Alfonso Soriano is the NL MVP! Kinda! And Other Bullets

The Wife is at a conference this weekend (starting yesterday), so I’m on solo daddy duty with The Little Girl. Translation? I’m getting in a lot of ‘Sesame Street’ time.

  • Alfonso Soriano is the NL MVP! … if you exclude the 19 guys in front of him. Soriano finished tied for 20th in the NL MVP vote, which is swell. Soriano got three votes (in various positons) from Doug Padilla, Gordon Wittenmyer, and Hal McCoy (Dayton/Cincinnati area). Soriano had a great season, and he deserved some votes down the line. Good for you, Alf.
  • (As an aside, ESPNChicago’s Doug Padilla’s votes were notable in two respects: he was the only non-Milwaukee writer to vote Ryan Braun first, and he was the only writer to not vote Buster Posey first or second (he had Posey third behind Braun and Andrew McCutchen). Gordon Wittenmyer’s vote was also not without idiosyncrasies - he had Gio Gonzalez fifth, which was one of only two votes Gonzalez received at any slot, 1 through 10. None of this is a criticism of either vote – I just think it’s interesting to see how the Chicago dudes voted.)
  • I referenced it in the Dioner Navarro signing post, and didn’t give it a ton of discussion because I’m sure it’s water way under the bridge, here’s a little background on the issue(s) the Cubs’ new back-up catcher and Matt Garza had back in 2008 with the Rays. Here’s an MLB.com article from the day the issue(s) happened. The short version is that the two had a disagreement on the mound in a game, and that disagreement spilled over into the dugout. Garza has since credited it as something of a turning point in his career – it’s easy to forget that Garza used to have a reputation as a Zambrano-esque hothead. Now he’s thought of as an excitable, supportive, quality teammate.
  • Dropped in the comments by BN’er King Jeff, here’s a great look at MLB’s revenue sharing system. It’s everything you wanted to know, and then some.
  • BN’er Mike drops a really interesting comparison over at the Message Board: if Torii Hunter is worth two years at $13 million per, how much is Alfonso Soriano (who is under contract for two years and $18 million per) worth? How close are the two in value? The answer might surprise you.
  • Miguel Socolovich heads to Japan after his brief time with the Cubs.
  • A profile on Logan Watkins, who looks up to – and is compared to – Darwin Barney, the second baseman ahead of him on the depth chart, so to speak.
  • The MLBullets at BCB talk about that AL MVP vote (and why it was plainly, obviously wrong (ok, here’s the simple version: Trout’s and Cabrera’s offensive numbers are virtually indistinguishable (Trout’s rate stats are slightly better, Cabrera’s counting stats are slightly better), and Trout is vastly more valuable on the bases and in the field. So, there you go. Is it really that much of a stretch to say that Trout’s the guy? I didn’t even need to use the word “WAR”).
  • Don’t forget: you’ve still got time to try and win one of those Egraphs. The contest ends tonight – don’t miss out.
  • Anthony Rizzo’s walk-a-thon to raise money for smacking down cancer will be December 9. Details here.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

116 responses to “Alfonso Soriano is the NL MVP! Kinda! And Other Bullets”

  1. EQ76

    Sesame Street??? Nah man, you gotta get her hooked on Phineas and Ferb. That show is great.

    1. Nate Corbitt

      Phineas and Ferb is the greatest “kids” show on TV right now!

      1. kgd

        My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

    2. Tremendous Slouch

      My oldest is finally at the age where cool cartoons are catching his eye… I’m watching things like Transformers Prime and The Super Hero Squad now… No more Team Umizoomie!! Next up… His first Cubs game!!

      1. Nate Corbitt

        Dude! My son was watching Cub games with me as soon as his eyes could focus on the TV. It’s never too early to start!

        Oh, and at least it’s Transformers Prime and not Transformers Rescue Bots. That one sucks!

        And Brett, Phineas and Ferb would be somewhat followable for a 20 month old, but there are a bunch of jokes thrown in for the parents, too. Check out some clips on YouTube. You’ll enjoy it.

        1. Tremendous Slouch

          I worded the last part of the comment poorly… I meant first LIVE Cubs Game… He’s been watching from day one as well… His first words were actually GO CUBS GO!! LOL.

          1. MichiganGoat

            I’m right there with you each morning and night by watching Cubs videos and finishing with a singing of Go Cubs Go. I tell my wife they don’t have a choice, they are Cub fans and they hate Cardinals… Ya know cause they punch babies (check the message board for that reference)

            1. brunsmk

              What a great conversation. I brainwashed my three year old into thinking the green bay packers real name is boo packers. (I live in wisconsin) So every time he sees a packers shirt, logo… he says boo packers. My wife is a packers fan (sort of) so I have to do everything I can to make sure my boys turn out to be bears, bulls and cubs fans.

              My boys love Phineas and Ferb as well as transformers prime, unfortunately they found power rangers on netflix and are hooked on that (ugh, can’t win them all)

    3. TonyP

      I have no children; so I have no opinion on the topic. :-)

      1. David

        I hate the slow parts of the off-season.

    4. TheJDawg

      Definitely have to go with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, my little girl loves that show!!

  2. BD

    Wrong or not- the 2012 AL MVP will say “Miguel Cabrera” forever. (or at least until they determine he was roiding)

    It’s extremely similar to 1941- the award says “Joe Dimaggio”, but you tell me who the MVP was:

  3. Barry

    Why, why, why is there no market for Soriano? He had a terrific year and could really help a team, especially in the AL.

    1. JR

      It’s not so much the market for Soriano not being there, but the full no trade clause being there. Although, I would imagine that many GM’s in baseball don’t believe he can be nearly as good next yr at his age.

    2. Evan

      He has also said that,he won’t DH. And that it is boring to him. So you have that and the no trade clause that is making it hard for the cubs to move him.

    3. JR

      Actually Soriano could have a ring right now if he was ok with the “weather” in SanFran, or have helped the Orioles make a playoff run if he would have allowed that trade earlier in the yr. But no, he is cool with winning 60 games and playing with a bunch of 22 yr olds. That’s how Sori rolls.. #iambitter

      1. ichabod

        soriano does have a ring, yankees right?or no

    4. Mick

      Soriano’s NTC reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer is the “Moviefone” and he can’t understand which touch tone the caller is pushing so he says, “Why don’t you just tell me the name of the movie you’ve selected.”

      Why don’t you just tell us which team(s) you want to be traded to?

  4. RichP

    Alright,I realize I’m an old man,but I have issue with this WAR stat. Who is this fictional replacement player you speak of. It seems a little disjointed to say “Mike Trout was responsible for 10 more wins than some 3rd grade double amputee” Am I missing something here? How can you possibly suggest that Trout was better for his team than Cabrera? How can you possily say that the Angels won more games with Trout,than with some other player? Cabrera won the triple crown,led his team to the playoffs,and the world series. I was watching Timmy Kurkchin today,and he said there is a huge divide amongst those who feel WAR is a bigger contribution than BA/HR/RBI. I am solidly on the side of the old school line of thought that productivity at the plate transfers into wins. I honestly don’t get some of the inner workings of these new sabermetrics. Seems like a lot of smoke and mirrors to me. Then again as I said before,I’m older than most of you. Maybe sometimes it’s hard to let go of the old line of thought,but I haven’t seen much to tell me it’s not a bunch of nonsense.

    1. hansman1982

      The replacement player is a non-prospecty AAA guy. For pitching think Casey Coleman and for hitting…well shoot I can’t think of an example off the top of my head.

      1. Norm

        Tony Campana?
        Luis Valbuena?

      2. JulioZuleta

        Bryan LaHair post All-Star Break.

      3. Drew7

        Barney

      4. RichP

        What if the guy was say, David DeJesus?

        1. hansman1982

          DeJesus is above replacement player…interestingly enough – DeJesus and BJ Upton had the same wOBA last year.

          1. RichP

            So in other words,if you compare Trout to a minor leaguer who would only make the team only if the team plane crashed,with Trout they would have won 10 more games than that guy. I think we can safely say that with someone like DeJesus,that number might be 8. Seems like an ambiguous stat to me.

            1. hansman1982

              DeJesus was worth 1.7 wins over replacement level

              What WAR is actually saying is that DeJesus created 17(ish) runs over a replacement level player. Research has determined that generating 10 extra runs over a season should get you an extra win.

            2. JulioZuleta

              Rich, I think you’re overestimatng the value of a single player. A team full of 0 WAR players would win between 39-41 games (and lose 121-123). By that math, if you had a team full of DeJesus caliber players, you’d win 113 games (not counting bench contributions). Like Hans said, Dejesus is a 1.7. Trout was a 10+ in less than a full season, incredible.

              I’ve argued the AL MVP with enough people (definitely should have been Trout), so I won’t belabor it anymore. The one argument that I refuse to accept is that “Cabrera won the Triple Crown”. Yes, incredibly, historically impressive, but they in fact, already have an award for that…it’s called the Triple Crown. MVP considers defense and base-running, too. (I realize you weren’t arguing MVP stuff, I guess I just associate the anti-WAR argument with the Cabrera should have been MVP argument now).

