Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dustin v Mauer. Rob Neyer, put the bottle of scotch down!

Naturally, with awards, there is always someone that doesn't like how it went down. There is always someone that thinks somebody else deserved it way more than the actual recipient.

Take ESPNs Rob Neyer, who thinks the Twins catcher Joe Mauer should have taken the AL MVP award over Dustin Pedroia. He puts across a case that seems to have been written with a bottle of Scotch in one hand, a torn betting slip that reads 'Joe Mauer AL MVP' in the other.

Two points grate in particular.

The first is completely erroneous. Neyer claims;
''Clutch hitting? Pedroia's career numbers in the clutch are nothing special.''

You have to wonder what Neyer is smoking, with that statement. Pedroia's career 'clutch' type stats are nothing short of sensational. Remember, the below are Pedroia's career numbers, that Neyer says are 'nothing special'.

  • With the bases loaded, Pedroia is batting a Ted Williamsesque .419
  • In situations deemed 'close and late', he is batting a Derek Jeter like .328
  • How about with a runner on third and two out? The kid is only batting .458

Those numbers above are the very definition of clutch. Neyer's statement is at best totally inaccurate, at worst, well, mind numbingly awful. How can a well paid journalist miss so terribly with a crucial comment in a supposedly sober discussion on a statistics based award?

It gets worse.

Secondly there is his 'blow you away' paragraph, the part of a story a writer is building up to as he drags you through his article. Rob goes with the following;

''And for as long as I've been doing this, every time the MVP voters have a choice between the guy with the power stats and the guy who does the little things, they pick the guy with the big numbers.''

The problem here is, that is exactly Dustin Pedroia's 'modus operandus', he is that guy, the guy who does the little things, he just happens to bat for a high average and hit the occasional long ball also.

To say the above just swings the entire discussion in Pedroia's favour.

Little things? You want little things?

  • How about 20/21 in stolen base attempts? (Mauer went 1/2)
  • How about 118 runs scored? (Mauer crossed the plate 98 times)
  • How about leading the league in doubles with 54? (Mauer had 31)
  • How about leading the league with 213 hits? (Mauer had 176)
  • How about slugging to the tune of .493? (Mauer slugged .476)

I like Joe Mauer. He is a fine catcher and a superb batter, with one of the best eyes in the majors. One thing he isn't, however, is AL MVP. That's Dustin Pedroia, and there isn't one player in the AL who deserves it more. To argue against that is, naturally, fine. The whole point of journalism, writing, blogging or whatever it is people are doing in baseball forums world wide, is communication and the exchange of ideas.

Passionately arguing that Mauer should have got the MVP is all well and good, but come on, don't use a lack of clutch hitting and 'the little things' in an argument against Pedroia. That just indicates either a high level of alcohol in your blood stream, or you didn't watch the kid in 2008. He was simply amazing.

Hence the AL MVP award.



Brian said...

He was brilliant. I remember in the last game I saw in the Trop this July, he had hit his first pitch for a homer. He proceeds to double and triple. Last at bat he gets a hit, but extends it to a double instead of hitting for the cycle.
There is no way you can't love the little guy.

Most Valuable Pedroia

GP said...

Spot on Mac - Neyer is an ass but I think I've said that before.

Cormac said...

Thanks bro. I was stunned at his throwaway 'not clutch' comment, I mean, come on!

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