season, then Lowell was the main guy. 3.) His clubhouse presense is apparently on a par with both Papi and Tek, and several of the younger players - including Pedroia and Ellsbury, have cited Lowell as the main influence in the clubhouse.

It's really a crapshoot five different ways, and I think we could all feel good about picking any one of these guys as the MVP. There could even be good arguments made for Okajima (for his first-half work mainly), for Crisp (for his defensive win shares), for Ellsbury (for his late-season offensive spurt that helped cover for the absense of Manny and Youks while the team was certainly fading), for Wakes for his absolute (and unexpected consistency during the first 2/3 of the season) or even for Tavarez (for providing stability in the fifth starter's role for much of the season).

The important thing is that there are so many key players on this team. It sorta transcends the notion of MVP, which seems like a really good thing.

#26 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 08:20 PM

The argument for Lowell over Papi can be made in three ways: 1.) He plays the field (yeah, I know ...) and plays it very well, 2.) He's having a career year.


I don't think it's accurate that Lowell has played the field very well this year; the last UZR numbers I saw had him below average and the errors obviously shot way, way up this year, though I haven't seen anything that recently (yikes...the UZR cited below is worse than I thought!). Regardless, I do think it's wholly irrelevant to this question whether it's a career year or not.

I voted Papi. He's been the best player on the team; I can see the argument for Beckett or Papelbon in terms of 'value' but I just can't quite get past the fact that Ortiz has a huge VORP advantage here (80 vs 60 for Beckett and only 46 for Lowell). Sometimes, the guy you think is the best player really is the most valuable player. The numbers here really just aren't that close, are they?

Edited by PedroKsBambino, 27 September 2007 - 09:38 PM.


#27 wade boggs chicken dinner


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Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:11 PM

I can definitely understand voting for Big Papi, as this team would have completely collapsed without him when MR was out. I can almost see voting for Paps, although I'm thinking that the Sox would have been able to find someone to do 90% of what he did. And I voted for Beckett because to me, there's a value he gave in stablising the rotation that goes beyond Win Shares and the like, you know, saving the bullpen, being a stopper, having a #1 guy that a team can count on every five days.

But I can't see why people vote for Lowell. He not only wasn't the best player on the team, he might not have been one of the top five players. And while he did have a great year, I would note that UZR had him at -22 through July 9th. Admittedly, that's probably due in large part to the rash of early season errors, but if he's only playing an average 3B, how can he be the MVP of the team?

#28 bellyofthebeast

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:07 AM

It's really a crapshoot five different ways, and I think we could all feel good about picking any one of these guys as the MVP. There could even be good arguments made for Okajima (for his first-half work mainly), for Crisp (for his defensive win shares), for Ellsbury (for his late-season offensive spurt that helped cover for the absense of Manny and Youks while the team was certainly fading), for Wakes for his absolute (and unexpected consistency during the first 2/3 of the season) or even for Tavarez (for providing stability in the fifth starter's role for much of the season).


With the exception of Ellsbury,Wake and Tavarez I would agreed. Crisp's defense looked absolutely HUGE to me.

The important thing is that there are so many key players on this team. It sorta transcends the notion of MVP, which seems like a really good thing.


Agreed as well. But in the end, MVPs are very emotional picks and have much to do with unexpected performance. Beckett is Cy, Papi is the second best hitter in the game and Mile Lowell is the Sox's 2007 MVP!

Edit: Morning Spell Check

Edited by bellyofthebeast, 28 September 2007 - 05:56 AM.


#29 paulftodd


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:38 AM

If any of the choices for MVP were to have missed the entire season, what would have happened (assuming no trade to fill the hole).

Paps would have been replaced with Okajima and lost the bridge to the 9th which can be almost as important as closer
Beckett means we had more starts from Gabbard, Lester or perhaps Buchholz who might have been called up earlier
Papi would have been replaced by Manny and perhaps Jacoby rushed up a bit quicker, if not, WMP gets regular playing time (303/361/533 w/WN in 122 AB)
Pedroia would have mean more Cora
Lowell would have meant more Hinske

Losing anyone of these guys probably means no playoffs, it is hard to say who would have been missed more.

Closers and starters generally don't get serious consideration for MVP since they only pitch in 5-15% of a teams innings. Paps has come into a game up by 1 run only 15 times in 57 appearances and had the "Pap rules" that limited his use, and Becketts run support was 6.66 runs per game. So I am ruling them out.

