As the All-star break draws near the baseball pundits are starting to announce, proclaim and reason as to who they feel are the most deserving “first half” award winners. As I love to read about baseball I am always scouring the net for anything related to the game. As I have read more and more pieces about who should be the AL MVP I am stunned to see that it is not the slam dunk answer it should be.
Here are the two most widely mentioned candidates:
On what planet would anybody even give minor consideration that Player A (Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez) can even sniff the jock of Player B (Blue Jays Jose Bautista) let alone give the asinine opinion that Adrian Gonzalez is the more “valuable” player than the best hitter in baseball? Don’t give me the helps his team win more games, or the Red Sox have the better record and Jose Bautista while a great hitter hasn’t helped the Jays more in the win-loss column.
Jose Bautista is so far superior to almost any hitter in baseball none of those things matter, for this season. When there is a needed “tie-breaker” because the players are neck and neck in terms of statistical analysis than fine, I will begrudgingly accept the old and tired win-loss debate. But for the first half of 2011 how can any knowledgeable baseball writer even think of not saying Jose Bautista is the game’s best?
To further illustrate my point let’s compare Adrian Gonzalez to another player:
Player B has pretty solid stats right across the board and is neck and neck with Adrian Gonzalez in most categories. Player B is the ZIPS rest of season projections (courtesy of Fangraphs) for Jose Bautista. Now a caveat, when a player like Bautista who has scorched the baseball world in the first 79 games of the season the ZIPS projections will be that much more conservative for the rest of the season stats. If I had to vote for MVP, of course I would give it to Adrian Gonzalez with this comparison yet it goes to show just how talented Jose Bautista is.
Maybe Jose Bautista has just been luckier, Adrian Gonzalez has a .389 BABIP while Jose Bautista has a .322. Jose Bautista does have a higher HR/FB this year (26.7) but it isn’t that far off last seasons (21.7). Jose Bautista has played RF and 3B and has the highest WAR in baseball as well as the MLB lead in HRs, BB%, ISO, OBP, SLG%, wOBA and in some cases by a wide margin.
To quote Anderson Cooper it is high time we started “Keeping them honest” when it comes to misinformed and highly impartial baseball writing and opinion. This year (for one half of a baseball season) the race for the AL MVP is not even close, it is Jose Bautista, all day every day.
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