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Where’s the MVP love for reigning winner Joey Votto?

Aug 25, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT


Joey Votto is the reigning NL MVP and his performance this season is remarkably similar to last year’s award-winning production, yet I’ve rarely seen him touted as a leading candidate this time around.

Last year Votto hit .324 with 37 homers, 113 RBIs, 105 runs, and a league-leading 1.024 OPS. This year Votto is on pace to hit .328 with 30 homers, 105 RBIs, 108 runs, and a league-leading .992 OPS.

How can someone lead the league in OPS in back-to-back seasons, yet win the MVP one year and not even get significant consideration the next?

Obviously there’s still plenty of time for Votto to gain steam among voters, but clearly the Reds going from division winners to below .500 is a major factor. And that serves as a perfect example of why team success shouldn’t being a driving force for an individual award.

Votto is having a nearly identical all-around season, yet because his teammates have been much worse this year his odds for a repeat MVP are slim. I’ll never understand why that makes sense, but with Votto’s case gaining little traction and Jose Bautista mostly being overlooked in the AL despite leading in homers, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS it doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Because his value is irrelevant. Value, defined by added wins, becomes meaningless if those added wins are rendered irrelevant by the teams overall play. What difference does it make if the Reds finished with 7 more wins than they would have without Votto? Hence, can his performance really be valuable when it is in fact irrelevant?

    • The Common Man - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:14 PM

      Can’t tell if this is hilarious or sad, please clarify.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:26 PM

        As CF mentioned below, it is not Most Outstanding Player or best player in baseball….it is most valuable player in a given season. The benefit Votto provided to the Reds this season is irrelevant. What difference does it make if the Reds finish 12 games back or 19 games back? How can value be placed on a performance if it is irrelevant to the overall outcome of the team? I don’t see how that is hilarious or sad.

      • obpedmypants - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:40 PM

        DrM. What is sad is that you can’t even understand how ridiculous that sounds. By that extension, who cares about a player’s performance if his team doesn’t win the World Series? You either end the year as a winner, or as a loser. Winning the WS is the season’s goal, so there’s no value added if your team never reaches its only goal. Why draw the line at x number of games out of first place, or the playoffs or how deep into the playoffs?

        A player is valuable independent of whatever arbitrary line you want to draw in order for your team/player to fit into the conversation

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:43 PM

        That’s not true. It doesn’t take winning the WS to be considered relevant. It takes being alive in a division or at least wild card race. I’m sorry but not being able to play for anything tangible by mid-August should be the definition of irrelevant. I’m not saying that Votto doesn’t possess value to the Reds, I am saying that his value is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things this season. How can somebody win the Most Valuable Player award when their performance is largely irrelevant?

      • seanmk - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:52 PM

        so in 2006 you would have voted for pujols, not howard?

      • Lukehart80 - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        I’d argue that anyone playing for one of the 30 best teams in the country, exclusively against the 29 other best teams in the country is playing “relevant” baseball.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:56 PM

        3 games out of the WC is competing….13 games out is not. Don’t think one could go wrong with Howard or Albert that year.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:58 PM

        Where would the Reds be if Votto were injured all season….same place they are now, not holding relevance in a playoff discussion. If the Reds get hot and make it interesting, then maybe. However, as it currently sits his performance this season is largely meaningless.

      • obpedmypants - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:01 PM

        The Reds get nearly 8k more people per game to show up than the Royals. That’s probably an extra $4m per game in revenue. You think hundreds of millions of dollars per year isn’t of value?

      • obpedmypants - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:03 PM

        oops. terrible math. $400k per game, and tens of millions of dollars.

      • seanmk - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:03 PM

        so not to get off point completely but, for you drmonkeyarmy, clayton kershaw has NO CHANCE of winning the cy young this year because he plays on the dodgers, even though his traditional numbers are better then halladays.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:03 PM

        Nobody is talking about the monetary aspect of things. If that were the case, then why not give it to whoever sells the most jersey’s or merchandise with their likeness. We are talking about the relevance of performance on a team that is irrelevant in the playoff discussion.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        Re: Kershaw,
        It is not the Most Valuable Pitcher Award….so, right now I would give the award to Kershaw.

      • seanmk - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:06 PM

        also the “where would they be without X” things works both ways. Where would the yanekes be without granderson? probably still in the wildcard lead. Replacing a guy doesn’t help what you’re saying. Votto isn’t the problem with the reds, so taking him off them doesn’t prove ANYTHING. try something like switch the phillie’s and red’s rotation with each other and tell me what their respective records would be.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:10 PM

        Nobody is saying Votto is the problem with the Reds. I’m saying that without him this season the Reds would be worse off….but they would still be in the same boat they are in now. Removing Granderson from the Yankees would alter where they are now in terms of playoff positioning and whatnot.

