Chat with Jayson Stark
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jayson Stark will drop in to chat some baseball.
Jayson Stark has been a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com since 2000. His regular contributions include the newsy Rumblings and Grumblings column and his tilted look inside baseball's numbers and quirks, the Useless Information Department.
Send your questions now and join Stark Tuesday at noon ET!
Jayson Stark (12:01 PM)
Greetings! I've only got a half-hour to chat today, so let's get started. My awards column should be posted shortly, but I'll be giving you a preview here so we can debate the picks. First revelation is my two MVPs. NL - Buster Posey. AL - (drum roll, please) Mike Trout. Discuss!
Mark (Los Angeles)
Regarding W.A.R. Why is Verlander (17 wins) listed at #3 in the AL, yet Price & Weaver (20 wins each) aren't in the top 10? Seems like a very flawed and subjective way of gauging value.
Jayson Stark (12:03 PM)
It's not perfect, but it's far from subjective. I swapped several emails with Sean Forman of baseball-reference.com this week. And the formula for WAR is exhaustive. It really is a serious attempt to measure everything that goes on in every game. So I don't see it as a magic formula. But it's extremely revealing. And anyone who doesn't see that is way too close-minded about modern metrics.
Jason (Nashville, TN)
If your Cy Young ballot had 10 instead of 5 spots, would Medlen have made it? I realize he only pitched 130 innings, but his dominance over that period rivals Kimbrel.
Jayson Stark (12:04 PM)
Absolutely. When I wrote my Cy Young column last week, I mentioned how intriguing a candidate he is. If I'm going to consider Kimbrel based on limited innings, how could I not consider Medlen, too. But no way he could fit in the top five.
How in the world can you leave Dusty Baker off your NL Manager of the Year ballot? He's done 10x the job Matheny has. The Reds are only tied for best record in baseball after all.
Jayson Stark (12:05 PM)
I only had three manager-of-the-year spots. It wasn't easy! But I thought Matheny had more challenges in the big picture. Lost Carpenter and Berkman early on for virtually the entire season. Had a long, long, long list of major injuries to overcome. And he was following a legend who seemed un-followable (is that a word?)and still found a way to get that team to the postseason. You're underestimating the job he did.
Do you think Kimbrel actually wins it though?
Jayson Stark (12:06 PM)
I don't. Way too many voters have written and said that they wouldn't consider a reliever unless they felt no starter was deserving. Just one more reason the BBWAA should have adapted my proposal to create a separate award for relief pitchers.
The Billy Beane Faction (Oakland, CA)
Jayson, Bob Melvin took over a team that traded Cahill, Gonzalez, and Bailey. The team was predicted to win 60 games. He has dealt with massive injuries/suspensions in the rotation and now has 5 rookies starting. Plus his two best offensive players have 3 yrs total experience. How can he not be MOY? Don't forget the payroll (lower than Balt).
Jayson Stark (12:07 PM)
As I wrote, it was almost impossible to separate Melvin from Showalter. There's no wrong answer there. I gave Showalter a slight edge, but if you argue for Melvin, I agree with all of it!
so a guy who is on a non playoff team( when more teams make the playoffs than ever) and also has a teammate who just signed a $250 mil deal is the MVP???
Jayson Stark (12:09 PM)
Look, there's no wrong answer in that AL MVP debate, either. Anyone who votes for Cabrera has every reason to cast that vote. But if I'm going to play by your logic, doesn't Cabrera have a $200-million teammate, too? And didn't the Angels have a better record than the Tigers?
Baker lost Madsen early, had to adjust Chapman to the closer role on the fly, lost Rolen, Cozart, and Stubbs for extended periods, and lost the best player in baseball for nearly 2 full months, and still guided the team to a blowout win in the NL Central over the Matheny led Cards.
Jayson Stark (12:10 PM)
I know that! If I had a fourth slot on the ballot, he'd have been there. Just because I put one guy on the ballot doesn't mean I'm denigrating the guy who didn't make the top three. I admire the job Dusty did. Believe me.
carpman (north alabama)
I guess it's probably a little soon to propose to the BBWAA to (a) create a relievers' award; and (b) name it the Mariano Rivera Award. (I'm a Yankee hater, but greatness is greatness).
Jayson Stark (12:12 PM)
When I propsed that relief-pitcher award, Mariano was the centerpiece of my argument. He's never won any of our awards, and never even come close. And he's one of the biggest difference-making players of the last two decades. I told the association it could name the award whatever it wanted. But they told me we didn't need another award, because relievers were eligible for the Cy Young - so if I thought a reliever deserved to win, I should vote for him. Now I'm trying to do that, and they're telling me relievers don't pitch enough innings to merit serious consideration. I wish they'd get their stories straight!
I agree Trout is the MVP, especially considering he missed the first month. If Miguel had his exact #s and Hamilton had 50 HRs(meaning no triple crown) the debate wouldn't it be as fierce. Doesn't seem most fans want to factor in Trouts defense or SBs
Jayson Stark (12:14 PM)
Holy cow. Somebody actually agrees with me! If someone values the triple crown and making the playoffs over the kind of history Trout has made, in a five-month season, for a team that would have won the Central, I understand the logic. I just disagree with it.
mark kahn (Milwaukee)
Reasons for Posey over Braun?
