Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What's in an MVP...or draft position for that matter?

Yesterday Alex Rodriguez won the American League MVP award, keeping a 20+ year streak intact of AL MVP's that failed to reach the World Series. It is the third MVP that he has won. There are a couple of questions that this presents -

What does the MVP really mean?

Is it just an award to acknowledge the player who statistically has the best year, or is it meant to recognize the player who has the greatest impact on his team?

What does that key word, "valuable," really mean?

I will admit that the Yankees don't make the post-season this year without A-Rod, but do the Red Sox without Lowell? Without Ortiz? Just one of those guys out of the lineup for significant time and the Sox don't make the post-season.

Which, in turn, begs the following question - 20 years of AL MVP's failing to make the World Series, then isn't World Series MVP the far more telling award? After all, it is given to the player who plays the best and has the most impact on the championship team during crunch time. I mean, think about it, this year's winner hit 30 of his 54 home runs before the All-Star Break - 56 percent of his dingers. Through the first 63 games he was on pace to hit 64 homers.

To put the cherry on the whipped cream, A-Rod won the award playing on a last-place club in Texas. What was his value there?

I think major league baseball has to have less vague specs for the voters in regards to this award. I do not begrudge A-Rod the award because, as I said, I don't think the Yankees make the post-season this year without him, however, I don't think he deserved to have such a landslide sort of vote leaning his way. There were several other players that were just as valuable to their teams.

However, I would still take the World Series MVP on my team over the AL MVP for one reason and one reason only - at this point it seems that the AL MVP pretty much means that my team didn't even make the Series.

Feeling drafty...

An interesting idea has creeped into the scribblings of many sports writers. Many like Peter King have started to note that drafting a franchise running back in the top ten is a waste of money. There is a history that they point at that includes Curtis Martin (3rd round), Terrell Davis (6th round), Willie Parker (undrafted), performing at as high a level, and often higher levels than a number of highly picked running backs such as Ron Dayne, Curtis Enis, Ki-Jana Carter, and Lawrence Phillips.

The idea is that a team looking for a running back, but doesn't want to spend big bucks on an unproven rookie, would be better served finding a gem in the late rounds rather than spending on an established back closing in on his 30th birthday (Texans and Ahman Green, we're looking at you).

It's not a bad idea, however, why wouldn't this be just as prudent to apply this same reasoning to quarterbacks? Some of the best in the business, per generation, have been missed by a number of teams - Johnny Unitas was cut by Pittsburgh, Joe Montana was a second rounder out of Notre Dame as was Brett Favre, Tom Brady came out of the sixth round, and Steve Young was a pick in the supplemental draft. A number of other solid starters have come from the late rounds - Bernie Kosar was a pick in the supplemental draft, currently Derek Anderson is looking solid, as is John Kitna. Jake Delhomme was undrafted as was Kurt Warner. Steve Grogan was drafted in the fifth round.

Isn't the evidence of first round quarterback busts just as damning as it is for running backs? Rick Mirer, Michael Vick, Ryan Leaf, Jeff George, Akili Smith...the list goes on.


eric said...


Dave said...

From what I have seen, first-round picks are best spent on the D-line, O-line, wide receivers and linebackers. But you can find good grabs for the latter three in the later rounds as well. But D-Line seems to an important 1st-round position. Just look at the Pats front three

sugarshane024 said...

I understand where you're coming from, but I don't necessarily think that the WS MVP is a more telling award than the MVP itself. And this is for the simple fact that the World Series is such a small sample size compared to the regular season. Look at the 2007 World Series, for example. Jacoby Ellsbury nearly won the WS MVP. He's a great player, but that certainly doesn't qualify him for being league MVP.

Kevin Smith said...

That may be, but who was more important to helping his team bring home a championship? Ellsbury or A-Rod? Additionally, A-Rod once won one playing for a last place team. What was the value?

My point about the regular season award is that it isn't really about value - it's just about who had the best season statistically speaking, and that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the two key words in MVP - Most Valauble. As such, the more telling award about who helped his team the most is the WS MVP.