IMO it really is a choice between Papi and Lowell since both contributed early on and at the end, and both will have played 150 or more games by season end. Dustins poor start in April and all his rest time rule him out of consideration in my mind. MVP's play, they don't sit.

When this team went on it's 36-15 run, it was getting poor production from leadoff, cleanup and the fifth spot in the order. You had Youk and Papi getting on base, and if Lowell was not driving them in, this team does not go 36-15 IMO, they could easily have lost 5 games they ended up winning if not for Lowells production at that time. Papi was hampered in the beginning because Lugo was not getting on base enough so he did not have many RBI opportunities and he was not hitting many HR's.

The division and playoff spot are largely due to the 36-15 run given that we are an 87 win team since, going 58-50, so I am giving more weight to these 2 months than the rest of the season, and the last 2 months are given more weight than I give the middle 2 months when we played 500 ball for 50 games. I know, technically all games are created equal, but only when you are looking forward, they are not when you have the benefit of hindsight.

April/May
Papi 48 Gms, 38 RBI, 315/431/579
Lowell, 49 Gms, 41 RBI, 330/386/573

Aug/Sep
Papi 50 Gms, 50 RBI, 332/454/679
Lowell 51 Gms, 43 RBI, 365/427/500

Lowell has driven in 96 runners compared to Papi's 81, and while he had more opportunities to drive in runs, he did so at a higher rate than Papi, 19.0% vs 17.8%
While Lowells WARP 3 of 9.3 is slighly behind Papis 9.4, the difference is not statistically significant.

Defensive stats through June are subject to huge SSS variances. BP's rate through September 26 has him at 106, above average, slightly below his career average of 108. So using the A-Rod argument, playing the field has to count for something.

Someone commented this team would have collapsed when Manny went down if not for Papi. They forget that Jacoby played most of the games Manny missed and produced as well as Manny might have done. In the month before Manny got hurt, he went 248/317/410 in 27 games. Jacoby went 387/427/600 in the 20 games he played before Manny came back, most in LF. Papi did not need to compensate for Manny being out, he just needed to be Papi, and he showed he could do that with Mike Lowell batting 4th behind him.

Right or wrong, those are my reasons for voting for Lowell, and perhaps the same reasons as the silent majority. The case for Papi is strong as well, but it's not a slam dunk.

The other candidate for MVP is Varitek, but his value is not easily measured. There was simply no one available who could have replaced him without making a trade and giving up a top prospect like Ellsbury or Buchholz.

#30 kazuneko

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:43 AM

But in the end, MVPs are very emotional picks and have much to do with unexpected performance.

I know that that is how the voting often plays out but I have never understood this logic. Does this then mean that Ortiz' least productive season for the Sox (2003) was his most valuable (because it was so unexpected)?

By the way, with Ortiz' perfect night and ARod's day off Ortiz has now jumped to 4 points ahead in the OPS race. I guess he may not win this poll but as of now it seems possible that he might very well end up being the 2007 season's Major League leader in OPS.

Edited by kazuneko, 28 September 2007 - 02:49 AM.


#31 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:00 AM

Defensive stats through June are subject to huge SSS variances. BP's rate through September 26 has him at 106, above average, slightly below his career average of 108. So using the A-Rod argument, playing the field has to count for something.


I agree that Lowell's defense is part of the equation, however, BP's rate stat is awfully limited in its utility. WMP was a 96 and 97 out of 100 in RF for example, a proximity to 'average' which completely fails the straight-face test for those who watched him regularly. Of course, that doesn't mean the Lowell number is wrong, either...Fenway's RF is infamously hard to measure and generally speaking, 3B numbers are more reliable. But I don't put BP's number amongst the most reliable defensive metrics, and that's a group with a low level of confidence to begin with, imo.

Regardless, one needs to find 30 or so runs in Lowell's defensive value to make up for Papi's lead in offensive value. That's true using VORP (the 34 run spread I mentioned above) or BRAA (where Papi has a 65 to 31 advantage). Even the BP numbers do not seem to suggest that is realistic. Using UZR you likely find only the runs you choose to adjust for Lowell being a fielder...10 or so, perhaps. Using BP you get another 5-8, I suppose. But either way it seems to me you are still well behind statistically.

Using WARP1 (which seems more appropriate for an in-season comparison especially for an AL player) Ortiz has a 7.6 to 6.7 lead, which to me is about right. Ortiz' WPA is also higher, according to Fangraphs (4.76 to 1.11 for Lowell) I guess I see an emotional case for Lowell far more than a statistical one here.