      • obpedmypants - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:10 PM

        What do you think the point of winning is? This isn’t a charity. Winning more games is more valuable (monetarily) than winning less games. And if a player’s performance added wins, even if his team doesn’t hit your arbitrary threshold for wins, he’s still valuable.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:15 PM

        See somewhere in the mess above. I am not saying that he is not valuable to the Reds. I am saying that his value is meaningless as far as competing for the playoffs in this particular season. I think you are confusing my point. I am not saying that any particular player does not hold monetary value to a franchise.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:18 PM

        All right fellas…you have your points, I have mine. I understand what you are saying but I disagree and obviously you disagree with me…which is cool. Just chalk it up to differing perspectives, neither right or wrong.

      • obpedmypants - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:31 PM

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:35 PM

        That’s cute.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      Monkey: I hear what you are saying with regards to said player making his team better. Further, it being far more important to make a good team great (and secure a playoff result)…rather than a great player making a medicore team slightly better. With this in mind…what were the Giants doing when Barry was raking in MVP’s by the bushel?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        Competing for Division Titles.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 25, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    If they want to make it the Most Outstanding Player, then they should just call it that. Until then, some people are going to take the word “valuable” literally and conclude that a guy who makes a crappy team less crappy is not as valuable as a guy who makes a good team much better.

    • The Common Man - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      And some people still believe the Earth is flat and that dinosaurs are a funny joke of God’s. What’s your point? That people who are clearly wrong should still get their way?

    • obpedmypants - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      Definition of VALUABLE

      a : having monetary value
      b : worth a good price
      a : having desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities
      b : of great use or service

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:51 PM

      No, my point is that it is subjective because people vote on it. Always has been. Always will be. Until they just get a bunch of people in a room and crank out an “MVP#” that is calculated based on a bunch of stats, this kind of thing will always happen. Some will take it as the Most Outstanding Player…and some will take it as the Most Valuable. And neither will be wrong or right because, by its very nature, it is a SUBJECTIVE award.

      I’m not saying it is right…just saying it is the way it is. Now do me a favor and lose the freaking attitude, TCM. Or just stop responding to my posts if they create such animosity in you.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:01 PM

        Just forget it man….some people get angry and snarky when you don’t see things their way.

      • The Common Man - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:31 PM

        Sorry Chris, I’m not trying to pick on you. I’m just pissy today to begin with. And we seem to be at cross purposes.

        My point is that value is value. And the currency in baseball is “wins”. The player who contributes the most to that currency is the one who is the most valuable. By definition.

      • The Common Man - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:33 PM

        By the way, this is not to say that the “most valuable” is an objective determination. We can arrive at our conclusions in a lot of different ways. But team success simply shouldn’t be one of them, since the player contributes the same toward overall team wins regardless of what team he’s on.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:41 PM

        TCM…it’s no biggie. We’ve been butting heads on every post and I guess I’m as much to blame so I apologize as well for my attitude.

        Regarding this debate, I don’t even have a horse in this race. I think that neither side is right or wrong.

  3. trevorb06 - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Craig, Brian Schnieder is going to be the MVP… remember?

    • trevorb06 - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      Er Gleeman

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Votto is having the same season, but some other guys are having even better seasons. Kinda like All Star selection. People say, how can Player X not be on the team with his totally solid numbers? Often it is because someone else has even better numbers.

    BTW, who is ignoring Bautista? Everything I have seen talks about how good a chance other players (Gonzalez, Granderson, Ellsbury) might have had if Bautista hadn’t been around.

  5. joshnorman - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Votto won’t win the MVP because he doesn’t have the magical ability to make everyone he plays with suck less. And Jose might lose out because he hasn’t yet managed to move the Jays to the central division.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:38 PM

      The Jays were down by 2 to 0 yesterday and were hitless. Escobar was hit by a pitch. The next pitch was to Bautista. It was also inside and came close to him. The second pitch to Bautista almost landed in the upper deck and the game was tied. It is a mistake to get him angry.

      • cur68 - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:03 PM

        He sure gave one L. Hochevar a look after he pwned that pitch. Not the sort of guy to take a hit teammate then some chin music lightly, that Joey bats.

        One thing I’ve noticed is the fuzzy definition about the whole ‘value’ business as it pertains to baseball players in this discussion. It’s against my nature to talk smack about Votto. He’s a Canuck and, as such, above reproach unless seen shaking hands with Brian Mulrooney (UNLCEAN!) but how’s his defence? Does he hustle out every play? Is he the leader of the team? When a teammate is getting ragged on and benched for lousy play what does Votto do about it? The thing about Bautista is that its pretty clear where he is on all those metrics. If we define value as ‘lead from the front’ and ‘play like a baseball god’ then there can only be One if we have to choose between the 2 of them.

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:59 PM

      A *real* MVP would have taken Arroyo, Volquez, Leake, Bailey and Wood aside and taught them how to pitch better.

  6. stratomaticfan - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Most Valuable Player is about value….it’s not Offensive Player of the Year. While Votto’s having a great year, without him, they’d be terrible rather than mediocre. Nobody cares. Ditto for Bautista…without him, instead of a .500 team, they’d be a lousy team.

    Neither man impacts the pennant race. Neither was the difference between making the playoffs or missing, or between being a division winner and a wild card team.

    I’ve always said that they should have 2 distinct awards…but they don’t….so Pitchers will rarely get serious consideration and guys having great offensive years on bad teams will likewise rarely win.

