FIRE JOE MORGAN: Short Dumb Hops


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Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Short Dumb Hops

Sometimes I click on this link on ESPN's MLB page that directs me to something called "Short Hops" hoping to find some baseball writing that is either good enough to inform me or bad enough to make fun of. Usually, it's neither, probably because the hops are too short to really tell you anything beyond a fun-factoid-level of information. Today's Short Hops, though, is sort of upsetting. It's called

A player's true value is measured in wins

(excited, hopeful) Yay! You mean wins as in WARP-3 or some such metric related to WARP-3, right?

Ryan Howard had the day off on Monday, so he can't steal the headlines from the rest of the NL's MVP candidates. Howard has been carrying the Phillies, yet the door remains slightly ajar for others. The reason? His team isn't winning at a high enough rate.

Uh oh. (nervous, fearful) You're ... not ... talking ... about WARP-3 ... are you?

The MVP decision may come down to whether or not Philadelphia makes the postseason. If the Phillies fall short, there are plenty of legitimate contenders who could make a good argument that their value is greater. In the end, victories are the ultimate measurement of success.

Short Hops. Oh, Short Hops.

I understand that the MVP is a relatively meaningless award voted on by often clueless beat writers who have in the past shown favoritism toward their home teams in addition to just plain ignorance. There's no point in getting worked up about it. But frothy anger can be so fun, even if it's targeted at low-hanging fruit like Short Hops.

Short Hops, you're telling me that if the Phillies win the wild card, Ryan Howard was THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER in the National League, but if they finish a game out, he was not THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER? That if Jamie Moyer tosses a total stinker in the last game of the season and they blow their chance, that's why Pujols should take it? Right, because victories are the ultimate measurement of success. You said it yourself. Success. But in the previous sentence, you wrote "there are plenty of legitimate contenders who could make a good argument that their value is greater." Value, not success. Repeat after me. Team success does not equal individual value. Team success does not equal individual value. Team success does not equal individual value.


Short Hops, on Carlos Beltran's MVP candidacy:

Beltran is the best player on the NL's best team and enters the week leading the league in runs scored. He's also the best road player in baseball, entering this week's six-game swing with a .342 batting average, 24 home runs and 75 RBI in 62 road games. That the Mets have been among baseball's best road teams this season has been one of the biggest keys to their success.

Wow, Beltran is the best road player in baseball? Impressive! But wait. Hold on a second. If my mathy nerd brain is working correctly, something tells me there's a dark side to those super special road numbers. Let me check something. Yep. That's a shame. Carlos Beltran is a sort of mediocre hitter at home. He's got a line of .224/.360/.487 for an OPS of .847. That's right. At home, Beltran is tied for the 6th-best OPS on his team. You can't credit Beltran for his amazing road results without discounting him for his relative underperformance at home. That doesn't make any sense. But maybe you would have included that information if the hops were slightly longer.


Reader Kevin did the work for me. Here are the WARP-3's for a bunch of NL dudes.

Ryan Howard 8.5
Carlos Beltran 11.4
Albert Pujols 11.6
Miguel Cabrera 11.7


posted by Junior  # 2:02 PM
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