Edited by PedroKsBambino, 28 September 2007 - 08:06 AM.


#32 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 10:45 AM

But doesn't Ortiz's inability to play the field (or the Red Sox unwillingness to play Ortiz in the field, take your pick) reduce his value in other less tangible ways? The fact that Youkilis or Manny or Drew cannot DH for a week when recovering from an injury, that players can not use the DH spot as a way to take a breather, etc. I have argued in the past, and will again, that the Red Sox have two DHs, Manny and Ortiz. The Red Sox play one of them in the field, and the one they play in the field loses value because of this. This has always struck me as unfair--the penalize the player who is able to play the field (albeit not well) over the one who is not.

Bottom line, I think a full-time DH carries hidden costs with him, and most statistical formulas end up distributing those hidden costs to players other than Ortiz. I think this is especially true with the Red Sox of recent years.

I don't think it is obvious who the MVP of the team is. I voted for Beckett, which is as good a guess as anyone. I don't think it is Ortiz however.

#33 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:00 AM

According to WPA, after adjusting for position played, defense, and PT, and fudging the value of relievers downwards since their replacement is the next best reliever --

it's Beckett, Ortiz, Papelbon, Okajima (remember him?), Schilling, Matsuzaka, Pedroia, Lowell.

Is it not the case that WPA gives 100% of the credit/blame for the defensive half of the game to the pitcher?

#34 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:10 AM

But doesn't Ortiz's inability to play the field (or the Red Sox unwillingness to play Ortiz in the field, take your pick) reduce his value in other less tangible ways?

I think that's true analytically from the perspective of team construction but that is neither here nor there as to the MVP debate. Or, to put it another way, how the team chooses to deploy a given player is as relevant to the MVP as a player's salary (which also affects a team in many ways) is. Focusing on a team choice, rather than the player's actual performance, likely is not the right approach in my mind.

This is, I believe, what the BBWAA sends out with the ballot:

1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.
2. Number of games played.
3. General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
4. Former winners are eligible.
5. Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.


David Ortiz was deployed as a DH most of the year; that is the utilization which we can value. Maybe he could have played 1B all year and the team would have been better, maybe not. Maybe he'd have been Rich Garces II on the mound, too. But we can't value that for purposes of the award because it didn't happen. So, he had zero (or close to zero) defensive value and produced something around 80 runs of offensive value. That's what he actually did, seems to me, and that's what we evaluate.

Teams make all sorts of choices about a player's deployment and I think it is somewhat cherrypicking to treat a team's choice to put someone at DH as some uniquely heinous downside for MVP purposes. Even if, in terms of team-planning analysis in the abstract, we would do exactly as you say.

One issue for me is that even if you think being a DH should have an additional debit, there has to be some quantification of the inputs, which people do in various ways but in this case, doesn't change the answer I don't believe. A second is that, realistically, a huge number of other players, too. For example, ARod still is likely a better shortstop than Derek Jeter is. The Yankees choice to deploy them as they do likely costs them runs. Why, using your logic, wouldn't we debit ARod for the teams choice there as well. The Red Sox may well have been a better team if they had used Jonathan Papelbon as a starter this year, because that would have (effectively) replaced the fifth starter slot with a hypothetically better 180 IP while replacing Paps/Oki with Oki/MDC at the back end. The reasons they didn't do it this way are, seems to me, the same ones which led them to play Ortiz at DH, aren't they (e.g. concerns about injury, concerns about impact on performance from changing roles, and evaluation of subsitution options)? So the analysis you suggest is both extraordinarily complicated and, at the same time, a bit lacking for the reason below.

If you interpreting 'value' or 'contribution' to include a set of team choices and substitution effects (which is, I think, what you suggest) then I think you simply have to include a player's salary in the equation. From the perspective of team construction and choices, the issues with Ortiz being a DH that you allude to are less of a factor in a player's 'true value' to a team than the player's salary is---though I agree with the issues you describe. It really is no more the case that Ortiz' limitations defensively or healthwise are a factor in evaluating his value than his large salary is in limiting other acquisitons, is it? So, to me, what you are answering is a different question and even if you interpret the ballot that way, you are excluding factors that are more important in answering your rephrased question.

Or, if you want the shorthand, you are asking "would the team have been better if they made different choices?" and I'm not sure that's what the MVP really is (or should) be asking.

Edited by PedroKsBambino, 28 September 2007 - 11:29 AM.


