Monday, October 6, 2008

NL Fantasy Baseball MVP

Shortly after the playoffs end pundits Will review their choice for the National League MVP award. For us fantasy baseball folk, our analysis is a different. For example, in roto leagues, we value players who are dominant in specific categories. We favor the Corey Hart's of the league over the .250 30 homerun hitter. In real life, Carlos Delgado is likely to receive strong consideration from the beat writers for his ability to bring the Mets back from dead in the middle of the summer. And, indeed, Delgado was a valuable player in fantasy baseball as well, but he should not be fawned over as much since he is only a two-category player.

How do we go about choosing the most valuable fantasy player? There are many methodologies to consider. They include: VORP - Value over Replacement Player, position scarcity analysis, all around best statistics in the five hitting categories, or best value compared to draft position. Reasonable people may disagree on the choice, and that is part of the fun. For our purposes, we are not conducting a scientific analysis. Rather, we are going with the unscientific analysis of asking ourselves, "who would you have drafted first overall if you had the benefit of hindsight?" We do not consider value compared to draft position because we will consider players under that analysis in a separate article (Ryan Ludwick, Matt Kemp, Jorge Cantu, etc.). Here are the contenders:

Albert Pujols (.357-37-116-7-100)
Ryan Howard (.251-48-146-1-105)
Hanley Ramirez (.301-33-67-35-125)
Matt Holliday (.321-25-88-28-107)
David Wright (.302-33-124-15-114)
Lance Berkman (.312-29-106-18-114)

We believe these players were a cut above the rest in the National League this year. As a comparison, 30 players in the NL hit 25 or more homers, 14 had 100 rbi's or more, 11 had 25 steals or more, and 14 had a .300 batting average or higher.

And the winner is . . .

Albert Pujols. His .351 batting average is so far ahead of the average player that it really sets him apart. But his 37 homers and 116 rbi's are nothing to scoff at either. Pujols finished second in the NL in average, 4th in hr, 4th in rbi's, and 14th in runs. Although he only stole seven bases, his other stats are so dominant that he is most deserving of the NL fantasy baseball MVP award. It should also be noted that his preseason draft position fell due to fears that he would have surgery on his elbow. Compare him to his competitors.

Our runner up is Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez gets extra points for being an offensive force at shortstop, a position known for its scarcity of talent. His stolen bases and runs are clearly superior to most of the other players on the list, and his batting average and homers, especially when compared to other shortstops, are particularlyu impressive. In fact, his value over other NL shorstops is so great that it was hard not to choose him as MVP. But in the final analysis, Pujols' 50 extra points in batting average and 49 extra rbi's were the decider.

The other contenders have a similar story. Pujols dwarfs Matt Holiday's and Lance Berkman's stats in average, homers and rbi's. As a third basemen, David Wright is a strong contender and his stats are roughly similar to Pujols'. But Pujols had a batting average that was 55 points higher than Wright! That's like choosing someone who hit .245 over someone who hit .300. Conversely, Pujols' homers and rbi's pale in comparison to Ryan Howard's production. With a solid end of the season, Howard proved he was an offensive juggernaut, smashing 48 homers and driving in 146 runs. In fact, Howard's homers and especially his rbi's, are every bit as dominant as Pujols' batting average. But Howard loses out because he provides a net loss in two categories: batting average and steals. Howard's .251 average actually hurts most teams' batting average, and his one stolen base cannot compare to the others on this list.

Have a different opinion? Have a different choice in a H2H league? Feel free to share your opinion in the comment section.

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