And the award goes to…
October 7, 2008 8 Comments
I’m not normally a revolutionary. I eat peanut butter and jelly for lunch every day. I actually obey crosswalk signs (well, usually.) But once in a while, the system needs shaken up. That system is the BBWAA annual awards. You know the awards, although you may or may not have known who gives them out. The Baseball Writers Association of America (and Toronto) is an organization that annually sponsors and votes on the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year Awards that everyone talks about at the end of the baseball season. It’s not that they’re the only place that gives out awards (The Sporting News also does awards, but no one ever talks about them.)
And every year they seem to completely bungle at least one of them, at least… well, at least Statistically Speaking.
It’s pretty boilerplate stuff to critique the award selections each year. After all, everyone’s got a little different idea of what qualifies as “valuable”, but in my ever-so-humble opinion (spoken as a man who’s taking on an organization that’s been doing this for decades), they’ve collectively and completely lost their minds. (And as a psychologist, I get to decide who’s crazy and who’s not.) It seems that the BBWAA votes on such things as whether a player is “driven,” “clutch,” or oddly enough, “short” (Hi there, Mr. Pedroia!) in figuring out value. They look at RBI and wins, despite the fact that these are awful stats by which to judge a player. They look for great stories, despite the fact that this isn’t the Oscars. So, I took matters into my own hands.
I contacted a bunch of my Sabermetrician friends from around the blogosphere. I contacted the folks at The Hardball Times, Baseball Prospectus (although I don’t think any of them chimed in… they have their own thing going right now), Beyond the Boxscore, FanGraphs, The Book Blog, and a few of my other favorite independent places. Plus, ummm, the guys here at StatSpeak. (note: if I didn’t contact you, I sincerely didn’t mean it as a sleight.) I asked them to submit their ballots for the six major awards. (MVP, Cy Young, ROY; one for each league.) I specifically left the question of how to determine “value” blank, but I did point out that the reason I contacted them was because they were a bit past using “clutch” as a determining factor. I also left aside the Manny Ramirez and C.C. Sabathia issues of how to handle guys who switched leagues.
I asked for a first, second, and third place vote (with 3, 2, and 1 points awarded, respectively) for each award and tabulated the results. I got 18 full ballots back, although only 11 folks voted for Rookie of the Year.
I owe a huge thank you to fellow StatSpeaker Eric Seidman, who did some great behind-the-scenes work on this project.
To read more about the awards and get a bit more in-depth analysis, you can check out my extra-special guest piece on The Hardball Times, which you should be reading daily anyway (I do!) But below, I present to you, the final tabulation for the first annual Renegade Sabermetric Blog End of the Year Awards (Catchy acronym forthcoming.)
AL Cy Young Award
NL Cy Young Award
AL Rookie of the Year
NL Rookie of the Year