Weighing in on MVP
Just watched a mini-debate about the MVP voting on a Braves Fox South broadcast. They had singled out Bonds, Pujols and Beltre as the top contenders. The consensus was this: it's hard not to vote for Bonds (he's great ya know), but look at Beltre's numbers!
To this end they put up the primary numbers for each player. The three primary stats they picked were HR, RBI and Avg. And, yes, looking at just these I might vote for Beltre too. Here they are: Beltre HR - 47 RBI - 115 Avg - .341 Bonds HR - 43 RBI - 98 Ave - .369
But of course this doesn't even tell us half of the story. Bonds has way more Runs Created than Beltre (172 to 129) and his OPS is head and shoulders above everyone in the league (1.428 to the next closest 1.109). But, his critics insist, Bonds isn't much of a fielder anymore, and Beltre plays a mean third base. And that's as far as the discussion gets because there's little knowledge of the good defensive stats in the mainstream media, not even Win Shares which is designed to be a simple reference number (if not simple to calculate). Lots of people are doing good work with this great statistical approach to a player's total value.
And what does Win Shares think of the MVP debate? Bonds should win in a landslide, with 49. Rolen is closest with 12 less and Beltre is 8th in the league with 18 fewer Win Shares than Bonds despite his great defense.