#35 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:28 AM

I think that's true analytically from the perspective of team construction but that is neither here nor there as to the MVP debate. Or, to put it another way, how the team chooses to deploy a given player is as relevant to the MVP as a player's salary (which also affects a team in many ways) is. Focusing on a team choice, rather than the player's actual performance, likely is not the right approach in my mind.

Good points, certainly. I am trying to pin down this argument in my own head, and admit that it is not hole-proof.

First of all, I would not treat this as a team choice. I would treat Ortiz being the DH as an inherent limitation in his game. For my purposes, I have to assume he is the DH because he can't do anything else.

I think a full-time DH is inherently less valuable. The fact that this is difficult to quantify, while true, does not make my point any less correct. (It could be incorrect for other reasons, of course.)

I suspect that there are players on most teams who would perform better, offensively and defensively, if they had the occasional DH slot available to them. This is especially true of older players, or players who have nagging injuries. The Red Sox have not been able to do this because of Ortiz. The Yankees did this in 2007 with Damon and Matsui for long stretches, and a few times for ARod and Posada. If the Yankees had a full-time DH, these players could not have done this and perhaps they would not have gotten the rest or recovered from their injuries in the same way.

Again, I apologize that I don't have a way to modify the WARP formula for this. But I truly believe that the difference in value between a full-time defensive player and a DH is not adequately dealt with by baseball analysis.

#36 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:41 AM

I think a full-time DH is inherently less valuable. The fact that this is difficult to quantify, while true, does not make my point any less correct. (It could be incorrect for other reasons, of course.)


This may well be the case in terms of value from a team perspective. In the abstract, I'd rather not have a full-time DH. However, the effect of your points here and absence of quantification is that you exclude DH's from the debate, essentially, I think.

So, for example, would 2001 Barry Bonds as the DH for the Red Sox be the team MVP? If so, then there's some adjustment level you have in your head...not saying you need a formula, or even a specific run value, but if there are DHs who are 'enough' better to still be MVP in spite of the position then I think it becomes a discussion worth having about whether Ortiz meets the standard.

If not, well, then I think it really is the case you simply don't think DHs are eligible. Which is fine, but not (I don't think) what the award states. George King and LaVelle Neal III notwithstanding.

My view is that it's mostly irrelevant other than the lack of a positive defensive contribution as to the MVP. But even if there's other factors to be included, I think we have to have some assessment of what they are, too.

Edited by PedroKsBambino, 28 September 2007 - 11:43 AM.


#37 BoSox Rule

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:49 AM

BP's fielding stats may not be the most reliable, but I think this could be a pretty good way to get a decent picture at who is the 2007 Sox MVP.

Batting runs + fielding runs (above replacement)
Ortiz: 86 + 0 = +86
Lowell: 51 + 32 = +83
Pedroia: 37 + 28 = +65

Beckett has 89 pitching runs above replacement, but it's not a surprise that he's been about equally as valuable as Ortiz/Lowell. You can make a case for him if you think pitchers can be MVP's. I personally do, but its a tossup on this team.

#38 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:50 AM

So, for example, would 2001 Barry Bonds as the DH for the Red Sox be the team MVP? If so, then there's some adjustment level you have in your head...not saying you need a formula, but some number of runs or something exists for you and that, I think, is a starting point for figuring out what the impact is and if it's a reasonable one.


I think Bonds would have been the MVP in that case, yes. I think the penalty is likely a win or two, with some variance depending on the team in question. I wish I could do better than that.

There have been seasons, as you know, where Ortiz and Manny had similar offensive value, yet WARP or something would give Manny a -20 for defense and Ortiz a 0. This is very obviously wrong, and was likely the starting point for this nagging concern of mine. At the very least it seems to me that a DH has less defensive value than any defensive player. At that point the numbers do not balance, so the other players need to be adjusted upwards. I am not talking about roster construction here. I am saying that if you ask the question "who is the most valuable player on the 2007 Red Sox?" or "in the American League?", you can not use a formula where a DH has more defensive value than a full-time player, even if it is Wily Mo Pena.

#39 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:55 AM

See, I would say it is not wrong that WARP yields that result because all it is doing is valuing their actual performance.

What you are doing is a level higher than that (which is a good thing) and asking if, from a teambuilding perspective, WARP accurately represents what is contributed to the overall team's ability to succeed. And concluding (accurately, in my view) that it does not because the defensive value embedded in WARP reflects a team choice between players based on actual/perceived limitations.

