Oh Dear Heavens

Barty/MVP post, if you don't want to read it then don't.

 

Come on Marc Topkin, you are better than this...

There are "experts" around the baseball world questioning the Tampa Bay BBWAA chapter's election of SS Jason Bartlett as the Rays' MVP. And that shows how little they know.

Quick list of writers who questioned the pick that I saw:  Joe Posnanski, Keith Law, and Joe Sheehan. They know little. Just to review how little:

Posnanski - best sportswriter in the world.

Law - former front office type, one of the most intelligent writers around.

Sheehan - pretty good BP analyst.

They know little. Huh? Well okay, maybe they're missing something, please inform them.

So for every stat about his lack of offense (.268 average, 37 RBIs, .690 OPS) or his number of errors (16, matching the fifth most among major-league shortstops) and low fielding percentage (.970, 16th among regular shortstops), or unimpressive manufactured meters such as range factor (12th best) and zone rating (ninth), consider this pretty good one about his value:

Throw out his batting average, runs batted in, errors, fielding percentage, and even range factor. Either they are flawed or simply don't tell the entire story. Let's do some quick offensive and defensive analysis based on rankings. Offensively we'll use GPA, which should help Bartlett by weighing OBP equal to SLG. Defensively just out of zone plays and range zone rating. 

GPA (at least 300 PAs): Bartlett ranks 19th of 31. Below average.

OOZ (at least 500 innings): Bartlett ranks 9th of 29. Above average.

RZR (at least 500 innings): Bartlett ranks 24th of 29. Below average.

RZR+OOZ/BIZ (at least 500 innings): Bartlett ranks 16th of 29. Below average.

So if Bartlett is around the 19th most valuable offensive shortstop and 16th most valuable defensive shortstop that makes him either an average or slightly above average shortstop. Of course it is possible his knee injury has made his numbers go down a bit, that's a fair point, perhaps Topkin brings that one up?

When Bartlett starts at shortstop, the Rays are 76-46. When he doesn't, they are 20-19.

That makes him pretty valuable.

No. No. No. Why? This is stupid and results based analysis at its finest. Unfortunately Topkin didn't even do that right. Here's a look at the team's winning percentage in games started by players, which, by Topkin's logic, determines the most valuable player on a team:

 

Player W% in GS
Hinske 64
Floyd 64
Navarro 62
Bartlett 62

Yes, defense matters, and that's why, unlike less reasonable people, I would actually dismiss Hinske/Floyd. However Navarro is not only equal in percentage but plays an equally difficult position and one that directly affects the pitchers. Navarro has also been better offensively. Topkin even could've spun this cleverly: it's not the defense that is improve, it's actually Navarro's game-calling skills which have lead to easier-to-field balls in  play. See, see how fun spin is?

In case you were wondering a ton of starters had win percentages around 60, that's the funny  thing about being on a team that wins around 60% of their games. Crazy, I know. Yes, I've wasted too much time on something so stupid, but to dismiss people like Posnanski or Law's opinions as "showing how little they know," and then quoting some meaningless statistic like that is unacceptable. Topkin is one of the best beat writers around, but lord have mercy do not try to be an analyst.

Reference

THT

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