According to me anyway…
1) Joe Mauer: I am honestly at a point where if a voter does
not vote for Mauer first, then they should have their privilege taken
away. Sure, others had great years. But to do what Mauer did as a
catcher, it simply is astonishing in a baseball sense. Not like a man
on the moon in the 60’s. And not like all that butterfly love crap.
But astonishing, regardless. Voters have no real excuse, except maybe
voting Zobrist ahead of Mauer because he led the league in WAR. But
few will base their judgements on such an “omnipotent” metric. But one
aspect of WAR that is “flawed” is that they cannot value catcher
defense accurately, just as none of us can. But I, for one, purchase
much stock in the value a catcher has. Maybe that is because I have
been told my whole life about it, or because I still believe that
catchers are not exactly the same when it comes to calling a game.
Joe Mauer was hands down the best player in baseball this season.
He won his third batting title, led the league in OBP AND Slugging.
And as mentioned, was a FREAKING catcher.
For any of the voters who care too much about a candidate’s team making the playoffs…well he did that too…
2) Zack Greinke: A pitcher finishing this high?
Definitely. Whether you think a pitcher can be as valuable as a
position player at this level of performance is up to you. But I
believe it to be true. Especially when the pitcher has a historically
great season. Sure, he played on a terrible team. But the fact the
said team ignores OBP, don’t have much money, and are pretty much
sub-par in many of their qualities, should not be a knock on Greinke.
His FIP was 2.33, his ERA 2.16. Greinke is as good as it gets, and was easily the best pitcher this season.
3) Ben Zobrist: Zobrist finally put it all together for a
season. And boy did it come together. According to WAR, Zobrist was
the best in baseball for a year. He batted .297/.405/.543 while
manning seven different positions, predominantly second base for the
injured Iwamura. And although a rather small sampling, his UZR was off
the charts at the up the middle position. Basically, what more does
one want from a player? He did whatever the team asked, filled in
wherever needed. And not only did that, but did it very well. Sounds
like an MVP to me.
But when all is said and done, I still care most about performance.
So whether an 8.6 WAR be put up by a guy that plays only one position,
or a guy that plays seven positions, it makes little difference.
Although I have to admit, it is cool to have a player move all over the diamond and do whatever the team needs done…
4) Derek Jeter: Seriously, where did this season come from?
I was on record saying I thought that Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie
could be roughly what Jeter would be in 2009.
Simply put, I was well wrong. Jeter finished third in WAR amongst
American League position players, and reached base as much as anyone in
the league not named Joe Mauer or Kevin Youkilis. He supposedly hired
someone to help him increase his range, allowing him to get to more
balls to his glove side, which was becoming a serious problem. And
according to the metrics, it helped. The only question I ask is why
wasn’t it done sooner? I guess on that note, better late than never
What Jeter did at this age was remarkable. First ballot Hall of
Famer, no doubt. Although I wonder how much money he will want to
remain in New York…
5) Evan Longoria: Running down the WAR leaderboard…
Longoria was great yet again. Don’t let the Rays place in the
standings fool you. They had a few truly great players, and they
played in the toughest division I have seen in a while. It isn’t
Zobrist’s fault, or Longoria’s that they didn’t smell the postseason.
Anyway, Longoria hit .281/.364/.526, and fielded third as well as anyone not named Ryan Zimmerman.
Once again, it wasn’t his fault that the Rays finished so far out of the postseason.