Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 13, 2002
BASEBALL: Bill James on the AL MVP

Bill James says A-Rod should be AL MVP. I agree with this, although James doesn't really have much analysis here so much as folksy wisdom. His description of his thought process is a nice one:

"What I do for a living, basically, is to pick up issues like this, and shake them violently until two things fall out:

1. The essential question embodied in the issue, and ...
2. A compelling logic regarding that question."

Unfortunately, there's not much of that in this James column. I was actually surprised that this piece didn't generate more ire from some of the regular commenters at Baseball Primer, many of whom often try to build themselves up by chopping at the great man's comments. The eighth commenter here expands well on one of James' distinctions, with which I completely agree:

"I think what James is trying to articulate (even if he isn't 100% clear on this) is that there is a difference between value and ability. Many of us here would argue that Bret Boone's performance in 2001 had more to do with luck than ability, but there shouldn't be any debate that the results of his performance had exceptional value to the Mariners. To pick another recent example: in 1999, Chipper Jones more or less buried the Mets in late September with a stunning performance in three games. That performance greatly increased the Braves chances of winning the division, and Chipper deserved to be recognized for that performance, regardless of whether it indicated a special ability.

Anyway, the point is that Tejada has had value beyond what his "true" ability may be, but there's no way he can make up the gap in performance between him and A-Rod. I doubt any of us would argue with that."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 4:12 PM | Baseball 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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