Using BARBI to Vote for the NL MVP

Yesterday, I posted a tongue-in-cheek look at the Michael Young for MVP vote using a wonderful (read: completely terrible) statistical tool that I invented called BARBI. I received a request from Anonymous (no, not that anonymous) to do the same with the National League and I couldn’t resist the urge to do so. Once again:


BARBI = (Batting average*1000+RBI)*(1+Positions Played/10)

Top 10:

And who do you think should be MVP? Emilio Bonifacio the utility infielder, I swear to God. Bonifacio rises to the top, mostly on the strength of the six positions he played this year. Talk about versatility. However, he only received more than 100 plate appearances in one of the lineup spots, so now I’m conflicted. Now obviously, this would be an insane pick for MVP. Anyone who voted a player who was as valuable to his team as Bonifacio was to the Marlins in 2011 would be the laughingstock of forever. I shall present the following data without comment*:

*I hate it when people say “without comment.” They obviously are attempting to say something, they just don’t want to be brutally honest. For instance in this case I am obviously trying to say that Bonifacio was roughly as valuable to the Marlins as Young was to the Rangers and that a vote for Michael Young as MVP in 2011 is like a vote for Emilio Bonifacio. But yet I don’t say it. Odd.


Voting Michael Young for AL MVP and BARBI

As you may well know, Evan Grant voted Michael Young 1st for the AL MVP this year. He has yet to post an official reason on his blog, but he did state this on Twitter: “Embarrassing to vote a guy who hit .338, [had] 106 RBIs, played three different infield positions and had at least 100 At-bats in 3 key lineup spots MVP?”

Well, if you know my thoughts on baseball at all, you can probably guess that I disagree with Mr. Grant. Batting average literally means nothing to me. In fact, I dislike any statistic that uses the at-bat, but that’s another topic altogether. In 49% of Young’s plate appearances this season, the Rangers had a man on base. In 33% of his PAs, there was a man in scoring position. He was going to get a lot of RBIs. This past season, he was a DH in 44% of his PAs. Another 46% were while he was in the lineup as a first or third baseman. While his versatility does increase his value, it was a bit overstated in the case. As for the final point, I believe Grant is attempting to say that Young is versatile enough at the plate to be a traditional three, four or five hitter. I say a good hitter is a good hitter no matter where they are in the lineup.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. This was simply one vote in one season that will be forgotten easily. So instead of continuing a discussion about this particular vote, I have decided to create a framework by which all future MVP voting should follow. I call it the BARBI system and I would be remiss if I did not thank Jim Bowden for his inspiration.


BARBI = (Batting average*1000+RBI)*(1+Positions Played/10)

Top Ten:

Basically flawless, with the notable exception that pitchers aren’t included. You’re welcome. In case you were wondering, of the players in the top-10 of the BBWAA MVP voting who are not on that list: Granderson ranks 25th in BARBI, Cano is 11th, Pedroia is 19th and Longoria is 43rd. Nick Markakis comes in 21st.

Frank McCourt Selling the Dodgers? – Team Winning Percentage by Owner Era

As you may well know, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been mired in a controversy for quite a while. Frank and Jamie McCourt, the controlling owners of the team decided to get a divorce and the baseball team has been at the heart of all of it. If you’re interested in reading all about it, check out Wikipedia’s article. Also, the blog Dodger Divorce has been keeping track of the daily happenings.

As of last night November 1st, Frank McCourt has agreed to sell the Dodgers. According to the LA Times, “Baseball hopes a new Dodgers owner can be in place by opening day next year.” Off the field, McCourt has apparently been using the Dodgers as a personal piggy bank and doing as he pleases with the money gained from parking, ticket sales and concessions. But what has his tenure looked like on the field?

I split up the Dodgers history into ownership eras. During each of these eras there was more than one owner, but I tried to focus on the one person or group that either owned most of the team or seemed to have the most control. I also marked every time the Dodgers went to the playoffs (black diamond outline), won the pennant (solid black diamond) and won the World Series (solid blue square). The data come from baseball-reference and wikipedia.

The team winning percentage under McCourt is fairly consistent with how the team has performed since Peter O’Malley took over in 1980. They made the playoffs four times, but never won a World Series. Obviously, the team is nowhere near the Dodgers of the 40s through 70s, but not many teams can average a winning percentage of .568 over the span of 40 years.

Taking a Historic Look at 2007 Prospect Rankings

Because why not? I have a database that includes all of Baseball America’s, Baseball Prospectus’s and ESPN’s prospect rankings since their inception. The first year any website besides Baseball America ran a ranking was five years ago, when Baseball Prospectus started. Now seems like a good time to compare these lists and see how well each place fared. My database also includes the current Fangraphs WAR of each player, which will serve as the value metric.

If players who never made the Major Leagues count as 0 WAR, BA outpaces BP in terms of average WAR overall (6.1 to 5.7) and average WAR in the top 20 (10.6 to 9.8). BA also has 21 players who surpassed the 10 career WAR mark, two more than BP’s 19.

There are six players who made both lists that never made the major leagues: Adam Miller, Bill Rowell, Donald Veal, Chuck Logren, Brandon Erbe and Will Inman. Miller was ranked in the top 25 of both lists.

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