The MLB awards are some of the most prestigious awards in the world of sports. MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, all of these awards are easily recognizable. The voting for the awards is given to 30 voters of the BBWAA, one that covers each MLB team. This is to eliminate favoritism in the MLB awards vote and make it fair and accurate, however, the BBWAA fails to do a good job of that.
While the game of baseball has modernized, the voters have not. Players are played for their OBP rather than Batting Average, their wRC+ instead of their hits, and their xwOBA instead of eye tes; why haven’t the voters modernized at all in how they vote?
The MVP Makes No Sense in the MLB
So why is the MVP favored towards players who go to the postseason in the MLB? Mike Trout can’t pitch and he only gets 3-4 at-bats per game, so why is he punished? He was a top 15 defensive player according to UZR from 2012-2013, was 2nd in wRC+, 2nd in wOBA, and 1st in fWAR. He won 0 MVPs in that span because Miguel Cabrera happened to make the playoffs, unlike Mike Trout.
That is unfair because Trout gets punished just because he can’t fix five starters, eight relievers, and eight other hitters in the lineup. Miggy is a great hitter, but is he the sole purpose the team went to the playoffs? He helped a lot but it’s crazy to believe he was the difference between the Tigers being good or not.
Lacking Consistency For Pitchers
In 2011, Justin Verlander won the AL MVP with a 6.5 fWAR compared to runner up Jacoby Ellsbury‘s 9.5 fWAR. In 2018 Jacob deGrom was out of this world great, and had a 1.4 fWAR lead over Christian Yelich, yet finished 5th in MVP voting? Verlander? He was worse than Ellsbury, yet won the MVP. Where is the consistency here? It’s all a narrative with winners and losers determined on stories and feelings rather than any form of consistency.
How does Pedro Martinez (in 2000) have the greatest ERA+ we’ve seen since 1880 and not win MVP, but Verlander who was in the 160s all time in ERA+ gets to leapfrog a clearly better performance in Ellsbury?
BBWAA Needs to Modernize The Way They Vote
When you hear a players HOF case, it’s mainly about accolades like MVPs or Cy Youngs. This is what the BBWAA voters vote on with regard to selecting HOF’ers. They will screw players out of awards, then go on and leave a player off of the ballot for it. How unfair is that? If you’re going to keep the game from moving forward in how you vote, that has to be addressed.
In the modern era of baseball, players aren’t trying to hit .400, they’re trying to hit the ball hard. You can’t punish a hitter who’s hitting in a modern way, that while yes, yields a lower batting average, often results in a more extra base hits. Use modern analytics and some consistency, or else more dudes will be screwed out of MVPs and Cy Youngs. Voting should modernize as the game has, or we will be left with more dark spots in our award history.
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