Sheehan again. If you’re not a BP subscriber, I’ll summarize: he doesn’t think that Andruw should get any MVP consideration at all, apparently because defense in center field is only more important because of “highlight plays” and because of some ill-considered ranting about “merit versus moments”. Andruw hits a homer to break a tie in the midst of a pennant race? That’s a “moment” and should be thrown out, because winning games in a pennant race doesn’t matter. Andruw drives in 17 runs in 12 games as the Braves pull away from the pack? Same thing. This is why people dislike sabermetricists.
I’m on the stathead side most of the time, as my trolls will testify. Yet I’m a “soft” sabermetricist. I came to this from reading Bill James, and one thing I took away from James is that you consider all the evidence, which means while statistics are a tool you can’t ignore everything else and just give the award to the guy with the best statistics. We wouldn’t need an award then, because we all know who has the best statistics. The Braves are winning the division by 6 1/2 games, and Andruw’s won four or five games with walkoff hits. You can’t just ignore that in a pennant race because you’ve decided that the MVP is an award for the guy with the best statistics.
Baseball is not about compiling numbers. It is about winning ballgames, winning pennants, winning world championships. How can hitting a walkoff home run in extra innings against a team with whom you’re in direct competition (as Andruw did against the Natspos last week) be irrelevant to the discussion of the most valuable player? All evidence is relevant, not just what you can measure quantitatively.