Wednesday, August 09, 2006

David Ortiz or Derek Jeter? Now that is the question.

There is a rising debate in the baseball world about who the AL MVP will be, or more importantly, should be this year. The two main players people have been talking about are New York Yankees shortstop, Derek Jeter and Boston Red Sox DH, David Ortiz. The main knock against Ortiz seems to be the fact that he does not play in the field and Jeets, as I call him, plays a great short. This was the same argument used last year during the A-Rod or Ortiz for MVP debate. A-Rod won for two reasons as far as I can see. He won because he played the field and last year he played it well, and the Yanks won the division beating out Ortiz and the Red Sox.

This year may be different. I will rundown some of the categories the baseball writers should look at, or at least categories I would look at when placing my vote for MVP. This of course is all assuming that Big Papi and Jeets keep up their pace and finish healthy.

The first category to look at is the stats. Some of you hate stats, but as far as I am concerned, this should be 60% to 70% of the vote. Papi is of course having an incredible year. As of this hour he is batting .291 which is not bad for a big guy, with 41 HRs and 110 RBI(s). While Jeter has a .346 BA, 9 HRs, 68 RBI(s) and 24 stolen bases. I think both are looked at as team leaders and both are clutch players, although Ortiz is as clutch as anyone has been in the last three years. On numbers alone I go with Papi because I like power and game winning hits over speed and finesse.

Another category and the one that will get the most attention is the defense or lack thereof when it comes to Papi. Jeter is of course the better defensive player, if for no other reason than he plays the field. I just wonder when the writers and fans started holding defense in an MVP vote up to such a high standard. It seems to me it started last year. Papi does not play the field and if he did it would be first base, not a glamour position like shortstop. He would also play a horrible first base, but I do believe there have been horrible fielders to win the MVP award. Ever hear of Barry Bonds? He won it taking steroids and playing a horrible left field. If A-Rod were having the same hitting year he had last year but had played the field like he did this year, would Papi have won? I look at it this way, if Boston had to play Ortiz in the field to keep his bat in the lineup, they would. It is baseball’s own fault that this is even a factor. Will Ortiz continue to be punished for a rule he had no control over? I have to give this to Jeter, but I do not make this a huge factor in my vote.

Now we can look at some intangibles. I already mentioned that both are team leaders and clutch players. I think you could split that and give Jeets the edge in team leader because as all the other Yanks seem to be either falling apart or having subpar years, Jeter is having a career year and can always be counted on to lead this team. Give the Mr. Clutch Award to Ortiz, basically because he has won more games in late innings than anyone in the history of the world.

Another intangible is the teams for which these two play. Jeter is on the hated Yankees, who buy anyone they want and always have to win. Ortiz is on the Boston Red Sox, the team that was so annoying and whiny because they never won. Even now they still seem that way to me. This is a wash because both teams are really unlikable. Still another intangible is the hunk factor. Papi is not exactly GQ quality, while Jeets is so dreamy. I have to give it to Jeter, when you have notches on your bedpost from Vaneesa Minnillo, pre-breakdown Mariah Carey, and just about every hot actress that ever spent one hour in New York City, you are doing something right.. The rest of the intangibles do not matter because basically they are intangibles. If you can’t categorize them you can’t really rate them.

What seems to be the biggest factor for the baseball writers, especially in a close race is which team, of the two or three in contention for MVP, finished the best. If the Red Sox end up with the AL East championship then I believe Papi will win. If the Yanks win, then I believe Jeter will win. I do hope the Ortiz can get a fair shake, no matter the outcome because he deserves some kind of award. Maybe the award for the most feared hitter in the 7th inning on, with his team down 2 runs or left. He would be a lock for that one and he wouldn't even have to field one ball.


Travis said...

Here's my argument for Ortiz, or rather, against the American League.

If you are going to maintain a roster position in your league for a designated hitter, then you cannot, CANNOT use that against someone when voting for MVP.

I sincerely wish that the AL would dump the DH. It's the most ridiculous rule in sports. With the advent of interleague play, it doesn't make sense to play games in the same sport with different rules.

