Now, I understand that MVP votes and awards are all opinion-based, and that will mean a good variety of disagreement between the fans and baseball writers. Maybe my homerism tells me that Jose Bautista wasn’t just the most valuable player for the Blue Jays, but the American League in general, but…I can totally understand why most of the votes went to Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander. Honestly. Not a problem with it at all.
I will even give an honest effort to listen to the reasoning behind why Bautista finished 3rd behind Jacoby Ellsbury. I might dislike the player, and I’ll probably staunchly disagree, but I will listen. It’s the Canadian thing to do.
This, though, is beyond my comprehension. I’ll give credit to Evan Grant, the voter here – he voted Michael Young first place, above all other players in the AL, so if anything, at least he’s taken this thing to the highest level. I’m trying to think of some devil’s advocate reasons based around stats or team performance, maybe even intangibles for why Young was a better player than Verlander, Bautista, Ellsbury, and Cabrera…but to be fair, I can’t even see how you could justify that Michael Young was the best player on the Rangers this season.
I like Young, and think he’s had a fantastic career as one of the most consistent bats around. But he’s not even the best player on his team, and 1 out of 28 voters thought enough of him to vote him first place…and Bau somehow landed 7th on the ballot, almost as though it was the cursory thing to do.
I could throw out some stats here and explain how crazy that really is, but that’s not really what it’s about, is it? It’s not really about Michael Young, or Bautista, or any of the players on Grant’s ballot. If anything, this raises a question about the wildcard factor to these awards. Opinions will diverge on votes like this, but to some degree, most writers will use a similar criteria when coming to their decisions in a process that is well-reasoned. This just seems counter-intuitive to that process.
That’s not even the craziest thing. Bautista actually also received an 8th and 9th place vote on two other ballots. Even if Bautista was my nemesis and ran over my dog, I don’t think I could name 8 players who were better than he was this season.
The BBWAA might have gotten the winner (more or less) right in picking Verlander, but as the transparent voting process demonstrates, the system is still somewhat imperfect, and occasionally mind-bogglingly crazy. None of it takes anything away from Bautista’s achievement this season, though. He was good enough to win MVP by my books (Verlander a close 2nd), and absolutely carried the Blue Jays this season.