            3. DocPeterWimsey

              Seems like an ambiguous stat to me.

              It is best used when comparing two players. If I remember the numbers correctly, then Trout finished with about a 4 WAM: Wins Above Miggy!

          2. hansman1982

            scratch that – I misread it the first time – DeJesus had a better wOBA than BJ Upton

  5. Webb

    This will likely start great debate, but to say someone choosing Miguel Cabrera, winner of the triple crown – one of the most elusive distinctions I the history of baseball – is planely wrong to do so is discounting many of the fantastic qualities that can’t be counted on a stat sheet that we love about baseball. Things like where they hit in the lineup, how many fastballs they see, or how much tape opponents have to use against them. Last season, if you were down a run with a runner on base, who would you rather see at the plate as a fan? Or better yet, as a pitcher who scares you more? Cabrera. There’s an arguement for both (obviously). Didn’t your good friend Mr. Sharma just right a piece on the intangible value of Alfonso Soriano?

  6. RichP

    By the way Brett,Fraggle Rock is the way to go. My nephew can sit for hours watching. It’s available on Netflix.

    1. ichabod

      im on board with rich here. also an old schooler in certain regards, i think that cabrera is the mvp for his amazing accomplishment at the dish. also i dont know this, but how good or bad is cabreras defense at his position compared to other 3rd bman. and if it is above avg, ie, top 5-7, he is clearly the mvp. i mean i’ll take both players in a second, but which has more value at the dish and at his slotted position? still though, the triple effing crown y’all!

  7. BD

    Wrong or not- the 2012 AL MVP will say “Miguel Cabrera” forever. (or at least until they determine he was roiding)

    It’s extremely similar to 1941- the award says “Joe Dimaggio”, but you tell me who the MVP was:

    1. hansman1982

      If only the media didn’t hate Williams – he’d be mentioned as often as DiMaggio

  8. SFCCubbie_Fan

    ‘The Revenue Sharing system’

    I just tried to read this and got through it, but am confused about the ‘Performance Factor’ for the Cubs. It seems the cubs jumped 1.6% from last year? How is that calculated with the year the cubs had, because it was significantly worse then last year. Where as the Giants only went from 3.3% to 4.7% a total of 1.4%, and they won the Wolrd Series and we (The Cubs) have a higher jump on the performance pay in/out for 2013.

  9. BD

    Alright- I can’t get the link to work, so go checkout the 1941 AL MVP voting. I found it on baseballreference.com.

  10. ncsujuri

    I immediately thought of Sori v. Hunter when his deal was announced…I would assume Hunter is better in the field without actually going to check any of the defensive metrics but doesn’t have near the power numbers that Sori has put up over his career and this past year as well. Maybe there will be more of a market than we have seen previously…

  11. RichP

    I’m probably wrong,but it seems the best way to prove the validity of sabermetrics would be to go back in history to 1900 and do a season by season,team by team break down with sabermetric formulas. If you do,and determine that throughout baseball history,the teams that most consistently won fit the parameters set down by sabermetrics,that would end the discussion from me on this subject. I’m curious as to how the Yankees of the 20′s and 50′s would break down with the sabermetric formula. I don’t mean to be the squeaky wheel here,but as a kid I used to go to the library,and read the baseball encyclopedia. I was a stat freak from the age of 6 until I was 15. I feel like everything I ever believed as to baseball talent evaluation is wrong in many ways according to this new,confusing method.

    1. Jack Weiland

      Example of what you believed about talent evaluation was wrong?

      And is that so shocking? The more I learn the more I realize I didn’t know previously. To think we’ve amassed all possible knowledge on a subject seems horribly illogical. Even today, despite advancements in all kinds of fields, we have unimaginable ways to go across the board. INCLUDING IN BASEBALL STATISCAL WIZARDRY.

      1. Jack Weiland

        Hah, statiscal. We have many advancements to go in spelling technology as well, did I mention that?

        1. ichabod

          statesticle?

      2. RichP

        I was always led to believe that teams would be looking for 5 tool players,now teams are looking for the best athlete. Players are anaylized for quality at bats. Quality at bats meaning he hit the ball well,but it was at someone,and he made an out. They say he’s hitting the ball hard,and when he starts hitting the gaps,he’ll start producing. It used to be you get a hit no matter it’s a blooper,or a ball with eyes that’s good,you hit the ball at someone,that’s bad.Now they say if you hit the ball hard,even if you make an out,that’s good.Pitchers,now that get’s confusing. It seems teams look for quality or hope,in the minutia. I’ve read about Volstads up side,with all the upside hidden in the smallest details. All those stats did was give false hope. The truth is,he sucked.