Voting against Big Papi is another way of saying that you don't like the DH. I would have no problem with that, but an MVP season holds monetary significance to a player. So punishing Ortiz, monetarily, because you don't like the rules of the game is stupid.

Ortiz, to me, with his clutch hitting is the MVP in the AL.

Piccu said...

I agree and if you do not ever vote for a DH, then as far as I am concerned, you can never vote for a pitcher for MVP. Not only is a pitcher basically a one sided player (no hitting), but he only pitches once every 5 days.

I hope that the Red Sox wins the AL East this year so we can really see what the voters think. I really believe that has to happen for Ortiz to win this thing. He is said to be a great clubhouse guy and is a good ambassador for the game. There is no shame in him winning the AL MVP.

BRATCH said...

I think you have to give it to Jeter simply because 1) .350 batting average, 2) on pace to get 100 RBI 3) on pace to steal 45-50 bags.

I haven't looked at the stats, but I'm going to say that Jeter has a better on base percentage as well. And add to that the stolen base factor and that says that when he gets on he does something on base and I'm sure he scores a bunch of runs as well.

Essentially what I'm saying is Ortiz's only chance of helping you is at the plate with a bat in his hands and putting that bat on the ball too. If he gets a walk, he might as well strike out. Jeter helps at the plate, in the field and on the bases.

Travis said...

It's hard to argue with your point of view bratch, but you're still trying to punish Ortiz for baseball's problem.

The most compelling point you have is the baserunning. Jeter is a quintessential ball player. Ortiz is an extraordinary hitter.

But whereas I agree, Jeter can beat you in more ways, the question should be who beats you more.

Here's an analogy to buttress my point. Who's the MVP between Jordan in his prime or Magic in his prime? Magic beats with passing, rebounding and scoring. Jordan beats you by scoring and defense. Magic beats you more ways, but Jordan beats you more.

Piccu said...

Jordan sucks and Magic rules.

I see Bratch's argument and agree some what. But how many times have you heard of Jeter dropping a yack in the 9th to win a game for the Yanks. Jeter gets on and can get in the pithcer's head and steal some bases, but Oritz would be the one to bring him home. It all sounds like chicken or the egg.

As I said in my piece, if the Red Sox were forced to play Ortiz in the field, they would. It's baseball that is allowing them to put him in this position.

I still say the division winner will get the MVP. That is unless Bratch's favorite Joe Maur conitnues to hit .380 and the Twins make it into the playoffs. Then maybe Jeter is no longer in the equation.

BRATCH said...

You can look at a game winning homerun two ways. A game winning homerun means nothing if a dude doesn't steal a base to get in scoring position so bloop single can score him earlier in the game.

Sure the homerun wins you the game, but its importance is insignificant when you take away the rest of the runs. And someone like Jeter can make a game saving play on a Giambi brother to help win a game. Or dive into the stands and crack his skull open for an out.

What is the significance of great defensive plays? Ozzie Smith is a Hall of Famer for his defense alone.

Because all things being equal, if the ball is headed your way you are to perform to the best of your ability each time. No matter the inning or whether or not you are in the field or at the plate.

Being a clutch hitter is great and should be a factor, but to me you all are punishing Jeter a bit simply because all of the things he's known for doing throughout an entire game aren't measured as highly in the outcome as a single RBI or homerun from Ortiz simply because he did it in the 9th inning and caused the game to end.

I guess the way I look at it is the difference between being a player and being a hitter. Jeter is going to have a much higher batting average, score more runs, generally get on base more, steal bases and play a great shortstop position.

But Ortiz is going to have tons of RBI and tons of homeruns.

And the bottom line is that guys like Ortiz rely on guys like Jeter to help get them into gaming winning situations.

Piccu said...

Well, then it may all come down to the fact that Jeter is so dreamy.

And Giambi was not out, that was a conspiracy to help the Yankess go further in the playoffs.

Travis said...

I'm not punishing Jeter for not hitting game winning yacks. Because he has as much opportunity to hit walkoffs as Ortiz does. While Ortiz is not given the opportunity to play defense.

That's why I give a bit more credence to your stolen bases point. It's a foregone conclusion that Jeter's a better defender than Ortiz or else Ortiz wouldn't be a DH, but you just can't hold that against Ortiz.