Friday Rockpile: Most Valuable To Their Team

It's a Sloooooooow news day, what with most MLB entities still sprawled out on their respective couches from the sheer amount of turkey and other delicious foodstuffs they ingested last night. Free agents are still out there, trades are yet to be made, and the stove is still very hot.

MLB Trade Rumors has a Free Agent Arbitration Offer Tracker that lets you know which potential free agents were offered arbitration by their teams. Eventually, it'll tell who accepted as well. Mark Ellis was a Type-B Free Agent. The Rockies did offer him arbitration, but the Dodgers did not have to surrender a draft pick to sign Ellis to the 2-year deal they inked just under 2 weeks ago. The Rockies will receive draft pick compensation, but I believe it'll be in the form of a sandwich pick rather than the Dodgers having to give up a pick.

So that's news.

In other news, a Pitcher won the MVP in the AL! What's the deal with that? We had some interesting discussions in the rockpiles over the past few days regarding the MVP, pitcher eligibility, things of that nature.

One topic that's always interested me is "who is really the most valuable player?" Is it "Most Valuable Absolutely" meaning that the True MVP will rise to the top when stacked against his peers? Or is it "Most Valuable To Their Team", where a team that performed admirably would simply not have been where they were without this one player?

The first is a relatively simple of mixing observed excellence on the field and whatever particular stat package you subscribe to, whether that be WAR, RBIs, or something completely different. I personally like looking at a blending of WAR + WPA to get an idea on my MVP candidates.

The second is a far more muddled process that tends to lean far more heavily on the subjective than the objective. I don't say this to demean anyone who subscribes to the "most valuable to their team" methodology, I really don't. But the range of reasoning for why a player is more valuable to their team than another is to their team is as long as a traffic-free Colfax Avenue.

So I took it upon myself to find a way to determine which player was most valuable to their team.

**WARNING: The following analysis leans exclusively on the WAR statistical metric. This writer acknowledges the faults and shortcomings of that particular metric, but it makes for a good discussion point.**

What I did is take each team and add their batting and pitching WAR (and I did it for both fWAR and rWAR and averaged them, just to satisfy those that aren't 100% into either metric) (Actually, I have the individual results as well) and then found their top WAR pitcher and top WAR batter (again, by both metrics), average their fWAR and rWAR, and then compared it to the team WAR in the form of a percentage.

Click past the jump to see which players in MLB were the most valuable to their teams.

When we look at the results, the top name in all of MLB will most assuredly surprise you. The top AL name... will not.

If we re-ran the 2011 MVP award using % WAR methodology, your AL MVP becomes: Jose Bautista, who took home 24.93% of his team's wins all by himself. Bautista's 8.4 aggregate WAR (8.3 fWAR, 8.5 rWAR) was one of the tops in the AL. Interestingly, Verlander finished 6th in the AL in percentage. Felix Hernandez and his 5.1 WAR was 2nd in the AL at 21.94%.

The NL is far more interesting. Both of top candidates are separated by 0.4%. Both are CF. Both play for crappy teams. However, there's also a 3.65 WAR dropoff from one to the other.

Your 2011 NL MVP:

Andrew McCutchen, 5.6 WAR, 25.23%

I was as surprised as you are. Really, it just speaks to how miserable the Pirates were this season.

Your 2nd place in the NL MVP was Matt Kemp, with 9.35 and 24.83%.

Now, when you think about the fact that nobody should be considered the top bat in their league without gaudy numbers, which Kemp had, you kind of realize how Kemp really was jobbed. Braun was very, very good, and 8th in the NL in WAR Percent. Kemp was basically the best candidate on this list who actually had a shot of winning the MVP.

Numbers are fun.

You can view the full results here.

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