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Forget MVP for a second: did you see Heyman’s ROY pick?

Aug 29, 2011, 6:17 PM EDT

Jordan Walden AP

Craig took issue with Jon Heyman’s MVP ballot earlier this afternoon. I’m not really looking to pile on here, but I was just as disturbed by Heyman’s choice for AL Rookie of the Year:

1. Jordan Walden, Angels RP. This 100-mph thrower has 26 saves for pennant contender.

Walden already got a nod to the AL All-Star team because of that big fastball. Can we just leave it at that?

Walden’s 26 saves rank tied for 17th in the majors. His nine blown saves, on the other hand, rank first in the majors. Carlos Marmol and Matt Capps are next with eight.

Now, Walden has pitched better than that. A couple of those blown saves have been pretty cheap, and the Angels have won four of the nine games in which he’s been charged with blown saves.

Still, the only reason anyone would notice Walden as a ROY candidate is because he’s a closer, and the fact it that he hasn’t been all that good at closing. Among rookie relievers alone, Chris Sale, Aaron Crow, Vinnie Pestano and Greg Holland have been about as valuable as Walden.

The way I see it the AL Rookie of the Year candidates are Jeremy Hellickson (11-9, 3.01 ERA), Michael Pineda (9-8, 3.71 ERA), Ivan Nova (14-4, 3.96 ERA) and Mark Trumbo (.256/.294/.475). Arguing for anyone else just doesn’t make much sense, and Heyman is way, way overvaluing the closer’s role if he’s honestly putting Walden first and then not rounding out his ballot with Sale and Crow or Pestano.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Dammit Heyman…I am doing my best do defend your reasoning in the other thread and you pull this out.

    • cur68 - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:59 PM

      And that, drmonkeyarmy, is Heyman in a nutshell (where he belongs). Largely indefensible.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 29, 2011 at 7:10 PM

        I don’t know…I agree with his general premise in the MVP discussion. However, this is largely ridiculous.

      • cur68 - Aug 29, 2011 at 7:56 PM

        Well, I’m biased, as you probably can guess when it comes to JB for MVP, so i stayed out of your particular discussion on that one. There’s no WAY I posses even a shred of credibility when it comes to rooting for MVP and I’m torn as to the relative merits of your argument. You could convince me, is what I’m saying except we speak of the best player on my mediocre team here. I want every argument to go his way and the facts be damned.

        As for Heyman; well come on. What could anyone expect? Squirrels chase that guy down the street. Clowns bow to him out of professional respect. Decks of cards are produced with this joker in it. Few of his arguments are defensible is what i’m saying. Even a blind chicken finds corn every once awhile (so my Grammy attests, since she had a blind hen) and so it was with Heyman this AM: he produced an argument for MVP which, quite by accident, fell upon your sympathetic ears because you largely have the same opinion yourself. You needn’t fear that’ll happen too many more times in your lifetime I bet.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Aug 30, 2011 at 8:09 AM

      I like Heyman because he writes better than most sporties but he spends too much time at Yankee camp – proof – his preseason pick for MVP was Alex Rodrtiguez,

    • bigleagues - Aug 30, 2011 at 11:49 AM

      Heyman has quickly become a relic.

      Beyond his questionable methods at picking awards, he is a clearinghouse for trade rumors – 90% of which seem to have no substance.

      Hellickson is close to being a no-brainer. But don’t be surprised if Nova pitches some big games in September and snatches it away.

  2. Manni Stats - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    Despite a significant lack of playing time compared to those you mentioned, Ackley and Jennings are already at 2+ fWAR and no one else is running away with it regardless. They surely deserve mention over Trumbo and Nova, at least.

  3. natstowngreg - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Let’s see, Walden makes it because he throws 100. By that measure, shouldn’t Aroldis Chapman or Henry Rodriguez be NL ROY?

    Pineda is second because he strikes out a lot of guys. Great, if games were decided by which team has the most Ks.

    I’d go Hellickson, Pineda, Nova, Walden, then one of those other relievers. Hellickson 1st because, in my obviously obsolete and incorrect understanding, the point of a starting pitcher is to allow the opposition as few runs as possible.

    BTW, don’t have much quibble with his NL top 3.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:33 PM

      Out of curiosity, what is your NL top 3 then?

