In one of the tougher awards to decide from, I had to choose between Jose Bautista and Jacoby Ellsbury at the top of my American League Stan Musial (MVP) award. Both players deserve the top spot but my job is to decide who decides it just a little more.
Bautista led the AL in HR (43), SLG (.608), OPS (1.055), wRC+ (181), wOBA (.441), and rWAR (8.5). He was 2nd in OBP (.447) and fWAR (8.3) and was an excellent base runner with a +2.7 Bsr. He also stole 9 bases and walked more than he struck out.
Ellsbury led the AL in fWAR (9.4) and finished 3rd in rWAR (7.5). He hit .321/.376/.552 with 32 homeruns and 39 stolen bases while playing spectacular defense in center with a +15.6 UZR. He was also a good base runner with a +1.2 Bsr.
So, who did I decide. Check out my full ballot below.
1. Jose Bautista (TOR) – I chose Bautista because his offensive numbers were so much better than the rest of the league that it outweighed the defense and positional adjustment for me. It was very close, though.
2. Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS) – I couldn’t overlook the difference in offense. Bautista had a 181 wRC+ and Ellsbury had a 150 wRC+. That doesn’t mean Ellsbury was bad but that I decided on Bautista. It was more like 1a and 1b than 1 and 2.
3. Miguel Cabrera (DET) – The only man to have a higher OBP than Bautista but it was only .001 higher. He led the league in AVG and hit .344/.448/.586 with a 2nd best 177 wRC+. A monster offensive performance yet again for this young man who is on his way to a Hall-of-Fame career.
4. Justin Verlander (DET) – Yes, he was this good and deserves to be top 5 in MVP voting. Alone, 251 innings and nearly a strikeout per inning is insane. Add to that a 2.40 ERA and 2.99 FIP and you have an MVP candidate.
5. Dustin Pedroia (BOS) – He hit .307/.387/.474 with 21 homeruns and 26 stolen bases. He also led all keystone players with a +17.9 UZR at the position and his .377 wOBA was also the best at the position.
6. Curtis Granderson (NYY) – The man hit .262/.364/.552 with 41 homeruns and stole 25 bases while playing center and being one of the better base runners in the game. The only reason he missed the top 5 was the low average and the less than stellar defense. Very solid season, though.
7. Ian Kinsler (TEX) – Kinsler hit .255/.355/.477 and, like Granderson, had a low average that kept him out of the top 5. He was a rare 30/30 second baseman and played spectacular defense. Again, like Granderson, he was one of the best base runners in the game.
8. Adrian Gonzalez (BOS) – He hit .338/.410/.548 and was possibly the best defensive first baseman in the game. The base running was atrocious but he was the best hitter on a great offensive ball club. I wouldn’t argue with people who place him a little higher on this list.
9. Alex Gordon (KC) – The 5-tool man that no one noticed this year. He hit .303/.376/.502 with 23 homeruns and 17 stolen bases. Add to that 45 doubles, 4 triples, +9.6 UZR, and +4.5 Bsr. That all-around effort lands him in the top 10 on my ballot.
10. C.C. Sabathia (NYY) – Too good of a season to ignore and much better than people realize. Take another look at his numbers while pitching in the AL East and one of the best hitter’s parks in the game.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | Adrian Beltre, Adrian Gonzalez, Alex Avila, Alex Gordon, BBA, Ben Zobrist, C.C. Sabathia, Curtis Granderson, Dustin Pedroia, Evan Longoria, Ian Kinsler, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, MVP, Robinson Cano, Stan Musial, Stan Musial Award