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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

MVP pitchers: more on the case against Kershaw.

Pitchers are part time players.  Relievers are part time pitchers.  Pitchers, especially relievers, should not be MVP.

Case against Kershaw for MVP: 198 innings.  Monday, November 10, 2014

The modern MVP started in 1931 with a winner selected in each of the two major leagues: American and National...

The CY award was started in 1956 because pitchers were winning the MVP award too often...

Starters pitch in less than 25% of their team games. 162 games multiplied by 9 innings equals 1,458 innings. A player should appear in at least 80% to be considered full time. If a pitcher throws in 200 innings he appears in about 14% of his team's innings...

If a pitcher strikes out 200 batters he is retiring 4.5% (of his team's outs). 300 strike outs: 6.85%...

Kershaw gets a break in that the other two finalists also missed time in 2014 after being hit by pitch:
- Giancarlo Stanton: 145 games, 638 plate appearances
- Andrew McCutchen: 146 games, 648 plate appearances
- Clayton Kershaw: 27 games, 198 innings pitched.

What the heck?  You can play WAR games all you want but it doesn't make sense.  Clayton Kershaw should not be voted MVP. Personally, I like Stanton but I'm OK with McCutchen winning his second consecutive.
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Kershaw pitched in only 27 of his team's 162 games: 16.66%.  The Dodgers played 135 games without Kershaw.  So, how valuable could Kershaw have possibly been when he did nothing in 83% of the games?  NOTHING.  Here are MVP pitchers through 2013:


FirstLastyearLteamGGSInnWLSHOSVSOBBHR
LeftyGrove1931ALPHA4130289314451756210
CarlHubbell1933NLNY145333092312105156476
DizzyDean1934NLSLN5033312307771957514
CarlHubbell1936NLNY1423430426633123577
BuckyWalters1939NLCIN393631927112013710915
MortCooper1942NLSLN3735279227100152689
SpudChandler1943ALNYA303025320450134545
HalNewhouser1944ALDET4734312299621871026
HalNewhouser1945ALDET4036313259822121105
JimKonstanty1950NLPHI740152167022565011
BobbyShantz1952ALPHA3333280247501526321
DonNewcombe1956NLBRO3836268277501394633
SandyKoufax1963NLLAN40403112551103065818
DennyMcLain1968ALDET4141336316602806331
BobGibson1968NLSLN34343052291302686211
VidaBlue1971ALOAK3939312248803018819
RollieFingers1981ALML4470786302861133
WillieHernandez1984ALDET80014093032112366
RogerClemens1986ALBOS3333254244102386721
DennisEckersley1992ALOAK690807105193115
JustinVerlander2011ALDET3434251245202505724

Ignoring the four really absurd cases of relief pitchers winning MVP:
most games 50 (17 in relief) Dizzy Dean 1934
fewest games 30 (all starts) Spud Chandler 1943
most starts 41 (no relief) Denny McLain 1968
fewest starts 30 Lefty Grove 1931 (11 in relief), Spud Chandler 1943
most innings 336 Denny McLain 1968
fewest innings 251 Justin Verlander 2011
most wins 31 Denny McLain 1968 and Lefty Grove 1931
fewest wins 20 Spud Chandler 1943
most losses Carl Hubbell 12 1933
fewest 4 losses Lefty Grove 1931, Roger Clemens 1986, Spud Chandler 1943

The fewest innings by a starter (251) through 2013 is 27% more than the 198 Kershaw had in 2014.

The fewest games by a starter (30 in a 154 game schedule, 19.48%) compared to Kershaw's 27 of 162 games, 16.66%.

Kershaw would have the fewest losses and one more win than Chandler.  But the very low participation in his team's games makes Kershaw a very dubious MVP candidate.


1933 Goudey baseball card of Robert "Lefty" Grove of the Philadelphia Athletics by Goudey [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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