      • paperlions - Aug 29, 2011 at 9:10 PM

        It is a weak class for sure: I’d say one of Freeman, Espinosa, or Collmenter….probably Freeman because defense is under-rated and pitchers rarely get serious consideration for ROY unless they are phenoms

      • Kevin S. - Aug 30, 2011 at 7:50 AM

        I actually think it’s Craig Kimbrel, and no, that’s not save bias working there. Dude has been an absolute monster.

      • paperlions - Aug 30, 2011 at 8:11 AM

        Completely forgot about Kimbrel.

      • FC - Aug 30, 2011 at 9:12 AM

        Hey, it’s not Kimbrel’s fault he rarely gets called for an inning other than the 9th in save situations… all the man can do is pitch. Besides he has scores of other stats to support his bid for ROY: ERA, IP, K/9, BB/9, WAR, FIP, Magic Missile, SAT, +10 Fireball, 18 Charisma, Level 4 2000/1900 ATK/DEF, 9/9 Power/Toughness and every time you spend 1 red mana with him in play all other Braves on the field get +1/+1. I mean I could go…

  4. hittfamily - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    It is Jeremy Hellickson, hands down. In his 9 losses, the Rays have scored 9 runs. With a better offense, he has 15 or 16 wins. His last start, he went 7 innings, struck out 4 guys in an inning, gave up 2 earned runs, and got the loss. His season is better than his teammate David Price’s, and rivals James Shields season. Mark Trumbo is having a nice season, but it is nothing special. A first baseman who has a OPS just shy of .800 are a dime a dozen. Theres 15 other first baseman with his numbers, making him exactly average. Hellickson on the other hand is a premiere starting pitcher, rookie or not, and his numbers show it.

    An argument can be made for Desmond Jennings. I read earlier today that he has 70 at bats to hit 2 home runs, and he will become only the third player in history to have double digits home runs and steals in fewer than 200 at bats. His OPS is over 1, he has as many walks in 130 at bats as Carl Crawford in over 400. He has 8 homeruns, and is hitting .350. If those numbers hold up, he deserves some votes, 2/5 of a season or not.

    • hittfamily - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:37 PM

      “I read earlier today that he has 70 at bats to hit 2 home runs, and he will become only the third player in history to have double digits home runs and steals in fewer than 200 at bats.”

      Oops. That is not a true statement. I meant third rookie in history

      Edit function.

    • Manni Stats - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:44 PM

      While I’m a Hellickson homer, I think Hellickson’s been more lucky than Pineda or Ogando, both of whom have better peripherals than Hellickson. Hellickson’s been the benefactor of an abnormally high LOB% (80% when league average is around 72%), and his K/9 is not that impressive. Surely the fact that the Trop is a depressed run scoring environment and that Rays are just balls defensively factors in as well.

      While Hellickson owns the best ERA of this threesome, his FIP/xFIP is significantly worse, above 4 for each (4.5 xFIP). Meanwhile, Oganda and Pineda have FIPs well below four and more in line with their ERA. Under this same logic, there’s no way Hellickson’s had a better year than Price, or even comes close to rivaling Shields. Both have around 50+ more innings than Hellickson, and absolutely dominant peripherals. Just because Price’s ERA is a few points higher (.39) does not mean that Hellickson has been the better pitcher.

      I’m not saying that FIP should be the be-all/end-all of the discussion, but I think you need to dig much, much deeper than just looking at ERA and saying Hellboy is ROY and better than David Price in 2011.

      • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:49 PM

        Ogando spent too much of last year in the Texas bullpen. He doesn’t qualify for ROY.

      • Manni Stats - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:50 PM

        Great catch – the Fangraphs rookie filter includes him, thus my confusion. Strike him from my post.

      • hittfamily - Aug 29, 2011 at 7:11 PM

        James Shields BABIP last year says his ERA should not have been almost 5, but it was. Using advanced sabremetics to determine who the better player is going forward, and who will have the better career is fine, but as far as awards go, you have to vote on this years stats. Hellickson has been a better pitcher than anyone else, whether by luck or not.

        David Price has more innings because he has 5 more starts than Hellickson. They are limiting his innings by skipping several starts, and not allowed him to go as deep as Price in games. He has been more consistent than Price.

        What are your thoughts on Jennings’ chances, not of winning, but receiving some votes. Is 275 enough at bats to garner some votes?

