Levine: Why deserving MVPs don’t win

From SABR member Zachary Levine at Baseball Prospectus on November 14, 2013:

When Mike Trout—okay, fine, if Mike Trout—gets robbed of the American League MVP award tonight for the second straight year, the explanation won’t be so easy. Last year, the excuse for excusing one of the best seasons of all time, not just by a 20-year-old but by anybody, was readymade. He was going up against the Triple Crown—an achievement that, while not all that indicative of overall value, is still so steeped in historical value that it can be blinding.

This year it’s not so simple. The voters won’t have one obvious reason for dismissing the best super-young position player in the history of the game again.

But according to research on more than six decades of MVP voting patterns conducted with the help of some Baseball Prospectus colleagues, they will have several less obvious reasons for dismissing him. Combine the biases exposed by an examination of some of the worst votes in history, and you can basically pre-construct the case against Trout.

Trout was the best player in baseball this year, and since I would pay more to have his season than anyone else’s season, I consider him the most valuable player.

However, he is everything that BBWAA voters have hated in the years when their results have been most misaligned with what the numbers say. He plays the wrong position for the wrong team, doing so with the wrong skill set and yes, it can be shown, at the wrong age.

The following is a look at all the history he’s fighting against that’s arguably more powerful than a triple crown, and some insight into the biases of MVP voters over generations of head-scratching results.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22234

Originally published: November 14, 2013. Last Updated: November 14, 2013.