I would just separate out the issues. The MVP, to me, is a recognition awarded for actual performance, arguably with some context given to that performance. That is not the same question WARP asks, though they are closely related, and it's definitely not (in my view) the same question as asking "what is the actual value to the Boston Red Sox franchise of the asset known as 'David Ortiz' for the 2007 season" That last question, to me, brings in several other factors including his defensive value or lack thereof, his salary and contract status, and to a small degree how much additional revenue he brings in based on being who he is.

I am saying that if you ask the question "who is the most valuable player on the 2007 Red Sox?" or "in the American League?", you can not use a formula where a DH has more defensive value than a full-time player, even if it is Wily Mo Pena.


Why not? We have no idea what David Ortiz' defensive value would have been if he played because he did not play the field really; we do know what WMP's was and it was hugely negative, far worse than replacement level. Why would we throw out this data and replace it with a completely unsupported assumption about Ortiz' defensive value just because that's where the Red Sox played him?

Again, consider how this is any more logical than evaluating ARod as a 3B rather than as a not-SS who is replaced by someone significantly inferior. I think you can do all sorts of things with values by assuming different team choices, I just don't see that it illuminates the MVP question at all to do so.

Perhaps the bottom line is that I think the MVP is about performance with some context and you see the amount of context in the evaluation to be far greater than I do.

Edited by PedroKsBambino, 28 September 2007 - 12:10 PM.


#40 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:19 PM

Yes, I agree that WARP is not wrong, since it is doing what it is supposed to do. What is wrong, IMO, is that we would not then adjust WARP in some additional ways to help us answer the questions we want to answer. I think the definition of "value" is squishy, and your definition and my definition are slightly different without necessarily being wrong.

Although it is difficult to measure this season because of Manny's injury, I think if you removed Ortiz from this team in (for example) 2005, the offense would get much worse (in ways we know how to measure fairly well, I think), and the defense would get much better (since Manny would then DH). Since formulas like WARP are supposed to measure how much value a player brings to a team, it does not seem a big stretch to consider this issue.

On the other hand, I enjoy discussing the MVP issue much more than I care about who wins. :lol:

#41 missinpedro

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:23 PM

The sentimentality votes for guys like Lowell and Pedroia make no sense to me. Its clear that Papi, Beckett, and Paps are the most irreplaceable players on the Sox. Despite his recent issues I would still put Oki in front of Pedroia and about even with Lowell. I can't really pick between Papi and Beckett but voting for Lowell or Pedroia over one of them is crazy to me.

#42 mfried

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 01:00 PM

The sentimentality votes for guys like Lowell and Pedroia make no sense to me. Its clear that Papi, Beckett, and Paps are the most irreplaceable players on the Sox. Despite his recent issues I would still put Oki in front of Pedroia and about even with Lowell. I can't really pick between Papi and Beckett but voting for Lowell or Pedroia over one of them is crazy to me.


This is an overly restrictive definition of sanity. Pedroia is a terrific table-setter. But Lowell has the RBIs, the baseball smarts (he was admittedly overmatched vs. Joe Nathan but avoided the fatal double play and moved the runners up without bunting), good fielding, smart if slow base running - I'm not crazy and I think it's close betw. Papi and Lowell.

#43 kazuneko

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 02:12 PM

If Ortiz is not the MVP over a player nearly 200 points below him in OPS than it seems like this is a pretty emphatic statement that outside of perhaps a Barry Bonds in 2001/2004 type of season(a level of production likely never to be seen again) a DH just simply cannot win the award.
In the MVP debate a few years ago at least ARod had put up offensive numbers competitive to Ortiz's output. In this case, Lowell's batting numbers are not even close and yet a plurality of votes has chosen him above Ortiz.

I think Globe fans are reading the following article, and agreeing with Ryan:

The answer is clear to Bob Ryan

I think Ryan still holds juice with the average Globe reader, and if this question was on the site yesterday, before the Ryan article, Papi would be the leader in the poll.


I think this article hits on a key factor in the emotional pull of Lowell for this award: the fact that the media has latched on to Lowell's story and perhaps because of Ortiz fatigue (after years of lauding a great player the media eventually runs out of things to say) has all but ignored Ortiz' remarkable season.