      • Manni Stats - Aug 29, 2011 at 7:25 PM

        I think he should find a couple votes going his way, sure. I do realize there is value in playing a full season, but Jennings has been super productive in a very short time (same goes for Ackley). Both would have to play just as well in September as they have so far, and even them it would be a stretch to see them garner anything than a few “acknowledgement” votes.

      • buddaley - Aug 29, 2011 at 11:00 PM

        HIttfamily, I don’t think your argument is correct. Pointing out that Hellickson has been lucky and that his peripherals are not as good as PIneda’s does not just indicate that Pineda will likely be the better pitcher in the future. It indicates that Pineda has actually pitched better this year even if the superficial stats suggest otherwise.

        It is similar to the argument over last year’s Cy Young. What seemed to sway many voters was the argument that despite his mediocre record, Felix had actually pitched better than other competitors for the award. In the Hellickson case, he has pitched well, but aside from W-L record and ERA, every other signifier indicates Pineda has been better.

        K rate: 9.18-6.15
        BB rate: 2.94-3.13
        HR/9: .94-.96
        BABIP: .256-.236
        LOB%: 69.5-80.7
        GB%: 35.1-31.5
        FIP: 3.41-4.16
        xFIP: 3.50-4.52
        WAR: 2.9-1.6
        IP: 153-149.1

        Source: Fangraphs

        In BB-Ref the differences are not as stark in some cases. In fact, when neutralized, Hellickson looks better as does his WAR. But the point remains that in determining who deserves the award, it does make sense to look at the whole picture, not just at records and ERA.

        Doing that, we see some small differences, some big, but almost all favor Pineda. So who has pitched better?

  5. mjay424 - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Matthew, if you’re going to debate the merits of Walden don’t you have to do the same of Nova (ERA near 4 and a bunch of wins only because he plays for a very good team)?

    Love Pineda and his potential but Hellickson seems to be awfully attractive as a ROY candidate.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:47 PM

      Yeah, I’d definitely take Hellickson and Pineda over Nova at this point. I’d have to dig deeper to decide whether I’d go Hellickson-Trumbo-Pineda or Hellickson-Pineda-Trumbo.

      As awesome as Jennings has been, I think he really needs to be just as outstanding in September to factor in. It’s not his fault that he wasn’t up until late July, but I’d rather give it to a player who was in the majors for the vast majority of the year.

      • hittfamily - Aug 29, 2011 at 7:39 PM

        I agree Matthew. Jennings is quickly becoming my favorite player in the game, but he would have to put on a show to overtake Hellickson or Pineda. However, his numbers are insane for a guy who could play center field. He has 130 AB 8 HR, 14 SB, 19 XBH, .440 OBP, an OPS of almost 1.1, and his team has averaged a run more per game since his arrival (not a fair stat, but just saying!).

        He will get almost as many AB to finish the season, so if you double his numbers, 15 HR, 30 SB, 40 XBH,.440 OBP, I certainly think his 40% are more valuable than Trumbo’s 100% of a season at first base.

      • paperlions - Aug 29, 2011 at 9:13 PM

        If you look at the fielding independent metrics, Hellickson has been very lucky on balls in play this year, and doesn’t have the peripherals of Pineda, it doesn’t look close….really….not that more than a few AL ROY voters will pay attention past W, IP, and ERA.

      • hittfamily - Aug 29, 2011 at 10:01 PM

        What else should they look at? His job is to keep the other team from scoring and eat as many innings as possible. Advanced sabres are nice, but not the be all end all. For example, 2 guys with equal innings , starts, and wins. 1 has an ERA of 3, and 1 has an ERA of 3.5. I don’t need to look at advanced sabre stats to dtermine which pitcher has had the better year.

        Hellickson’s ERA is 20% lower than either Pineda or Nova. If your sabre’s say either of them have had a better year, I’d rethink how much validity those stats have.

      • paperlions - Aug 29, 2011 at 10:07 PM

        Except that ERA is not a product of just the pitcher’s performance, it is also a product of the quality of the fielding behind him, and luck (good or bad).

        Pineda has struck out 50% more guys, walked fewer, and has a higher GB rate. Hellickson hasn’t been nearly as good as his ERA suggests, in part because the Rays have great team defense.

      • buddaley - Aug 30, 2011 at 7:53 AM

        But hittfamily. Which is the better question to ask regarding the ROY? Is it “Who has had the better year?” or “Who has played (pitched) better?” Are we measuring whose standard numbers look better at the end of the year or who has actually demonstrated greater skill?

