Saturday, August 9, 2008

Josh Hamilton: Great Story But Not The AL MVP

I was watching the FOX pregame show for baseball this morning. They were talking MVP for the AL. And Mark Grace, seemingly unprepared, asked Kevin Kennedy for help. Kennedy shouted, "Josh Hamilton," and Grace agreed.

Now, I get that the Josh Hamilton story is a really good story, but check the stats. VORP is probably the best measurement for "value."

Josh Hamilton is having a GREAT year. Make no mistake about it. Grady Sizemore is the most valuable player in the AL, but I'm one of those guys that likes the MVP to go to a player on a contending team. So since the Yankees are in contention, Alex Rodriguez is your AL MVP. The strange thing is despite Hamilton's year, he's the third best hitter on the team behind Kinsler and Bradley. So he isn't even the most valuable player on his team.

But lets break this down by more traditional stats.

Josh Hamilton:

75 runs. Great. But that is more of a team stat. He is dependent on others for that numbers as well as himself.

27 homeruns. Great.

108 rbis. Great. But that is also a team stat where he is dependent on others as well as himself.

.300 batting average. Very good.

.365 on base percentage. Very good.

.547 slugging percentage. Very good.

140 OPS+. 100 is average so you can see how far above average he is.

Ian Kinsler:

94 runs. Great. But that is because of him getting on base AND players like Bradley and Hamilton driving him in. Kinsler getting on base and scoring runs also influences Hamilton's high rbis. So they are helping each other out.

14 homeruns. Good.

62 rbis. Good, but a team stat.

.313 batting average. Very good.

.374 on base percentage. Very good. Gets on base more than Hamilton.

.498 slugging percentage. Very good.

131 OPS+. He is well above average.

Now you're saying, "Hamilton has a higher OPS+ and slugging percentage so he is better." True. But Hamilton plays a position where there are a lot of very great hitters. Kinsler plays second base where there aren't a lot of great hitters. Hamilton's 9 OPS+ points higher isn't a big enough difference to make up for the position differences. There is more value in having Kinsler than Hamilton.

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