I find it interesting, for example,that despite this being Lowell's second worst month of the season, Lowell's decreased level of performance has coincided with a pronounced increase in positive coverage. As best I can figure this is because of the media picking up on a storyline that hasn't actually been that accurate to reality: that with Manny going down towards the end of the season the Sox offense was saved by Lowell stepping up to fill his role in the #4 hole.
While clearly having Lowell's increased production this season has been a great thing for the team, Lowell's .816 OPS in September is just about identical to his OPS for the 2006 season and clearly it was not this moderate level of production that picked up the team's offense when Manny went down. Instead, the storyline the stats tell is that not only did Manny miss all of September, but several of the other important bats in the line-up (including not just Lowell, but Pedroia, and Youks as well) had far below par months (when compared to seasonal OPS numbers).

So, considering this, why was it that the offense didn't collapse when Manny went down? Well, the obvious answer that has received (as far as I can tell) no media attention at all is that David Ortiz has put up the best single month (.388/514/ .800/ 1.314)of his career (a single-month OPS that not only leads MLB for the month but also is the best single-month total any player has put up in the league this season), and to a lesser extent the fact that fan-whipping boy JD Drew has stepped up to put up Manny-like numbers in Manny's absence (.994 September OPS).
Considering the remarkable production of Ortiz during this past month and the fact that it has coincided with (outside of Drew) decreased production in the rest of the line-up you'd think that somebody in the media might have picked up on this story-line. Instead, it has been non-stop fellating of Lowell for what I can only guess is the mistaken perception that he has carried the team in Manny's absence.

Edited by kazuneko, 28 September 2007 - 04:08 PM.


#44 behindthepen


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 09:25 PM

It's hard to believe that Papi needs knee surgery, with the way he's killing the ball right now.
As Frat pointed out, he's been ridiculously consistent this year.

His OPS by month this ... most players would kill for that kind consistency in a career, much less from month to month.

1.017
0.999
0.979
0.995
1.055
1.314

#45 wade boggs chicken dinner


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Posted 28 September 2007 - 10:23 PM

Can we have a revote? Please? I mean after all the arguments that were made. By any statistical measure, Ortiz is more valuable than Lowell. By any strategic measure, teams would rather pitch to Lowell than Ortiz (plus the fact that Papi is putting up outrageous numbers AND being the one guy that teams don't want to pitch to is outrageous). And by any sentimental measure . . . .

I'm pretty sure there is no measurement for this, but if Mike Lowell was really the most valuable player on the Red Sox, we'd probably win no more than 82 games. I mean if you could trade Tejada for Lowell straight up, wouldn't you do it?

#46 glennhoffmania


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Posted 29 September 2007 - 12:07 AM

The case for Lowell would be that he outperformed expectations by a significant amount and if he, say, duplicated his 2006 numbers the team wouldn't be in the position it's in right now. I'm not saying that necessarily suggests he's more valuable than Ortiz, but it's why the voting results don't surprise me.

#47 kazuneko

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 12:57 AM

After another big night Ortiz' OPS is now a league-leading 1069, 20 points above his previous career high and 189 points above Mike Lowell (i.e just about exactly the difference between Lowell and Mirabelli's OPS).

Edited by kazuneko, 29 September 2007 - 01:01 AM.


#48 Vermonter At Large


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Posted 29 September 2007 - 08:13 AM

Can we have a revote? Please? I mean after all the arguments that were made. By any statistical measure, Ortiz is more valuable than Lowell. By any strategic measure, teams would rather pitch to Lowell than Ortiz (plus the fact that Papi is putting up outrageous numbers AND being the one guy that teams don't want to pitch to is outrageous). And by any sentimental measure . . . .

I'm pretty sure there is no measurement for this, but if Mike Lowell was really the most valuable player on the Red Sox, we'd probably win no more than 82 games. I mean if you could trade Tejada for Lowell straight up, wouldn't you do it?

Hah - the old we need a revote cuz the majority of voters obviously aren't smart enough argument. That always works out well ... :rolling:

#49 MartyBarrettMVP

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 11:41 AM

I think it's awesome to have this conversation at all. How long would this thread be if we were talking about the Yankees? Arod. Done. Next. The fact that you can make a case for 4 or 5 guys on this team for MVP says a lot about the makeup of the 2007 Sox.

#50 DJnVa


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Posted 29 September 2007 - 11:51 AM

Exemplifying this is the fact that Lowell's year-worst, June OPS .(657 OPS.) is nearly .340 points below Ortiz' year-worst, July (.995) OPS.


Just a quick correction here--Papi's worst month by OPS was June, at .979, not July.

Interesting thing looking at Papi's splits (H/AB):

May: 29-87
June: 29-89
July: 29-88

And carrying the Sox to the AL East title in September: .404/.522/.843(!!!!)