Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 7, 2008
BASEBALL: Second Most Valuable Met Carlos

If the Mets win this game tonight - I write this in the middle of the 4th inning - you will probably hear a little more of Carlos Delgado for MVP on the strength of a 2-RBI single off Cole Hamels to make this must-win game (the Mets nursing a 1-game division lead and this their last game against Philly after losing the first two in the series) 3-1 in the first and a long homer in the third to make it 4-2, answering a homer by Ryan Howard.

It's a nice sentiment for the importance of Delgado's comeback with the Mets, but don't believe it; he's still the team's 4th or 5th most valuable player, behind Wright, Reyes, Beltran and maybe Santana. Delgado does nothing that doesn't show up in the box score - he's at best mediocre in the field as a 1B, a liability on the basepaths, and his .346 OBP is OK but nothing special, 12 points below the average NL first baseman.

You can beat that to be MVP as a slow, slugging first baseman only if you are truly the league's preeminent slugger and RBI man. But Delgado is, entering tonight, 8th in the league (and third on the Mets behind Wright and Beltran) in RBI, fifth in the league in HR, and second on the team and not in the league's top 10 in Slugging. That's a heckuva season for a 36-year-old who spent the spring on the verge of being cut, but it's no MVP.

UPDATE: Delgado adds a HR in the fifth, another bomb off Hamels, and the crowd chants "MVP". I stand by my point, but man is his timing good right now.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:21 PM | Baseball 2008 | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

Unfortunately, no Met will win the MVP this year. As has been previously mentioned, too many potential others . It is probably another Gibson '88 year. Which bodes poorly for the upcoming series with the Cubs...b

Posted by: Evad at September 8, 2008 3:04 AM

Any candidate other than Pujols or Berkman is silly.

Now, in the AL, the race really is wide open. All the top candidates have major flaws, whether real or media-created:

* Bradley (too much missed time; Texas Stadium; head-case)

* Hamilton (Texas Stadium; not as good as everyone says)

* Quentin (season-ended injury, self-inflicted)

* A-Rod (actual failings in the clutch; media-generated sense that he always fails in the clutch; end of Yankee run)

* Pedroia (the AL equivalent of Delgado, i.e. not a serious candidate)

* Aubrey Huff (probably the best AL hitter this year, but a DH on a losing team)

I wonder if the actual winner could come out the next three guys, all of whom tend to have the actual & media-friendly credentials:

* Mauer (low slugging figures, but a fabulous OBP for a defensive catcher)

* Morneau (better than his MVP winning season)

* Youkilis

I really, really, REALLY hope they don't cop-out & give it K-Rod.

Posted by: Mike at September 8, 2008 6:52 AM


I agree with you on politics and love when you add stuff here but to say that Dustin Pedroia is not a serious candidate for MVP is, well, it's just not right. At this point he's the LEADING candidate for MVP. He's the gold glove second baseman in the AL, he leads the AL in BA, hits, multiple hit games, and is in the the top 5 in multiple offensive categories including total bases. When Manny left and the injuries piled up this 21st century Kirby Puckett stepped from his 2 hole into the 4 hole and proceeded to bat over .600 while absolutely mashing. He, at this point, is the unquestioned glue on that team. With Quentin out for the season there, at this point, is no other serious contender for the award. It's his to lose.

Posted by: jim at September 8, 2008 10:56 AM

I really should do a post on the AL MVP in the near future, it's a fascinating race. I wouldn't go as far as jim, but with Pedroia's barrage in the last 2 weeks or so as one candidate after another falls by the wayside, I do think he will have to be taken seriously. I might be tempted to give it to Mauer, myself...I do fear the idiot writers will tab K-Rod, or just follow the RBI lead and take Josh Hamilton.

Posted by: Crank at September 8, 2008 11:01 AM

I will say that last night's effort by Santana struck me as Cy Young-esque. He is clearly the best pitcher in the NL right now and it would be a crime if they gave the award to that poser Brandon Webb. If Santana gets super-high quality starts the rest of the way and comes in at worst at 16-8 I fail to see how they could not give me the award. Of course voters like wins so I suppose Webb's massively fake numbers could earn him the nod. Santana was nails last night in a game you guys totally needed. Webb has sucked the last month and his team is spiralling down along with him. That trade looks pretty sweet right about now.

Posted by: jim at September 8, 2008 11:07 AM

Mauer has been fine, very good in fact. But he's playing for a team that is likely not going to make the playoffs yet had a chance to and did little down the stretch to stay in the race. His offensive numbers aren't as good as Pedroia's and while he is likely the best defensive catcher in the AL he doesn't gain tons of traction there (like the A-Rod/Big Papi debate from a couple years back) because Pedroia is the best defensive 2Bman in the AL. Pedroia also took Manny freaking (.410/.507.754!!!! in the NL) Ramirez's spot in the line-up and did him one better on a team that had it's starting third baseman out, starting first baseman out, starting RF out and #1 pitcher out and has pulled them to the point where they likely blow past the Rays and win the division. How does Joe Mauer get the award? If Pedroia continues along and finishes, likely, with 20+ HRs, 100+ RBIs, wins the batting title and the Sox win the AL East. Landslide.

Posted by: jim at September 8, 2008 11:18 AM

Delgado has arguably been the Mets MVP since Manuel took over (though I'd lean towards Reyes or Johann). But he doesn't get a mulligan on the part of the year where he was a big part of getting Willie fired.

Posted by: Jerry at September 8, 2008 11:59 AM

There ought to be a name for the guy who wouldn't be your MVP but who performed far better than anybody had a right to expect and did it when you needed it done.

