Friday, March 25, 2011
Best active player without an MVP vote?
By David Schoenfield
Eric Karabell and Mark Simon brought up a fun topic on their Baseball Today podcast on Thursday: Who is the best active player never to receive an MVP vote? By an MVP vote, we mean not even one little 10th-place "I like this guy" vote. (For purposes of this discussion, we're only looking at position players.)
Nearly all good players at some point receive a vote or even have a season that places them in the top 10. Corey Hart had two points last year. Jeremy Affeldt received a 10th-place vote in 2009. So did Brad Hawpe. Nate McLouth had a 10th-place vote in 2008, Placido Polanco has twice received votes and Gary Matthews Jr. and A.J. Pierzynski each got a vote in 2006. You get the idea.
Eric and Mark mentioned guys like Jay Bruce, Nelson Cruz and Drew Stubbs as the best candidates to get a vote for the first time in 2011.
Thanks to the genius of Baseball-Reference.com, we spent a little time cross-checking this kind of stuff. Here are a few random nuggets:
- The active leader in WAR (wins above replacement) without a vote is Jason Kendall. And I'm thinking he's not about to get one. Kendall was a terrific player with the Pirates in the late '90s (he hit .314/.402/.456 his first five seasons), but played on a bad team and his on-base skills were underappreciated in the barrage of home runs.
- The No. 2 guy is ... Randy Winn. He did once make an All-Star team with the Devil Rays.
- The best players without a top-10 overall finish in the voting are Johnny Damon and Mike Cameron. Damon has received votes four times, but his best finish was 13th in 2005. Damon still has a small chance to reach 3,000 hits (2,571). If that happens, his Hall of Fame vote will be interesting. Cameron had a terrific season in 2001, the year the Mariners won 116 games. B-R rates him the seventh-best player in the league, but he received just four points in the voting, fewer than Doug Mientkiewicz, who scored fewer runs, drove in fewer runs and played first base.
- Omar Vizquel is a surefire Hall of Famer? He's received just three MVP points in his career, all in 1999.
You can see all the MVP voting history here at Baseball-Reference.
Follow David Schoenfield on Twitter at @dschoenfield. Follow the SweetSpot blog at @espn_sweet_spot.