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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Vlad Wins AL MVP

On AP via ESPN and MLB.com. I daresay he deserved it, though I admit, as with Richard, that the voting was peculiarly lopsided. But there is yet an explanation. Bill James some time ago concluded that three things could result in a player being overrated, one of them playing in LA or New York. This MVP award maybe signals the beginning of an era when the Angels, so long thought of as the megaplex's "other" team, now has some of that gloss (though not Glaus), too.

Or it could be that his season ending tear to pull the Angels into the playoffs convinced a lot of people. Remember, MVP is not best player, it is most valuable to his team, and while those often overlap, if you have several guys that are close (in this case there were 4) you look for the edge one of them might have. I would say Vlad's marvelous September combined with the team's surge at the end to put them in the playoffs convinced a lot of voters that would have otherwise put Vlad 2nd, 3rd, or 4th to bump him up.
Vlad leads the AL in VORP (93.2), and is fourth in the majors behind Bonds (144.6), Pujols (102.0), and Helton (99.4). Even using sabermetric stats this isn't about "last week effects" or anything like it; Vlad is Just That Good.
What's more, at $14 mil a year he is almost a steal financially. One of the few big bucks players in the Majors really earning his keep.

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