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Baseball Think Factory has a long post, with plenty of numbers, breaking down how they think the A.L. MVP race shakes out. Keep in mind that this is a completely objective look at certain numbers and does not take team success, nor situational statistics into account. If I had a vote, which I never will, I'd probably weigh those factors as well, but still, it's an interesting (and frightening) barometer for player success.

They use offensive and defensive stats to come up with their uberstat, OPD (offense plus defense). It's assumed that a zero in a category is league average. Grady Sizemore has the highest OPD value (44.74), hence, he's their MVP at this point. Wladimir Balentin had the worst at -25.40.

Here's how your favorite Yankees measured up:

  • Giambi (17.94 OPD) - 5th among 1B, -3.74 on defense seems generous.
  • Cano (-21.74 OPD) - Dead last among 2B, second lowest rating in the entire league. Yikes.
  • A-Rod (31.45 OPD) - Best among 3B, 5th best overall.
  • Jeter (11.62 OPD) - 3rd among SS, behind Scutaro and Aviles. Just a tick below average (-0.09) on defense.
  • Molina (-12.44 OPD) - At the bottom of the C rankings. His -0.12 on defense baffles me.
  • Damon (20.13 OPD) - 3rd among LF, -2.40 on defense, which seems generous.
  • Melky (-13.85 OPD) - Not quite dead last at CF. His defense (7.49) ranks 5th among CF. His offense (-21.33) dead last.
  • Abreu (-13.76 OPD) - Abreu has, by far, the worst defensive ranking in the league at -22.76.
  • Matsui (2.11 OPD) - In limited action, obviously.
So, the Yanks sport the second least-valuable player in the league (Robinson Cano), the worst defensive player in the league (Abreu), our catcher, who has thrown out 45% of would-be stealers, is below average defensively. On the other hand, we have the fifth-most valuable player in the league, best third baseman, a top short stop, left fielder and first baseman. Make of that what you will.

If the Twins win the central, my imaginary MVP vote goes to Mauer. If the Sox win it, Quentin. A-Rod really doesn't deserve any votes, in my opinion. This season, while statistically strong, was nothing like last year and the team has woefully underperformed.

Here's the google doc from BBTF listing all the players in the AL. 
by Brian on Sep 5 2008
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