Monday, September 04, 2006

Links of the Day for 9/5/06

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One of the benefits of being on the east coast is the easy access to the great ball parks, whether it’s Camden Yards, PNC Park or Yankee Stadium, all are within an easy day’s drive. And Friday night I hopped on a bus from D.C. to Manhattan, and took in the last two games of the Twins-Yankees series this weekend and everything that comes with a visit to the House that Ruth Built. As a newcomer to Yankee Stadium, the Labor Day weekend provided me with everything I was looking for—tickets in the always rowdy bleachers, a ride on the subway, Monument Park, roll call, groundskeepers doing the YMCA and a Twins victory.

One of the most common of the Bronx zoo’s chants was that of “M-V-P” for Derek “the Captain” Jeter. Now, of course the hometown team is going to think that their favorite player is the most valuable, but does Jeter actually deserve the award? While I did enjoy the delicious irony of watching him strikeout each day with two outs and the tying run on second while the Yankee fans screamed their vote, his numbers seem to say he’s a legitimate candidate for the award. He’s second in the AL in win shares with 25, he’s sporting a line of .342/.421./486 for the year and he’s been playing his normal, “stellar” defense.

But is he the most valuable player in the American League? Now, you may chalk this up to being a homer, but I say no. I think that Joe Mauer is the choice for the award, dependant on two things—the Twins make the playoffs and Mauer starts hitting again. Despite his slump, he’s still out performing Jeter at the plate, racking up 26 win shares and posting a .346/.427/.498 line. He also plays a much tougher position defensively and plays it much better than Jeter does. Finally, Mauer is more valuable than Jeter is because he has less help around him. If you tally up the Win Shares for the rest of the Yankees lineup, you’ll find that they have accumulated 112, while the Twins lineup only has 93.

Of course, I wasn’t stupid enough to try and make this argument to the bleacher creatures, but hopefully the readers here are slightly more receptive.

And now, some Quick Links:

  • As Alexi Casilla found out in his first at bat the Yankees always seem to get the breaks. Of course, like a good Twin, he managed to overcome the Yankees’ advantage anyway.

  • If Boof and Baker continue to pitch as well as they have lately (and I know Baker only has 1 start since being called up), they could have a historically young playoff rotation.

  • The relatively new blog “Viva Rivas!” has an interesting take on the importance of the Main Stream Media

  • Finally, Wikipedia has a list of Bert’s other “incidents” as a color commentator.


bobio said...

I was at Yankee Stadium as well over the weekend - caught the games Friday and Saturday. Pretty awesome place. A friend of mine had connections to some great seats - Friday behind home plate and Saturday just up from 1st base. They sure do love Mr jeter there. Much like they did in Cleveland with Omar.

David Wintheiser said...

While I'm amenable to the idea that Mauer has been a more valuable player for the Twins than Jeter has for the Yankees, the point in your argument where you compare the Win Shares of the two players' teammates to say that 'Mauer has had less help' is a non-starter - Win Shares is designed to take the quality of the team into account, as measured in Wins, when calculating the value of a player. It's designed to give the same value to a good player on a good team versus a good player on a bad team.

It's like saying that Roger Clemens should have won the 1990 Cy Young over Bob Welch, not because Clemens had a better year (1.93 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 209 Ks vs 2.95 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 127 Ks), but because Welch pitched for a team that won 103 games, while Clemens's team only won 88. That's not really a sensible argument, when you get down to it.

Intern Thomas said...

First, here's the video of Bert's, um, "screw" up:

Secondly, in response to the point about Win Shares, it would seem to me that while Jeter's Win Share total is context neutral, you can still use the other players Win Shares to show that there are more good players in the Yankees' lineup than in the Twins' lineup and thus Jeter is less valuable to the Yankees as a whole than Mauer is to the Twins as he has a worse supporting cast.

Does that make sense, or does Win Shares actually factor that in already?