â†µJoe Mauer started his season on the DL and ended it as the American League Most Valuable Player. There really was no other choice, as Mauer got 27 of the 28 first-place votes. It seems one of the BWAA members must be related to Miguel Cabrera, as that's the only way you can make a case that Cabrera should get the other first-place vote. â†µâ†µ
â†µMauer hit .365 with 94 runs, 96 RBI and a 1.031 OPS while playing Gold Glove catcher for the Twins. â†µ
â†µMauer beats out two Yankees in Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter, who finished second and third, respectively. The numbers back the choice of Mauer, as he had a VORP (value over replacement player) of 91.0 to Jeter's 72.8 and Teixeira's 54.7 despite missing time to start the season and having 110 fewer plate appearances than Jeter and 101 fewer than Teixeira. Mauer was second in the league in WAR (wins above replacement) according to FanGraphs and led all position players in WARP1 (basically the same stat with different metrics) according to Baseball Prospectus. â†µâ†µ
â†µWhat might be the most interesting result in the race is that of Ben Zobrist. Voters for the BWAA are asked to vote 10 spots in the MVP balloting, and 27 different players received at least one vote. (Voting results here.) Yet somehow, Ben Zobrist of Tampa Bay finished eighth in the voting and didn't get one vote higher than sixth place. Alex Rodriguez got four votes higher than any for Zobrist. In fact, Zobrist only received 11 total votes, which means 17 of the 28 voters didn't think he was one of the 10 best players in the American League. â†µâ†µ
â†µThe guy only had the third-highest OPS in the league (.948), tied with Teixeira and ahead of Miguel Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Bay, Kendry Morales and Derek Jeter. Oh, and he also batted .297 with 27 home runs, 91 runs scored and 91 RBI while splitting time between second base and the outfield and hitting in every slot in the lineup. â†µâ†µ
â†µAdd to that the fact that Zobrist was fifth in the league in UZR (ultimate zone rating) for any position player for his 91 games at second base and fourth in the league for all right fielders for his 59 games in right, and you can begin to see the player's real value. Oh, add to that fact that Zobrist started at least one game in 2009 at seven different positions (all put catcher and pitcher). He also led Fangraph's list for WAR, ahead of Mauer and far ahead of Bay, who finished one spot ahead of him in the BWAA voting. Zobrist was also third in BP's VORP (61.0) while Bay finished 15th in the league (47.4). But Bay's team made the playoffs and Zobrist's did not. So I guess he couldn’t have been all that valuable. â†µâ†µ
â†µWe can only take solace in the fact that the voters got the winner right. Well, except for one voter. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.