The single most ridiculous of those five Mauer-less ballots without question comes from Joe Cowley, who covers the White Sox for the Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley somehow couldn't find a place for the MLB batting champion on his ballot, but did see fit to include a different catcher: Chicago's own A.J. Pierzynski (whom Cowley no doubt relied upon for juicy quotes throughout the season). For those of you wondering, here's how the two catchers compare:
Mauer beat Pierzynski by 52 points in batting average, 96 points in on-base percentage, and 71 points in slugging percentage, all while coming to the plate 65 more times. Mauer also caught the league's second-best pitching staff and threw out 38 percent of would-be basestealers, while Pierzynski caught a staff that surrendered 111 more runs and threw out just 22 percent of basestealers. Faced with that overwhelming evidence, Cowley gave Pierzynski a 10th-place vote and left Mauer off his ballot.
John Hickey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer also left Mauer off his ballot, yet found room for Mariners left fielder Raul Ibanez, whose OPS was 67 points lower than Mauer's without even accounting for the massive difference in their defensive value. Joe Roderick, who covers the A's for the Contra Costa Times, left Mauer off his ballot while giving a second-place vote to Oakland's Frank Thomas and a 10th-place vote to Tejada, who won his aforementioned 2002 AL MVP with the A's.
Even Jason Williams, who covered Mauer all season for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, narrowly found room for him on his ballot with a 10th-place vote. Among the nine players Williams deemed more valuable than Mauer were four designated hitters. That's right, one of two Twins beat writers given a vote for AL MVP felt that four guys who didn't even play defense were more valuable than a Gold Glove-caliber catcher who batted .347. For better or worse, these are the people who made Morneau MVP.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Here's a quote from Aarom Gleeman that pretty much tells me all I need to know about the MVP Awards process: