James: Improving the MVP system

From SABR member Bill James at Bill James Online on November 18, 2019:

How well does the MVP voting system actually work? Is it likely that the most deserving MVP candidate wins the award 90% of the time, or 70%, or what?

I developed a set of mathematical models to study that issue. I wrote formulas which create “known values” for each of 100 players, representing a league, and wrote formulas to adjust for how each of those 100 players is seen by each voter. In other words, each voter could “think” that each player was better than he actually was or not as good as he actually was, to a limited but realistic extent. I then studied how that model selects the MVP, starting with 3 voters casting just one ballot each, and working up to a system of 45 voters each casting a 10-person ballot, each time testing the model through hundreds of seasons.

The models suggest that, while the correct MVP is probably selected about 87% of the time with the current system, this could be increased to 90% or more by expanding the panel from 30 voters to 45. The current system is not “broken”; the current system works quite well. However, while it works well, it could work better.

Read the full article here: https://www.billjamesonline.com/improving_the_mvp_system/

Originally published: November 18, 2019. Last Updated: November 18, 2019.