FanPost

Can a pitcher really win the MVP award?

I thought the discussion on whether a pitcher can win the league MVP award while pitching every five days was very interesting.  Like most people, I thought it would be very hard for a starting pitcher to be more valuable than an everyday player.

Luckily, we have more quantative ways to look at this topic now.  Thanks to fangraphs (who have excellent stats, even though the recent Ubaldo article was a bunch of tripe), I looked at WPA as a way to compare how many wins did a player contribute towards to try and normalize between hitters and pitchers. 

I did run the NL pitcher numbers both with pitching only and combining their hitting and pitching - for MVP, I would think you would have to combine the two to get an overall WPA number to compare against hitters.

Looking at the last five years, I saw something interesting.  In the power and offense crazy era of baseball, the top hitter definitely contributed more WPA than the top pitcher, which makes some sense.  However, as the offense has calmed down, the gap has closed, and in a couple of cases, a pitcher had a higher WPA than the highest position player in their league - Zack Greinke last year, and Cliff Lee the year before that.

So, I think I am changing my mind on this.  This year, Ubaldo has the highest WPA in the NL, and if he keeps that up, he should definitely be in the conversation for MVP in addition to the Cy Young. 

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).

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