        1. Jack Weiland

          Well, teams are looking for the players that will help them win the best. Some teams value certain skill sets above others, but I suspect that’s always been the case. I’m not sure what the difference between a “five tool player” and the best athlete” is, either. Those seem like similar, vague things to me. The biggest change is teams are valuing outs more than they ever did before, I think. Out avoidance, and getting outs efficiently on defense. Tons of things go into that.

          Regarding Volstad: anyone who says stats can predict the future is wrong. Stats are not fortune tellers. They help guide us. Sometimes we get it wrong because the stats were faulty, and sometimes we get it wrong because of luck. There’s a lot of luck in the world, and baseball isn’t exempt from that.

    2. bbmoney

      I’m not saying any of the stats are wrong, just imperfect. The new stats like WAR or defensive metrics aren’t perfect either. But I think the fundamental thing is that the old stats often value the wrong things (OBP should be > batting average for example). The new stats try to correct that, but many of the components are subjective.

      Although giving someone a boost in MVP voting because their team made the playoffs despite having the 7th best record in the AL is pretty subjective too.

    3. Patrick W.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/WAR_season.shtml

      Here’s a link to the all time best WAR seasons, see where you disagree from these. Might help ease your mind to that particular stat.

  12. CubFan Paul

    A principal objective of the Revenue Sharing Plan is to promote the growth of the Game and the industry on an individual Club and on an aggregate basis. Accordingly, each Club shall use its revenue sharing receipts . . . in an effort to improve its performance on the field

    hrmmm

  13. md8232

    My little one is 440 months. What would be a good show for her?

    1. ichabod

      breaking bad?

  14. cubchymyst

    For the Watkins vs. Barney decision that will likely come up in the next year or two, how much will handedness come into play. Watkins is a left handed bat, and the cubs current top prospect set is heavily right handed (Baez, Soler, Almora) along with Castro, Barney and Castillo. Outside of Rizzo (maybe Jackson), the cubs lack left handed position players who project long term with the team.

  15. hansman1982

    If you are going to factor in something asinine like “making the playoffs” into the discussion then let’s take a look at something else random like the Angels before and after Trout’s callup:

    April 28 – 6-14 – .300 wpct
    End of season – 89-73 – .549

    Therefore, Trout was responsible for 41 wins over what the rest of the team was capable of producing.

  16. Mick

    One name nobody has talked about around here for possible starting pitchers is Brett Myers. Is that a name we should consider?

    1. CubFan Paul

      as a bullpem arm?

      1. Mick

        As a starting pitcher with the fallback option as being a bullpen arm. It was only a year ago he was a starting pitcher and 2 years ago when he posted a 3.14 ERA in 223 IP, 1.2 WHIP, and 180 K’s/66 BB’s. He’s the same age as Baker and may demand even less money on a 1-year prove it type deal.

  17. bbmoney

    Completely off topic and only related to the Cubs insofaras it relates to the MLB. But, I like that the MVP ballots are made public.

    For instance some idiot from Cleveland voted Ibanez #10 in the AL and didn’t have Robby Cano on his ballot. I don’t know how that’s even defensible, but I’d vote for this guy to get banned from ever voting again for any MLB award. Is this guy related to Raul or something?

    1. bbmoney

      Sorry idiot was from Detroit, not Cleveland.

  18. Mike Taylor

    Thanks for the linkage Brett. ;) I noticed that a lot of people view the message board and its subjects, but seldom post to it. It’s definitely more constructive than the Cubs’ troll-infested board.

    OT-I need to link my picture to my comments on here… How do I do that?

  19. RoughRiider

    Bring back Captain Kangaroo !!!

    1. Spriggs

      Dead.

      1. Cubbie Blues

        Great, now I want to watch Austin Powers.

        Jimi Hendrix deceased, drugs. Janis Joplin deceased, alcohol. Mama Cass deceased, ham sandwich.

  20. Spriggs

    It’s funny that Trout seems to be the alleged favorites of SABR followers with the old schoolers favoring Cabrera. At least it seems that people assume that.

    I am a SABR member, and SABR members had their own online MVP vote. 73% of them voted for Cabrera (including me)!

  21. Huey Lewis

    I’m sorry but with those votes Doug Padilla is automatically DQ’d as beat writer. He has always been weak but these are beyond bad. I could name at least 5 bloggers (present company at the top) who constantly do better work. Wittenmeyer in given a pass because he is usually very solid and honest. And I will forever thank him for being a good sport.