Jayson Stark (12:15 PM)
I explained it in the awards column. And if you check my archive, I defended Braun's candidacy emphatically in my NL MVP column two weeks ago. But Posey has had a historic second half for an offensively challenged team, while bearing the responsibility of catching a great staff. That gives him a slight edge for me.
Matt (New Jersey)
Why is Jeter not getting any MVP consideration? He has carried the Yankee's during two stretches during all the injuries to A-Rod, Teixeira and the others. Is it because he is a Yankee that he gets no consideration?
Jayson Stark (12:17 PM)
He IS getting consideration - as a top-five kind of pick. But he hasn't had a greater season than Trout or Cabrera, or even Adrian Beltre. Once you get past those three, he deserves to be right behind them. Or close.
joe ortiz (massachusetts)
How can you not call RA Dickey's season "historic"? What about his 50 straight innings with an earned run? of the 5 straight starts with 0 runs and *+ stirkeouts? or the back to back one hitters? not to mention the first knuckleballer with 20 wins in 3 decades??
Jayson Stark (12:19 PM)
It's been awesome. But it hasn't been "historic" in the way that Kimbrel has. One guy's achieved an unprecedented level of season-long domination. The other guy has had a remarkable year, a tremendous year. And he's achieved those feats you laid out. I just would take Kimbrel's season ahead of his. That's all.
Logan (Saskatchewan, Canada)
What will it take for the average or casual fan to get on board with the modern metrics and stop hating on WAR? Time? A better understanding of the stat? Its almost sad how fans cling to RBI because "daggum it, thats the way its always been".
Jayson Stark (12:21 PM)
Look, WAR is complicated. I get that. Anyone can add up RBIs and understand exactly what they are and where they come from. Very few people understand how WAR is computed. So I get why some people don't want to accept it. But to dump on it and act like it's bogus is absurd. It may be one of the most complicated stats ever, but it's also one of the most revealing.
Larry (New York)
Why is everyone saying the Cabrera is a bad defensive player? it's not true and if you watch him play instead of using bogus metric numbers, you would understand that. He's not great, but far from bad. He should also get credit for switching positions without causing trouble.
Jayson Stark (12:22 PM)
He's been way better than advertised, but he's not a superior defender at that position. And nobody should expect him to be. But we're allowed to factor in defense. And if Mike Trout isn't the best defensive player in baseball at his position, he's certainly in that argument.
Mike (San Diego)
I agree with Posey winning, but if you were making an argument for Molina, I would point to the fact that he has logged 140 more innings behind the plate. It's a lot easier to find an adequate 1B than an adequate catcher and the equivalent of around 10% of a season's difference is a big deal to me.
Jayson Stark (12:24 PM)
The argument for Molina is very compelling. Kicked it around for a long time myself. If Posey were having just a really good year offensively, I'd side with Molina. But his season has been more than that. Much more. Again, as I pointed out in the column, the only comparable second half numbers in the last 50 years were Brett, Bonds and Walker.
Terry J (Portland, ME)
Hi Mr. Stark. Do you think Dickey will lose the CY voting because some people won't vote for a knuckleball pitcher? His numbers would be phenomenal for a traditional pitcher... to do it the way he's done it... I think is even greater. I'd hate to see him lose because of people thinking he's not worthy of it because of what he throws.
Jayson Stark (12:26 PM)
I can't tell you how other people think. To me, the Cy Young is about performance, period. I don't care if a guy throws 50 miles an hour or 150. I vote purely based on performance. I compare the candidates in literally 30 different categories. I can't tell you how other people vote. But to me, his knuckleballer style isn't a big deal. If anything, it should add to his appeal as a candidate.
Curt (Columbus )
If WAR is such an important stat, then why wouldn't Braun be your choice since he leads the NL?
Jayson Stark (12:28 PM)
I said earlier that I don't use WAR as some kind of magic formula. It's a revealing stat, but it isn't perfect. And in the NL, it's so close, I feel like I needed to use a wide range of criteria. But in the AL, Trout's margin in WAR over the runner-up is one of the widest in history. So that's telling us something very different than what the NL WAR leader board tells us.
Eric (San Diego)
Any idea what time WC games would be Friday? I need to know if I'm calling in sick to watch the Braves win!
Jayson Stark (12:29 PM)
Too soon to say. They're talking about one game in the mid-to-late afternoon and another at night. The AL game is most likely a night game, but it depends on matchups, where the games will be played, whether there's a tiebreaker game Thursday, etc.
Jayson Stark (12:30 PM)
Sorry about this, but I only have time for one more.
Why isn't a triple crown worthy of an MVP to any ESPN analyst? You guys throw out SABR numbers and all that for Trout and only the big 3 for Cabrera. He is 2nd in HITS, 2nd in RUNS, 1st in OPS, 1st in slugging, 1st in EXTRA BASE HITS, and he also has 40 less strikeouts than Trout. But then again he doesn't run as fast as Trout so Trout is obviously the better player!
Jayson Stark (12:31 PM)
Look, there's no ESPN conspiracy against Miguel Cabrera. I didn't confer with anyone else who works for ESPN in making my picks. I've also written and said that if I had to pick any hitter in baseball to send to the plate with a huge game on the line, I'd pick Cabrera. So this is no insult to him. But who's been the best, and most valuable BASEBALL PLAYER this year? I think that answer is still Trout. Sorry.
Jayson Stark (12:32 PM)
We could kick this stuff around all day, but unfortunately, I have to run. Busy time of year. See you down the road in Chat Land!