    • pmcenroe - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:00 PM

      doesn’t this whole argument remind everyone of the role Wins play in the Cy Young award debate? I can’t wait until 4 years from now when 70% of us finally come to the agreement that an individual award shouldn’t be based on your teammates.

      Also they do have an the Offensive player of the year award, its called the Hank Aaron Award, they give it out each year during the World Series. I know Bautista won it last year for AL and I think Votto got it for NL (but could be wrong on that one)

      I hope one day the Hank Aaron Award gains enough traction that we have 3 “major” awards and the MVP can then start including pitchers again..

  7. proudlycanadian - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    I would love to have Votto playing in his home town next year.

    • cur68 - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:25 PM

      Bautista, Lawrie, Votto: the Dream Team North.

  8. Jonny 5 - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Because he doesn’t “feel” like the most valuable player, because his team is losing pretty badly. This is what you get for letting people vote instead of computers. I’m not kidding a bit. If you, a human were to remove all emotion from your brain, you wouldn’t be able to choose which route to take home after work, or what socks to put on in the morning. It’s true. Most of our everyday decisions are chosen through emotions.

    • seanmk - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      it’s a good thing ryan howard has great pitchers around him or else he’d be putting up meanlingless RBIs.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:59 PM

        What relevance does Ryan Howard play in this debate?

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:00 PM

        Case in point.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:01 PM

      J5, the only people wrong in this debate are the pretentious jag offs who think they are 100% right. One side thinks that it is the best player, regardless of how good his team is. The other side thinks it is the person who adds the most value to a winning team, since a losing team would just lose more if they didn’t have that valuable player. Both sides have very valid points, and like you, I agree that until computers vote using specific stats, this will always be a debate and the winner will always be based on subjective feelings.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:09 PM

        Yeah, I’m just answering the “why isn’t he winning in 2011 again?” question, that’s all. I really don’t care about awards too much unless they’re really tacky looking with a bunch of ugly little flags waving around on it. Or an overgrown silver goblet etched with various names, or a silver football.. Ya know, “those” awards. The MVP, GG, and all star choices don’t get my juices flowing because they are voted in by a flawed process that allows emotions to rule.

      • seanmk - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:12 PM

        actually it’s more like when people completely dismiss players like Votto and Bautista, saying “they’re not candidates”, that will get some people in a tizzy.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:36 PM

        I said it last year when there was all the debate about the Cy Young…CC or Felix…blah blah. They need to just get the sabremetric guys and the old school guys in a hotel conference room for a weekend and lock them in until they come out with new “stats” that will award the MVP, CY, and ROY. If they want to use Dewans, uzr, or whatever to give out the GGs then do that too. Then all this nonsense would be moot. The computer would give out the awards.

        The problem is that the BBWAA would never want to lose that power and I have a feeling the Sabremetric guys would not be happy with nothing to whine about either. So we’ll continue this charade every single year for eternity.

  9. mianfr - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    No more first basemen, please.

    As much as I love you, Joey Votto.

  10. stlouis1baseball - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Admittedly, I haven’t done my research and it’s been a few years so I could be way off base. If so…by all means please advise. But I don’t remember the Giants doing much of anything when Barry was raking in all those MVP awards. If this is the case…then the whole “relevance” thing as it pertains to a player making a good team great doesn’t hold water. If so…then Barry wouldn’t have near as many MVP’s.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:20 PM

      You can go to baseball reference and see individual team results by season. They were competing for Division Titles.

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:46 PM

        Thanks Monkey…will do.

  11. nicosamuelson2 - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    “How can someone lead the league in OPS in back-to-back seasons, yet win the MVP one year and not even get significant consideration the next?”

    Because he’s on pace for 8 fewer RBI’s.

    • APBA Guy - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:19 PM

      C’mon that was funny. No thumbs down, please.

  12. thefalcon123 - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    But…how does a player have no value just because his team isn’t very good? Wouldn’t his presence on any other team make them better? Isn’t that what value should be defined as?

    For some backwards ass reason, 4 out of every 5 years, voters decide that the MVP has to come from a playoff bound team. Then, the 5th year, they give it to Andre Dawson or A-Rod on a last place team. If people want to use that standard, they would have denied MVP awards to people like Pujols in 2008 or Dick Allen in 1972 (or Barry Bonds’ comically absurd 2001). In 72, Allen’s BA was 5 hits away from winning the triple crown and was the best in baseball by a comically wide margin. How is he not the MVP just because he played with a bunch of guys who weren’t?

  13. brucewaynewins - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    I don’t think he’ll win but he at least deserves to be in the talks of people who qualify.

    What’s even odder is how last year he was voted MVP of NL and NL Player of the year or some award like that yet he didn’t win the Gold Glove OR Silver Slugger for NL 1B. Albert Pujols won both of those. Now I understand different people vote for these awards but how can you be the best player in the entire NL yet not be the best 1B at offense or defense…

  14. tippett107 - Aug 25, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    “This year Votto is on pace to hit .328 with 30 homers, 105 RBIs, 108 runs, and a league-leading .992 OPS”

    …. are we forgetting about Jose Bautista’s 1.103 OPS????

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