We'd be screwed without Easley. Even the last 6 weeks or so he seems to be in the middle of a lot of good things.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 8, 2008 12:37 PM

A bit off topic, but I see today that the Mets are sending Dan Murphy to the Arizona Fall League to learn to play second base, which may not work, but does sound like they are less than enthused about owning three more years of Castillo.

Posted by: Jerry at September 8, 2008 3:50 PM

Re: Pedroia: gotta love the little guy who swings as hard as he can every time, yet has almost as many walks as Ks. 111 runs already, 45 doubles, plus the defense, he has to be in consideration for MVP.

Delgado: Thank you for all you've done the past two months, but I can't forget the horror that was April, May, and June. You can't be a black hole for three months and then become the MVP. But, please please please keep hitting the rest of this month, and hopefully next.

Posted by: CT Ron at September 8, 2008 4:25 PM

I still think that what happened to Delgado is that some nagging injury or injuries finally healed. When you couple that with a player finally making the adjustment not to always pull the ball, to keep your hands and weight back, it makes for another couple of good years. But at his age, that probably means 25 hrs, and maybe 90 rbis and 85 runs scored. Which is actually pretty good. Think we can get Will Clark out of retirement?

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 8, 2008 8:26 PM

I'll be interested to see what the Mets do with Delgado. With $4 mil committed to him for next year whether he plays or not, they can bring him back for a one year, $8 mil commitment. I still think if they do that he's pretty likely to be the player he looked like in April, but I can also see the team thinking that's a decent risk.

Posted by: Jerry at September 8, 2008 9:13 PM

Pedroia is . . . the LEADING candidate for MVP

Jim, your Red Socks are showing! ;-)

If you wanna say that Pedroia stepped it up, got hot at the right time, etc., how can I argue, even if I disagree. But to say his numbers are better than Mauer's, well I think that's incorrect. Mauer's on-base percentage is 41 points higher than Pedroia's. He's made 84 fewer outs.

Pedroia has played a bit more (2B vs. Catcher will always do that), but Mauer has been the better hitter when he plays. I suppose you can argue that those factors even out. Of course, based on the past decade or so, Fenway is the superior hitters park to the Metrodome.

And then you're comparing a catcher (and a damn good defensive catcher) to a second baseman. I have to give the nod to Mauer.

Posted by: Mike at September 9, 2008 7:13 AM

So because Mauer is a catcher and his OBP is 41 points higher he's the MVP. Here's the case for Pedroia:

His Slg% is 43 points higher than Mauer. He has 45 doubles to 27, 17 HRs to 8, 77 RBIs to 71 (mostly out of the 2 hole despite leadoff hitters generally coming in around a .310 OBP for Boston) and he has 293 total bases to 206. Just his raw numbers are definitely better than Mauer. When it is late and close he is a ridiculous .383/.427/.556. From the 8th inning on he is .396/.452/.586 with 3 3 HRs and 19 RBIs. In the last month he is .398/.453/.586 with 7 HRs and 24 RBIs and other than Manny Ramirez he may be the hottest hitter in baseball. On top of that the Red Sox have gone from 5.5 out with the Yankees on their tail to .5 out of first. The Twins on the other hand are all but out of the race.

I will grant you that catcher is the most important defensive position but unlike A-Rod getting the MVP over Ortiz because A-Rod is a decent fielder and Big Papi is a DH. Mauer's defensive prowess doesn't earn him as much mileage because Pedroia is a witch with the glove himself. Pedroia is a better and clearly more dangerous hitter, playing for a better team and he has gotten hot and carried that team from August 1 on. Mauer's nice but unless the Twins make a serious u-turn in the next couple of weeks his stats aren't as good as Pedroia's and his team isn't as good as Pedroia's. How he gets the MVP over him would be a total mystery to me. I think Pedroia suffers from an image issue of 1) being short b) playing on a team loaded with bigger name players than him. While I may have a bias the numbers don't lie. Pedroia is flat out better than Mauer.

Posted by: jim at September 9, 2008 10:59 AM

Also if you want to talk about home ball park advantage go look at Mauer's insane home/away splits versus Pedroia's relatively consistent home/away. Pedroia is also a better baserunner (17 steals to 1 and 111 runs (#1 in baseball) to 83-hey, if you're gonna play the catcher card you gotta take the bad with the good). Frankly, the more you look into it the less close it is.

Posted by: jim at September 9, 2008 11:13 AM

In the flurry of Pedroia's stats I missed on one: His last month's slugging is not .586, it's .718.

Posted by: jim at September 9, 2008 11:23 AM

Well, you're nothing if not persistent. I admit I haven't looked at the numbers that closely.

Won't say I'm convinced, but I'll agree with you and Crank that he's a serious candidate.

But I stick to my guns that Delgado isn't a serious MVP candidate.

Posted by: Mike at September 10, 2008 6:44 AM

I'll allow that this is the least well-defined MVP race is awhile as there is no overwhelming stat monster out there on a really good team. The Angels are full of guys having nice seasons but Vlad's numbers aren't that imposing and they play in such a horrid division and I think that works against them. Quinten may well be the MVP now that Chicago is in free-fall and letting the Twins right back into this thing. The Rays? They don't really have anyone other than Longoria even in the top 20 and while he'll be the ROY he's not the MVP. I think with Quentin out that the 2 candidates are Mauer and Pedroia. I'm not too worried about them giving it to K-Rod. Hell, if they didn't give it to Pedro in 1999 with his 23-4/313K/2.07ERA/243ERA+ season they aren't giving it to Frankie this year.

Posted by: jim at September 10, 2008 11:09 AM
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