        If you think the former, then your point is made. But if you consider the actual performance of the player-pitcher, not extraneous factors such as strength of team or defense, then I think you have to look beyond the standard stats.

      • seattlej - Aug 30, 2011 at 10:43 AM

        hittfamily: By your reasoning you’re giving the award to the pitcher who had the better defense behind him, not the pitcher who actually pitched the best. Team shouldn’t matter in the ROY voting, but ERA is very heavily team dependent. All defenses (and stadiums) are not created equal.

  6. scatterbrian - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Heyman has Kershaw winning the Cy Young, followed by Halladay and Lee, but then has Halladay (7th) and Kimbrel (8th)–and not Kershaw–on his MVP list.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:51 PM

      That shouldn’t come as a surprise. He is consistently valuing players who are playing for contending teams over others in MVP balloting.

    • Lukehart80 - Aug 29, 2011 at 6:56 PM

      It’s because they’re on playoff bound teams and that’s a hangup for Heyman. If it was the Cy Valuable Young award, Heyman would undoubtedly kick Kershaw off the list for not winning enough of the games he didn’t pitch in.

    • scatterbrian - Aug 29, 2011 at 7:15 PM

      Agreed drmonkey and Luke… just further pointing out Heyman’s bass ackwards logic

  7. pbannard - Aug 29, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Seriously, a first baseman with a sub .300 OBP shouldn’t even be in the conversation, even in a weak year. Have we learned nothing?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 29, 2011 at 7:11 PM

      It certainly isn’t ideal. But this isn’t 2007 anymore. A .294 OBP isn’t as hideous as it used to be, and Trumbo has a 115 OPS+.

      • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 29, 2011 at 7:15 PM

        For comparison’s sake, Delmon Young had a 91 OPS+ when he finished second to Dustin Pedroia in the 2007 ROY balloting.

      • hittfamily - Aug 29, 2011 at 7:25 PM

        Trumbo is 18th in OPS out of 23 qualifying first baseman. Hellickson is 7th in the AL in ERA, and 18th overall among starting pitchers. The 2 shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 29, 2011 at 7:27 PM

        Yes it is. He’s got a BB% of 4.7. And OPS overrates SLG which is a huge benefit to Trumbo b/c if he hits the ball, he hits it far. A 4.7 BB% is terrible. Eventually pitchers will stop throwing him anything on the plate (42.5% Oswing(!))

      • paperlions - Aug 29, 2011 at 9:08 PM

        a .294 OBP has always been hideous

      • seattlej - Aug 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

        Matthew, your argument assumes that Delmon Young actually deserved to finish second in 2007. If this is a discussion of who WILL win, then yeah, bringing up Delmon Young and 2007 is relevant because it explains the way in which the halfwits with the votes tend to cast them. However, if this is a discussion of who SHOULD win, then bringing up a guy who had a WAR of 0.0 in 2007 is pretty irrelevant.

        Just because mistakes have been made in the past doesn’t mean that they should be repeated this year. Trumbo is having a much better season than Young had in 2007, but that still doesn’t mean that he’s one of the more deserving candidates (he’s not). My question is, how do you not even consider Ackley and Jennings in this discussion? Both of these players have been more valuable to their respective teams in a fraction of the ABs that Trumbo has had. This isn’t even a discussion like last year where Posey had fewer ABs and less value over the entirety of the season, but more value per AB than Heyward. These guys have had more value over the entire season, despite only playing in a fraction of the games that Trumbo has. The choice between Trumbo and either Ackley or Jennings is an easy one. The argument between Ackley and Jennings is more nuanced and more similar to last year’s NL debate, but this article didn’t touch that, so neither will I.

        And what about Britton? Where is he in the discussion? Hasn’t he had a better season than Hellickson or Nova? (Hint: the answer is yes).

        Despite what you write, arguing for Ackley and Jennings over Trumbo and Britton over Hellickson and Nova makes all the sense in the world. Do Hellickson, Nova and Trumbo belong in the discussion? Sure, why not, but the three front runners at this point really SHOULD be Pineda, Ackley and Jennings, with Trumbo coming in a close fourth.

  8. shutupyoufuckingidiots - Aug 29, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    Heyman is a fucking stoner, we all know it. he was probably laid out by some dank and had all these cooky ideas coming together and made it official.

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