Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Something I had been meaning to write for a while

2006 AL MVP: Was it really Morneau or should it have been Jeter?

This is a question some people still ask and as the title says, I’d been meaning to write about it for a while so I will now.

Derek Jeter (2006)
.322 eqA, 138 OPS+, .417 OBA, 9 FRAA at position high up on the defensive spectrum, 12.0 WARP3

Justin Morneau (2006)
.316 eqA, 140 OPS+, .375 OBA, 6 FRAA at a position very low on the defensive spectrum, 8.8 WARP3

Quite frankly, this is a no-brainer. Jeter is the MVP for these reasons alone. His raw offense is more valuable and then when you consider he plays shortstop, a much tougher position, and plays it well, it should then not even be close. However, lots of people look at Morneau and see his 34 HR and 130 RBIs. These people, unfortunately, are also idiots who don’t realize that HR and RBI totals are just as useless at evaluating offensive performance as these dumbasses are at life.

Jeter drove in 33 fewer runs, however…

Derek Jeter (2006)
w/runners on - .456 OBA/.522 SLG (.335 GPA), 90 RBI and 111 runs scored in 268 AB
w/RISP - .482 OBA/ .581 SLG (.362 GPA), 83 RBI and 98 runs scored in 155 AB

Justin Morneau (2006)
w/runners on - .382 OBA/.598 SLG (.321 GPA), 115 RBI and 82 runs scored in 264 AB
w/RISP - .401 OBA/.575 SLG (.324 GPA), 94 RBI and 65 runs scored in 167 AB

Jeter did a much better job with runners on than Morneau did, by either driving them in or getting on base for the guys behind him to knock them and himself in as well. Not that Morneau didn’t do a good job, but come on, Jeter fue mucho mejor.

Some people will also say that Jeter was helped a ton by his lineup (which scored 930 runs) and that Morneau (whose lineup scored 801 runs) had a lot less help. I am willing to concede that Jeter hits in a better lineup, but the idea that Morneau had no help is ludicrous:

Notable Batters in Jeter’s lineup
Damon (.293 eqA, .359 OBA)
Giambi (.332 eqA)
ARod (.316 eqA)
Posada (.304 eqA)
Cano (.307 eqA)

Notable batters in Morneau’s lineup
Castillo (.266 eqA, but a .358 OBA)
Hunter (.284 eqA)
Cuddyer (.301 eqA)
Mauer (.329 eqA)

Yes, Yankees lineup definitely is better, but Morneau had some good to very good hitters in there, too. Castillo doesn’t hit for the same power which drops his offensive value but he got on base as much as Damon did. Hunter didn’t get on base a whole lot but he hit for very good power. Cuddyer had a very good year. Mauer had an outstanding year. So let’s not compare Justin Morneau to Lance Berkman, who has much less in his lineup.

Also, take into consideration the fact that Jeter and Morneau play on teams in different divisions and intra-division teams all play every other team in that division 19 times. Here are AL East ERAs and adjusted ERAs (ERA+s, as in it adjusts for league difficulty and park factors with 100 as league average):

Blue Jays
4.37 ERA/108 ERA+
4.41 ERA/99 ERA+
Red Sox
4.83 ERA/96 ERA+
Devil Rays
4.96 ERA/94 ERA+
5.35 ERA/84 ERA+

Here are AL Central ERAs:

3.84 ERA/117 ERA+
3.95 ERA/113 ERA+
4.41 ERA/101 ERA+
White Sox
4.61 ERA/101 ERA+
5.65 ERA/85 ERA+

I think it’s fair to say that the AL East is more of a hitting oriented division and that the AL Central was more of a pitching oriented division. So, it makes sense that guys in the AL East might have better offensive numbers than those in the AL Central. But did teams with better pitching affect Jeter? Let’s look at how Jeter fared against teams with good pitching:

Derek Jeter (2006)
vs. Blue Jays - .453 OBA/.523 SLG (.335 GPA)
vs. Tigers - .458 OBA/.333 SLG (.289 GPA)
vs. Angels - .435 OBA/.735 SLG (.380 GPA) (3rd in AL in ERA)
vs. Twins - .500 OBA/.609 SLG (.377 GPA)
vs. Indians - .483 OBA/.520 SLG (.347 GPA)
vs. Mets - .448 OBA/.517 SLG (.331 GPA)

I’d say Jeter did pretty well against these guys, wouldn’t you?

So, list of reasons why Yankees have better offensive numbers than Twins so far:

1. Yankees have better lineup (as I said, I’m willing to concede that)
2. AL Central is more of a pitching oriented division, whereas the AL East had some terrible pitching in some hitter friendly parks, so offense is better, but as I’ve showed, Jeter hit well against most teams, so it doesn’t really apply to him
3. The third reason in my opinion that the Yankees scored more runs is because the Yankees stole many more bases and were caught fewer times. The Yankees stole 139 bases and were caught 35 times, good for an 80% success rate. The Twins stole 101 bases and got caught 42 times, good for a 70% success rate. For the most part, run expectation tables show that getting caught is so much more detrimental than stealing a base is advantageous. However, the Yankees at 80%, actually broke even and created some runs this way. The Twins, at 70%, did not do so and in fact cost themselves runs. So this also adds to why the Yankees scored more runs.

So yeah, you really cannot defend Justin Morneau getting the MVP. Ah, glad I’m done. I was scribbling stuff like this in my notebook in class sometimes when I was supposed to be getting my learn on, but sometimes B.A. can be a foo. But then again, nobody who thinks Jeter was MVP can, by definition, be a foo! Because B.A. Baracus say so, sucka!

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