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Wednesday October 28, 2009 8:08 pm

The Most Valuable Player So Far

World Series TrophyIf the playoffs were to end before the first pitch of the World Series, who would be the Most Valuable Player? Who is even worth mentioning? What defines a “most valuable player”? Is it even fair to have a “Most Valuable Player So Far” (MVPSF)? These are important questions to ask, as is, if offense is any more important than pitching or vice versa. So let’s do both.

A player can be valuable to his club, there’s no doubt about that (Zack Greinke, anyone?), but he cannot be the most valuable unless he’s contributing to a winning team. Look at the results. Only one of the six eliminated playoffs teams has won more than one game, and that was the Los Angeles Angels. We all saw how they played. While one or two players from any of those teams may have had a good postseason, they didn’t perform well enough to carry the team to the Big Show. Take a look at the stats, and you’ll easily find that most of the top performers in any category belong to either the Yankees or the Phillies.

When it comes to playoff hitters, Alex Rodriguez stands out among the rest, being in the top five in hits (14), home runs (5), RBI (12), walks (9) slugging (.969) and on-base percentage (.548). The next closest in comparison might be Ryan Howard, but his 14 RBI is the only category in which he tops A-Rod. Howard has even struck out three more times than Rodriguez. Give the offensive MVPSF award goes to A-Rod.

Opposing World Series game one starters Cliff Lee’s 0.74 ERA in 24.1 innings pitched looks pretty good against CC Sabathia’s 1.19 ERA in 22.2 innings pitched, but Sabathia has three wins against Lee’s two, but we can attribute those to the success of the hitters as much as the pitchers. No other pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched has an ERA under two. Each of Lee and Sabathia have 20 strikeouts and walked three, but Lee wins the pitchers’ MVPSF award with the lower WHIP of 0.70 to 0.88. So congratulations to Cliff Lee and Alex Rodriguez. It will definitely be interesting to see how the two approach each other in the World Series!

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