The Instigator
patsox834
Pro (for)
Winning
72 Points
The Contender
iamadragon
Con (against)
Losing
60 Points

American League MVP: Joe Mauer?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/27/2008 Category: Sports
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,444 times Debate No: 5825
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (20)

 

patsox834

Pro

First off, I'd like to say that this is my first debate here, so yeah... I'm a baseball nut (I post regularly on a baseball board), so I figure I'll start off with a little baseball.

I don't know if there's any debate etiquette or whatever, so I'm just gonna do it my way.

When you hear about the AL MVP, you'll hear names like Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Justin Morneau, and Josh Hamilton. Well, I believe that Joe Mauer is more valuable than any of them.

I'll now explain the statistics I'll be using; they're not very well known, and I feel they're quite sophisticated.

The first statistic measure the value of total offense (hitting and baserunning) -- I had a hand it formulating it. It's called "EqAp." EqA as defined by Baseball Prospectus:

"Equivalent Average. A measure of total offensive value per out, with corrections for league offensive level, home park, and team pitching. EQA considers batting as well as baserunning, but not the value of a position player's defense. The EqA adjusted for all-time also has a correction for league difficulty. The scale is deliberately set to approximate that of batting average. League average EqA is always equal to .260. EqA is derived from Raw EqA, which is (H + TB + 1.5*(BB + HBP + SB) + SH + SF) divided by (AB + BB + HBP + SH + SF + CS + SB). REqA is then normalized to account for league difficulty and scale to create EqA."

www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?mode=viewstat&stat=61

EqAp is normalized EqA (I'm the dude who thought of making this adjustment.) What I do is take a player's EqA, divide it by the EqA for his position, and multiply by 100. I adjust for position because positional value isn't taken into account in any statistics available to me. Obviously, this needs to be taken into account -- if a catcher hits .300/.400/.500, it's more valuable than a first basemen who puts up the same line, because those numbers are much rarer from a catcher (that's it in a nutshell, anyway; I could explain it further -- but I assume you'll all get it.)

For defense, I'll use a combination of statistics from www.thehardballtimes.com. For Mauer, I'll be using CS%; for the other players, I'll be using RZR and OOZ.

RZR is revised zone rating. Here's an explanation:

"Revised Zone Rating is the proportion of balls hit into a fielder's zone that he successfully converted into an out. Zone Rating was invented by John Dewan when he was CEO of Stats Inc. John is now the owner of Baseball Info Solutions, where he has revised the original Zone Rating calculation so that it now lists balls handled out of the zone (OOZ) separately (and doesn't include them in the ZR calculation) and doesn't give players extra credit for double plays (Stats had already made that change). We believe both changes improve Zone Ratings substantially. To get a full picture of a player's range, you should evaluate both his Revised Zone Rating and his plays made out of zone (OOZ). You can read more about the Revised Zone Ratings in this article."

www.hardballtimes.com/main/statpages/glossary/#rzr

OOZ: "Out Of Zone, or the total number of outs made by a fielder on balls hit outside of his zone."

www.hardballtimes.com/main/statpages/glossary/#ooz

Lastly, I'll be using PA%, which is defined as:

"Percentage of total team plate appearances accumulated by one player. PA% = (Player's PA) / (Team's PA)"

I use this because playing time is an important factor in value contributed; the more you play, the more chances you get to make a contribution.

Alright, that's that. Now I'll give you my rationale:

Joe Mauer flew under the radar this year as a hitter -- he had an EqAp of 125, which was the second highest in the AL (behind only Milton Bradley.) That shows that Mauer was the second most effective offensive player in the AL -- the difference between he and Bradley is that Mauer played a lot more (his PA% was 10.0%; Bradley's was 7.9%), and Mauer was a good defensive catcher (Mauer's CS% is 26.1%, good for second in the AL, and seventh in baseball), whereas Bradley was a DH; therefore, Bradley didn't contribute much defensively (if at all.) Mauer's big advantages in playing time and defense are enough to put him over Bradley easily.

Another candidate people are all over is Justin Morneau. Morneau had an EqAp of 109; Mauer's is 125. Not even close.

Morneau does have a better PA% (11.2% for Morneau; 10.0% for Mauer) -- but Mauer has a significant value in offensive effectiveness, and Mauer has a clear defensive edge. Mauer is a good defensive catcher, whereas Morneau is a below average fielding first basemen (Morneau has a .699 RZR, which is towards the bottom of the list for first basemen, and his OOZ is 22, which is nothing special.)

It seems clear to me that Mauer was more valuable than Justin Morneau.

Next up is one of my favorite players: Dustin Pedroia.

Pedroia's EqAp is 113; Mauer's (as already shown) is 125. A significant advantage for Mauer.

Pedroia's PA% is 11.3%; Mauer's is 10.0%. Advantage Pedroia in this category.

As far as defense goes, Pedroia was a good second basemen. His RZR is .826, which is good for sixth in baseball at his position; his OOZ is 37, which is eighth. Mauer's defense gets the slight edge, because a good defensive catcher > a good defensive second basemen.

Well, that'll about wrap it up for now... I believe that I've shown Mauer to be more valuable than his peers -- let's see some rebuttals.

Lastly, I'm talking about who SHOULD win the MVP; not who WILL win it. Those are obviously two entirely different things.
iamadragon

Con

What about Kevin Youkilis?
Debate Round No. 1
patsox834

Pro

Thanks for accepting, man.

Well, Youk is a favorite of mine (I'm a Red Sox fan, if you couldn't tell) -- but I don't believe he was more valuable than Mauer.

Mauer's EqAp is 125; Youk's is 111. Mauer was clearly the more effective offensive player.

