Sounds strange aye? Speaking of sounds, that is the way “aye” sounds to me. I am not sure how it is actually supposed to be jotted down. But Milton Bradley? He is right there in the MVP discussion, but I have a hard time believing that the voters will give in if he is still lingering around in the discussion come the end of the season. One reason being that I am not sold on the A’s hanging around in the division race. The second reason being that no one likes Milton Bradley. I am not too fond of him either, but I will set that aside if I think that he is the most valuable player when all is said and done. After all, I didn’t “like” Alex Rodriguez last season, but still thought he deserved the award.
What I do hear being mentioned, almost multiple times a day, is Josh Hamilton. And of course, not only his personal life, but his very worthy MVP candidacy. Look, Hamilton is right at the top in terms of MVP’s this season, probably alone at the top. And do not get me wrong, overcoming, so far, what he has, is pretty freakin’ amazing. But that shouldn’t be the reason he should win the award, nor should it have anything to do with it. If he puts up the best numbers, and the voters genuinely think that he was the best player then give him the award. But don’t ignore certain individuals because you/one has something personal against them (and rightfully so if they dislike Bradley).
This may have a lot of the “intangible” discussion if the race stays close until the end of the baseball season. We all know that intangibles matter, but it is impossible to place a value on them. IMPOSSIBLE! I cannot sit here and come to some conclusion that “so and so” helped whatever team win 2 extra games because he was a good clubhouse presence. And I recall Rob Neyer doing something of this nature in the past. When he was asked the question about Darin Erstad (Neyer’s boy) being undervalued because of his great “intangibles,” his response went something like this. “But how much are his intangibles worth, two wins?” I kind of like Rob Neyer, he isn’t my favorite, but I don’t dislike him by any means either. But trying to place a value in the form of “wins” on something that is permanently inconclusive? This was something that I disliked, and it actually kind of angered me at the time.
I have come to the conclusion that intangibles are really nothing more than a tiebreaker to me. Sure they matter, there is little doubt about that. But if two MVP candidates are basically tied statistically in my mind by seasons end, and one of them is say, Derek Jeter, the other is say, Milton Bradley. I will choose Jeter. But I am not going to try and say, well, Jeter was worth 4 extra wins because of his intangibles. Give him 3 additional wins because he has to deal with the pressure of the Big Apple. And throw in a couple more wins because he has dated many attractive woman including celebrities. What I might actually say to myself is; “Wow, these guys are dead even, but I like what Jeter does, what he is notorious for, and that is “leading” the team.”
But Bradley, at this point, deserves some serious consideration. His Adjusted OPS is sitting at 192, which is 92% better than average. He is the league leader in OBP, by far. He has been getting on base 45% of the time this year. He has a .337 average, and a .628 slugging…in a pitcher’s park. He has “Created” 58 runs this season. He is second in “Win Shares” with 12. I can go on and on with statistics that back up his case, but I will not.
Josh Hamilton is obviously very worthy through the first part of 2008 as well. He plays center field, while Bradley DH’s the majority of the time. And if the award were given out right now, I would probably have to give it to Hamilton. More AB’s, more valuable defensively. But don’t let this be about Hamilton’s off the field story, that is a large reason why I am writing this to begin with. Because while it should be praised, and very much is, it should not be the reason he wins this award over Milton Bradley. It should be based on the production by each individual.
(This is funny actually. I was so caught up in the Milton Bradley rant I forgot what team he was on! The Rangers! I felt like an idiot. But whatever. Change “pitchers park” to “hitters park,” and read on. 🙂