Monday, 21 November 2011

Somewhat Defending Evan Grant

With the release of the AL MVP awards today two things came about in Blue Jays bloggerland, first people were unhappy, but at the same time expected that Jose Bautista would not be the AL MVP because he didn't have the narrative. Second was the extreme criticism of Texas Rangers beat writer Evan Grant who is the sole man to give Texas Rangers super utility man Michael Young a first place MVP vote. There have already been multiple articles trashing Mr. Grant's viewpoint and one most prominently done is that of Dustin Parkes over at Getting Blanked. Parkes essentially debunked all of Evan Grant's reasoning for giving Michael Young that first place vote and most of the debunking I agreed with the exception of the second last point.

Evan Grant's said "They don’t know that Derek Holland has met with him after almost every start lately for a critique and that Young and Holland have a special player-pitcher rapport. They don’t know that Mike Napoli, who is having a career year, lockers next to Young and has followed him around like a puppy dog." Essentially the point that Grant was trying to bring up was that players effect their teams in ways off the field and apparently in Michael's case it was positive. In response Mr. Parkes wrote "I suppose that for next year’s awards, pitching coaches should get Cy Young consideration and bench coaches should should get MVP consideration. After all, these are the type of contributions that a manager or team of coaches make that isn’t relevant to how a player performs on the field." With his response what Dustin Parkes fails to realize is that as much as us statheads may like to believe that all the value lies in the stats, players can have a positive effect on their team off of the field. We as fans may not be able to see these contributions, but they definitely are there and the name of the award is the Most Valuable Player, if the player is adding value with what he does off the field why disregard it. 

Before I get too far along I must say that this in no way means that I agree with Evan Grant's choice of Michael Young for MVP, but his conundrum brings up a very interesting point. Why not consider all the facets of a player's game for his MVP consideration. In some cases this could be a negative effect and some a positive effect. For example there was a story a year or so ago that stated that rather than Cito Gaston or Dwayne Murphy being responsible for the beast that is Jose Bautista, it suggested that instead it may have been the man the Jays traded away, Vernon Wells. It was suggested that Vernon's tip for Jose was that he should swing way in front of the ball, because the ball just kept getting by him, obviously it worked. 

Though in the end no matter whether it was Vernon, Cito, or Dwayne, these people, these beat writers have access to the players, coaches, and front office that us fans just don't. So then what is the big issue that these beat writers voting for the MVP take a player's off field abilities in to account. Obviously these such things shouldn't matter for the Rookie of the Year, which is the best rookie, or the Cy Young, which is the best pitcher, but for an award titled the Most Valuable Player, why not take all a player's value in to account. Many players have great coaching skills and that is why most coaches are former players. So for an award titled the Most Valuable Player, why not take all a player's value as the award suggests. 

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