How about playing time? Well, Mauer's PA% is 10.0%; Youk's is 9.7%. Mauer was more effective in more playing time -- it's safe to say that Mauer holds a clear advantage so far.

Lastly, their defense. Youk's RZR is .712; his OOZ is 28. His RZR is 14th among MLB first basemen; his OOZ is 18th. Youkilis wasn't anything special defensively, whereas Mauer was a good defensive catcher, as I showed in my previous post (I'm trying to cut down on the redundancy now...)

Well, that's about it. It looks like Mauer beats Youk pretty easily.
iamadragon

Con

EqAp seems to be slightly flawed in its positional adjustments–how does one account for players who play multiple positions?

Anyway, that's not too important. The bigger issue here whether or not one should adjust for position the way you have.

Clearly, a player at catcher is better than an equal offensive player at first base or DH. However, I don't think one should adjust that by comparing to other players at that position. I understand that a player's season can be considered better if he's outplaying others–but, in my opinion, only if he's actually playing against those players. Joe Mauer doesn't really have any impact on other catchers. Mauer's value to the Twins should not change if Jorge Posada gets injured and Jose Molina plays over him. It shouldn't change if Jason Varitek starts to age.

This isn't even a "replacement level" situation where the average team can pick up a player to replace Mauer if something happened to him. If Mauer is hurt, then the Twins can still only find some replacement catcher, and the ability of the other catchers in the league is irrelevant.

Kevin Youkilis probably outperformed Joe Mauer by pure offensive standards. Adjust for position and it probably becomes a bit closer. While I like RZR and OOZ for position players, it his hard to evaluate catcher defense. I'm sure you realize that CS% is heavily influenced by a pitching staff–considering how the Twins have always been an organization to emphasize fundamentals, it would not surprise me if their pitchers are all quite quick when delivering the ball to home plate. Therefore, Joe Mauer's CS% would be aided by his pitchers.

I think both are very close. However, I would probably give the edge to Youkilis for the above reasons.
Debate Round No. 2
patsox834

Pro

<"EqAp seems to be slightly flawed in its positional adjustments–how does one account for players who play multiple positions?">

A couple of things:

1: Utility guys are adjusted for their most played position;

2: there's a margin for error in every single statistic -- EqAp is no exception to this. There's no such thing as a flawless stat. EqAp, however, does a very reasonably good job. If someone tries to discredit a stat because it has a slight flaw, then I'd say they're being unreasonable -- I'd also say that they're being unreasonable if they were to attempt to discredit an argument on the premise that a stat has a slight flaw; therefore, the argument is slightly flawed. As stated earlier, every stat has it's flaws; however, stats are still the most useful tools in evaluating a player's value.

<"I understand that a player's season can be considered better if he's outplaying others–but, in my opinion, only if he's actually playing against those players. Joe Mauer doesn't really have any impact on other catchers. Mauer's value to the Twins should not change if Jorge Posada gets injured and Jose Molina plays over him. It shouldn't change if Jason Varitek starts to age.">

But such an event would make Mauer's production rarer, and thus, it would carry more value. If every quality catcher in the league got hurt, and Mauer was the only one left, his statistics would be well above the mean; therefore, Mauer would be more valuable.

<"Kevin Youkilis probably outperformed Joe Mauer by pure offensive standards. Adjust for position and it probably becomes a bit closer">

Alright, I'll do some simplifying :

Youkilis' OPS+* is 143; Mauer's is 137. When positional value is taken into account, it's pretty clear to me that Mauer's offensive value is superior. After all, offense like Mauer's from the catcher position is very rare -- and a 143 OPS+ from first base isn't very remarkable. Then take into account that Mauer's PA% is slightly higher, and his defense carries more value, and I still see Mauer coming out on top.

* = OPS+ is the lgOPS divided by a player's OPS, and multiplied by 100.
iamadragon

Con

I'm not saying there's no such thing as a flawless stat. However, I'm saying your argument may lose some merit because a large part of it is built upon Mauer's production relative to his position, something you may not be measuring accurately.

I simply disagree that rarer production means more value. Production is still production.

In summary: No.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by patsox834 8 years ago
patsox834
I'm just not sure how he's winning when he essentially admitted that my argument was superior...
Posted by DrumBum1234 8 years ago
DrumBum1234
I met Josh Hamilton once. He came to my church to speak about his past and to this day i regret not getting his autograph because that homerun derby was incredible.
Posted by iamadragon 8 years ago
iamadragon
Hahaha, it's fine. You're completely right. That's pretty much what actually happened.
Posted by SolaGratia 8 years ago
SolaGratia
If you hear a whistling sound, it's my credibility soaring out the window ;) JK.
Posted by patsox834 8 years ago
patsox834
Me > you.

LOL, crowned!
Posted by iamadragon 8 years ago
iamadragon
DISCLAIMER:

I made this account so I could argue with patsox. I know him. He didn't realize it was me. This debate was a joke.
Posted by SolaGratia 8 years ago
SolaGratia
Sola Gratia voting as a cleaner.

Before the debate, I agreed with PRO, because Joe Mauer is one of the few big-league ball players I've heard of thanks to a rabid-Twins-fan friend.

Con failed to convince me.

I liked that Pro thoughtfully went through Con's argument (was there more than one?) and deconstructed it. He was polite and interesting.

Spelling and Grammar: Pro, because he correctly spelled all those big, weird baseball terms.

Arguments: Pro by a long shot. Looking at the stats, it's clear Mauer is equal or better to all the other players listed.

Sources: None given, but Pro seemed more knowledgeable.

Frankly, I can see that Pro put alot of effort in while Con did not; that would decide the vote in Pro's favor even if I didn't agree with him.
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