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Deep thoughts: what does it mean to “consider” someone for the MVP?

Aug 31, 2011, 5:36 PM EST

Consideration

I tweeted this randomly a few minutes ago and got some good responses, so I figured I’d throw it out to the whole crowd:

I tire of the argument that goes like this: “Player X should get consideration for Honor Y!”

It could be the Hall of Fame. It could be a postseason award like the MVP or Cy Young.  Doesn’t matter.  But the argument usually comes in response to me (or someone) saying that a different player should be in or should win.

So I respond: OK, do you think your Player X should win or should get in?  And here’s where it kills me:  “No, but he should get consideration!”

What does that mean?  I mean, yes, I understand that there are downballot votes and that they matter for certain purposes, but if I’ve said I think Jose Bautista is the MVP, should I “consider” another guy?  In reaching my decision isn’t it understood that I’ve considered and rejected the other guys?  Same with the Hall of Fame: Jack Morris should be considered!  Should he be in? “No, but …” Then I guess he’s not worthy of any more consideration is, he?

Yes, this is rather navel-gazey, but I get annoyed at the ____ should be considered stuff.  Am I the only one? Am I being a jerk? Am I just simply getting this all wrong? None of those things are mutually-exclusive, of course.

  1. Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    I think it comes down to our need to put things (in this case, players) in their proper order. Andy Pettitte may not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, but he was significantly better than your run-of-the-mill player, so saying he should get consideration sort of assigns him into that next tier down.

    • trevorb06 - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:46 PM

      That’s why they need the Hall of Really Really Good. All guys considered will go here such as Pettitte, Jack Morris, etc. They just won’t get a big bronze of them, rather a bubble gum bust. Which would actually be way cooler.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:18 PM

        A year or two ago, I posted one of those “why doesn’t this guy get more consideration for the HoF?” comments. I got back some “Hall Of Very Good” comments that I generally don’t buy (because I’m a Big Hall guy and would like more players in). However, there was one that struck me & I had to agree had a lot of merit–there is already a place for the guys who had a huge impact on a particular team but weren’t really quite to the level of being inducted in the HoF…it’s getting the number retired/state or city halls of fame/team monument parks and the like.

  2. trevorb06 - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    Maybe some still cling onto the whole t-ball, everbody is a winner thing? I’m sure lesser players such as Utley, Rollins, Howard or Ibanez were at one point considered or thought about when it came time for the NL MVP but we all knew that was a Pujols/Votto affair.

    Speaking of Pujols. What will happen when Pujols and Halladay are eligible for the HOF? I mean do you think those two will ‘consider’ the hall or just make their own hall of higher fame?

    #sarcasm

    • kopy - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:50 PM

      I see what you did there (in the first paragraph).

  3. cur68 - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    The ” ____ should be considered” stuff is just a way of saying “I thought about that guy” for me. Rejection of said guy is usually based on if I like or dislike some stat about him or if his wife/girlfriend is hot or not. I confess that usually it’s the “hotness of significant other” thing that sways me but as I age I find my hormones rule me less. In 10 years I may be a bloodless sabermatrician, who knows? Too much deep thinking can ruin your appetite for life I find so I avoid it by using the “____ should be considered” stuff and checking out his girlfriend. You should try it Craig, as a way to decide between players who are relatively equal. You’d probably make no better decision about said player but you’d certainly have way more fun on the interwebs.

  4. paperlions - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Your refusal to further consider unworthy player X for award/recognition Y just shows that you hate team Z.

    where, of course, player X = Ryan Howard, award Y = MVP, and team Z = Phillies

    • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      Ooh, Mad Libs! This one works with “Chris Carpenter,” “Cy Young,” and “Cardinals,” too.

  5. paperlions - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    To answer your questions:

    No, you are not the only one.

    No, you are not wrong.

    No, you are not getting anything wrong.

    • paperlions - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      EDIT FUNCTION!

      No, you are not being a jerk.

      • ThatGuy - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:12 PM

        are you sure you shouldn’t consider whether or not he is a jerk?

      • paperlions - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:07 PM

        Obviously, I already did

  6. drmonkeyarmy - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    You aren’t being a jerk but I don’t get why somebody saying I considered this player for an award would bother you. Who really cares?

