My AL and NL MVP Votes and the BBWAA:
Last week I announced how I voted for the IWBAA AL and NL MVP races, selecting one winner and one third place finisher. Today we’re going to look down the ballot to see how well my selections matched up with the rest.
How I’m Scoring Myself:
For every player that I placed correctly on my ballot, I will award an equal score as they would’ve been given on the ballot (14 points for 1st place, 9 for 2nd place, 8 for 3rd place…1 for 10th place).
Depending on how many spots away I am, I will substract one point. So, if the player was voted 5th by the BBWAA and I gave him a 2nd place vote, then I’ll substract from the BBWAA’s ranking (meaning I would get 3 points from this player. His 5th place giving him 6 points minus 3 from my slots being wrong equals 3.)
If I place a player to where I would end up at a negative scoring (where the BBWAA gave him a 10th spot and I gave him anything above 9th) then I’ll also take a score of 0. This will be the same with players I had in my Top-10 who did not finish in the Top-10 as this will likely only occur with down-ballot votes which can be much more varied.
The maximum score I can get (per league) would be 59 points.
Let’s see if I passed.
The 2020 NL MVP:
1st Place: Freddie Freeman (BBWAA) & Freddie Freeman (Ethan)
2nd Place: Mookie Betts (BBWAA) & Juan Soto (Ethan)
3rd Place: Manny Machado (BBWAA) & Mookie Betts (Ethan)
4th Place: Fernando Tatis Jr. (BBWAA) & Manny Machado (Ethan)
5th Place: Juan Soto (BBWAA) & Fernando Tatis Jr (Ethan)
Luckily, I did correctly place the winner of the 2020 NL MVP atop my rankings, giving Freddie Freeman the #1 spot. With 28 of the 30 possible first place votes from the BBWAA, this was almost entirely a consensus across baseball writers. Ethan: 14 for 14 (through 1)
Because of my Soto picking at 2nd place, my #3, #4, and #5 reflect the same order as the BBWAA’s #2, #3, and #4 just down one spot each. I’m going to chalk this up to Soto only playing in 47 games this past season which probably gave some voters pause when awarding him higher honors than Betts, Machado, and Tatis Jr. all of whom played 55 games or more. This would net me 3 points for Soto, 8 points for Betts, 7 points for Machado, and 6 points for Tatis Jr. Ethan: 38 for 44 (through 5)
6th Place: Marcell Ozuna (BBWAA) & Dansby Swanson (Ethan)
7th Place: Trea Turner (BBWAA) & Mike Yastzemski (Ethan)
8th Place: Mike Yastrzemski (BBWAA) & Trevor Bauer (Ethan)
9th Place: Corey Seager (BBWAA) & Marcell Ozuna (Ethan)
10th Place: Trevor Bauer (BBWAA) & Jacob DeGrom (Ethan)
So, I was much more varied with my down-ballot votes, and it seems like I really only had one “good” pick with giving Yastrzemski a 7th place vote (as did 8 BBWAA voters) instead of where he eAnded at 8th. However, while it does appear I was low on Marcell Ozuna and a little high on Trevor Bauer as they were only other players that I placed in my Top-10 that also made the Top-10 by the BBWAA. Unfortunately, this means my end of the ballot looks quite poor as I get just 2 points from my Ozuna and Yaz picks and 0 points for having Bauer ranked too high.
With missing out on Turner and Seager (for Swanson and DeGrom) I also gain 0 points. This is interesting to me because I would’ve been the only writer to give DeGrom an NL MVP vote, even though I am much harsher on pitchers. However, one writer did agree with my giving Swanson an MVP vote, but he got a 10th place with him instead of my 6th place. I gain 4 points out of a possible 15 on the down-ballot here.
Ethan’s NL MVP Scoring: 42 points out of 59 points. (71.1%) I passed…luckily.
The 2020 AL MVP:
1st Place: Jose Abreu (BBWAA) & DJ LeMahieu (Ethan)
2nd Place: Jose Ramirez (BBWAA) & Jose Abreu (Ethan)
3rd Place: DJ LeMahieu (BBWAA) & Shane Bieber (Ethan)
4th Place: Shane Bieber (BBWAA) & Tim Anderson (Ethan)
5th Place: Mike Trout (BBWAA) & Luke Voit (Ethan)
My initial impression while scoring this out is that I don’t think I am going to pass this class. I was slightly off on a few picks at the top with Abreu and Bieber each being off by one, and I also placed DJ LeMahieu in the Top-3, but unfortunately my #4 and #5 picks were not found on the Top-5 of the BBWAA ballot. However, both of my picks do end up down later on the ballot and the two picks I missed end up further down my ballot. Right now I’ll calculate for Abreu (13 points), LeMahieu (6 points), and Bieber (6 points) and I’ll come back to #2 and #5. Ethan: 25 for 29 (through #1, #3, and #4)
6th Place: Nelson Cruz (BBWAA) & Jose Ramirez (Ethan)
7th Place: Tim Anderson (BBWAA) & Mike Trout (Ethan)
8th Place: Brandon Lowe (BBWAA) & Byron Buxton (Ethan)
9th Place: Luke Voit (BBWAA) & Brandon Lowe (Ethan)
10th Place: Anthony Rendon (BBWAA) & Anthony Rendon (Ethan)
Interestingly enough, the BBWAA and I only disagree with 1 player finding their way into our Top-10’s with them awarding Nelson Cruz the 6th spot as I had Byron Buxton in my 8th spot. I was close to putting Cruz on my ballot, but I couldn’t justify having a DH as I like to value defense higher than only offense (as you can tell with my Buxton and Swanson picks). All of the other 9 players were found on each, but some of my picks were pretty far off. Luckily, this does mean I will collect a good amount of points as we calculate the remaining 7 from above.
Going back to Jose Ramirez who we didn’t calculate above, I had him #6 on my ballot, giving me 5 points for my 4 place difference. I was a bit closer with Mike Trout (4 points) and I barely scraped a point with Tim Anderson (1 point). Unfortunately, my worst guess was with Luke Voit (who nets me 0 points from our 5 place difference) but I do collect 2 points with being only 1-off on Brandon Lowe and a final point with correctly placing Anthony Rendon 10th.
Ethan’s AL MVP Scoring: 38 points out of 59 points. (64.4%) Looks like I’m going to have to retake this one again.
I definitely made a few mistakes with overvaluing defense (see: Swanson, Buxton, and Cruz) but I think overall I’m happy with how I did.
Across both leagues I was only off by 3 players that I had (DeGrom, Swanson, and Buxton) that the BBWAA didn’t (Turner, Seager, and Cruz) in each of our Top-10’s. I think that’s interesting as this season provided a much greater chance for wide variety for votes given the smaller sample size.
However, overall with my scoring system I did ultimately fall shot with a total score of 80/118 (67.7%). Darn.
We will try to get them again next year!
Post-Script: I also wanted to acknowledge that while I vehemently disagreed that DJ LeMahieu was not going to win the AL MVP with my father (who instead gave it to Jose Abreu), I was the one who was wrong in this instance. I guess sometimes it is important to listen to your parents.