|Image courtesy of Big League Stew|
When it comes to overall amazing specimens in baseball, Jose Bautista is one of the best. There’s no question he can hit, field multiple positions, he’s an astute baserunner and is a great leader to his team.
Apparently those requirements are not enough for Jose Bautista to win the American League MVP Award, as decided by the BBWAA. I guess Jose will have to add the ability to pitch well and sell hot dogs if he wants to garner more votes.
Just so there is no confusion about what an MVP means, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America clearly states the following for voting criteria for their Most Valuable Player Award:
- Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.
- Number of games played.
- General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
All I can say is, really … Justin Verlander? 13 of 28 voters decided a pitcher was the best player in the entire American League this season, and only 5 thought Jose Bautista was the best. I guess I have to rethink my theory that the writers were hip to new statistics.
It’s not the fact that Justin Verlander won the MVP that irks me, because I’m sure we all entertained the possibility that might actually happen. What irks me is how the entire AL MVP results were a complete and utter mess.
In the grand scheme of things and as ludicrous as it was, one stray first place vote for Michael Young did not make or break anyone’s candidacy for AL MVP. It was the collective of several votes like a second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth place vote for Young that really gave this year’s results a black eye.
Keep in mind that I and several members of the blogosphere may be a little biased towards Jose Bautista. But if you went around the league, I’m sure you’d find most would agree he was at least one of the top five players in the league in 2011. The results show that four writers thought he wasn’t.
Again, it’s these little things that really set me off and question why some writers have a ballot in the first place. What reasoning did those four writers have for leaving Jose Bautista out of the top five?
Was it because he didn’t play for a playoff contender? Was it because he played in Canada? Or was it because he only led one of the triple crown offensive categories? As crazy as all these reasons sound, I’m sure some of them influenced how some writers filled out their ballot.
One could’ve argued that Jacoby Ellsbury was actually Jose Bautista’s closest competition in the AL MVP race. Had Ellsbury won, I wouldn’t necessarily have been happy about it, but I would’ve respected that decision because he was a formidable candidate.
So not only did Jose get hosed, so did Jacoby. He was left off one ballot entirely, and received a 10th place vote for one writer. His voting cluster is much more consistent, but again … despite what happened to the Red Sox, don’t you think Jacoby Ellsbury was at least a top five player in the AL?
In the end, we can’t really be mad or disappointed by any one writer’s opinion on who was the most valuable player to their team in 2011. It’s their prerogative on who they deem as the best in the American League.
What we can be upset at however, is the ability to let the narrative take over and cloud people’s judgement on who is the AL MVP. I still believe that had not the Verlander bandwagon been started by whomever, he would never have been in the discussion.
I hate to say it, but this year’s American League MVP results clearly send a message that tangible things like cold, hard statistics are being overlooked in favour of intangibles.
Jose Bautista once again had another hell of a season. He now has a third place AL MVP finish to go along with last year’s fourth place finish, and hopefully one day he will add that elusive MVP trophy to his collection.
One of these years, perhaps the writers will get it right again.