Hey kids! It's the last in our series of ballots for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance posteason awards.
We've always had some trouble with the whole "valuable" aspect of MVP awards. Mostly because when people start talking about a player's relative value, they point to a whole host of things that are generally beyond the player's control.
Was the player on a winner? A playoff team? Was he on a team that was good enough to get into the playoffs, but not good enough to get there without him? How tangible were his intangibles? And how big of a towel does he need to cover his dong after getting out of the shower?
(Okay, that last one was proabably a step too far. But you get the idea.)
In some ways, this is why we'd prefer to think of these awards as "Player of the Year" awards, so that you can rid yourself of all the extraneous horsepoop. Alas, we'll just play along so as not to be any more difficult than we need to be.
So how do we determine value? Well, as we mentioned in this snazzy interview with the New York Daily News' Jesse Spector, we're more of an OPS dude. Because some of the advanced metrics make our pretty head hurt. So we took a look at the leaders in OPS, then figured it out based upon our particular likes and dislikes and prejudices. (And our apologies to Shin-Soo Choo, who we really tried hard to get into our top ten. Because we think he's awesome. Maybe next year.) Anyways, here's what we came up with.
1) Joe Mauer, Twins - 1.031 OPS, 28 HR,96 RBI, 8.2 WAR: There really shouldn't be any debate about this, because Mauer's year was so far ahead of anyone else's. And if you are so inclined, you can consider the fact that he is a catcher, and heap an extra scoop full of intangible goodness on top. Mauer's season was one for the ages.
2) Mark Teixeira, Yankees - .948 OPS, 39 HR, 122 RBI, 5.2 WAR: There are those who love Derek Jeter, and think the sun shines out his ass, and therefore any of the glow around the new first baseman must just be the refracted light from his glory. But we think that Teixeira's outstanding season stands on its own.
3) Ben Zobrist, Rays - .948 OPS, 27 HR, 91 RBI, 8.5 WAR: In addition to putting up numbers that were stunningly surprising in the heart of a strong lineup, Zobrist also provided unparalleled defensive flexibility. By season's end, Zobrist had played every position on the diamond, save for catcher and pitcher, and provided good defense wherever he played.
4) Miguel Cabrera. Tigers -.942 OPS, 34 HR, 103 RBI, 5.5 WAR: Cabrera is a scary good hitter who more than carried his weight in a Detroit lineup that scuffled for much of the year.
5) Evan Longoria, Rays - .889 OPS, 33 HR, 100 RBI, 7.3 WAR: Longoria's exceptional fielding (14.4 UZR/150) bumps him up on this list.
6) Derek Jeter, Yankees - .871 OPS, 18 HR, 107 RBI, 7.4 WAR: We might hate him and all he stands for, but he had his best season in years, and posted a sterling .406 OBP.
7) Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox -.961 OPS, 27 HR, 99 RBI, 5.5 WAR: Okay, we really hate Youk. And we could make an argument that he should be higher on this list, but we suspect that his OBP is aided by some Fenway calls and his SLG is aided by the the Fenway dimensions. And we hate him.
8) Kendry Morales, Angels -.924 OPS, 34 HR, 108 RBI, 4.3 WAR: One of our favorite breakout stories this season. He has stepped up to the next level, assuming the role of the impact bat in the middle of the Angels lineup.
9) Adam Lind, Blue Jays -.932 OPS, 35 HR, 114 RBI, 3.7 WAR: In the value metrics, he takes a step back because of his dubious fielding and his role as the DH for most of the season. But Lind was the most consistent in the Jays offense, which actually ranked in near the top of the AL.
10) Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -.933 OPS, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 4.6 WAR: Love him or hate him, A-Rod produced in his 124 games this season. In a full season, he would have been in the top three.