  7. sjhaack - Aug 31, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    I think “X player deserves consideration” can mean a lot of things, but mostly I think it’s said in the context of history. So when you look back on how people voted, the people that got “consideration” are remembered. Because…

    In 2011 ONE person is going to win the CYA in the NL, and one in the AL. I think they should be Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander. How are we going to remember those guys? Going here:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/mvp_cya.shtml

    Only one name shows up on each line for that award. When you go to their player page, they get the big bold CYA-1 next to themselves in seasonal awards. If you only dug as deep as “this guy won”, I think you’re missing the context of that player’s season and its significance compared to other players’ outstanding seasons or who he was competing against. Clayton Kershaw is having a season almost Halladay’s equal, and it would be a damn shame to not point that out even though I think Halladay should win at this point.

    Because then you go here:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_2010.shtml#NLcya

    And see why Roy Halladay won in 2010 (and why or why not other people should have won). But way down at the bottom you see Tim Lincecum, Brett Myers, Bronson Arroyo, and Matt Cain. Do I think those guys should have won over Roy Halladay? Hell no. At the same time, I think it was fine to recognize them for their accomplishments (sustained excellence (but not as excellent as 2009), a career year, a key cog on a playoff team, a second fiddle who gets overlooked for awards but is an ace in his own right; also made the playoffs). It might also indicate that in a different climate this person would be a true contender (what if Roy Halladay doesn’t get traded last year and the Braves win the division? Does Hudson win instead?).

    Beyond that, I think “consideration” can be phrased to mean at various times:

    I have not made my decision yet,
    I have made my decision but I weighed factors in a way that other players almost made the cut,
    I have made my decision but I know other writers may/will vote for other players who were also excellent.

    But I think it really boils down to the fact that we’re misusing the word “consideration” when we really mean “recognition”. I think Joey Votto is having a fantastic season, and stands out from his contemporaries. I also think Matt Kemp is having the best season in the NL and is the most valuable player. Matt Kemp is my winner, but even if you haven’t chosen him, Joey Votto deserves your consideration.

    Yo this response is long.

  8. jtorrey13 - Aug 31, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    I would think that there are two things at work here.

    1) People don’t trust other people to have looked at as much as they did for consideration of an award (or to have looked at what they consider to be important.)

    2) In deciding X for Y, you probably start with a group of people, though you may not acknowledge it if you just look at the top person. Say, for deciding a vote for MVP, you start with players with an fWar above 6.0. This gives you a baseline of people to consider. Then, you can start to look at the differences between the numbers. Is a fWAR difference of +/- 0.5 about the same level or is it +/- 0.8? In other words, what is your error bar for fWAR? (hat tip to the Keith Law/Ken Tremendous Twitter discussion of this topic.) Then, maybe you go an check bWAR. Are the same differences at the same magnitudes there? What about wOBA? What about OPS+ (or whatever metric you want to use to rank players)? (For the pitchers, maybe it is IP, K/BB, FIP, xFIP or whatever you like.) At that point, you probably have a decent idea of who ranks the best out of these measures and you’ve come to your conclusion. If not, maybe you look at other things like how well a team is doing or other tie-breakers.

    Did you “consider” others. Yes, because otherwise you probably just picked a player and confirmed he did well in all of your measures. (In the case of Jose Bautista, if you are “voting” for him, that way would work as well this year, but it may not in other years or even by the end of this year.) By looking at these measures and actually seeing who comes out on top, you’re “considering” players and then judging them to be inferior to your eventual choice.

    • jtorrey13 - Aug 31, 2011 at 6:38 PM

      I think the NL (using some of the measures above) is the perfect example for different leaders:

      NL fWAR
      Votto – 6.7
      Kemp – 6.6
      J. Upton – 6.3
      Tulowitzki – 6.3
      Victorino – 6.2
      Braun – 6.0

      NL bWAR
      Kemp – 8.0
      Braun – 6.6
      Votto – 6.3

      NL wOBA
      Braun – .435
      Votto – .425
      Kemp – .416
      Holliday – .405
      Victorino – .404
      Berkman – .403
      Fielder – .397

      Would all of these guys be “considered”? Maybe? I kinda hope so. Though, if you only look at one measure, you might not think of all of them.

  9. lessick - Aug 31, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    A friend who writes for a the local paper would always get those “why didn’t you consider Player X?” emails and letters after she published her All-Metro teams. She told me, “well, i did consider her, I just didn’t pick her.”

    Maybe it’s semantics, but Craig is right. It seems passive aggressive to me. Sounds like they’re trying to say, “Why didn’t you pick Player X over Bautista?” If that’s the case, then why not just say that?

    • natstowngreg - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:20 PM

      Your friend is right. You can consider — but not pick — someone. The people who are writing her confuse “consider” with “pick.”

      Ex., I think Michael Morse should be considered for NL MVP. Doesn’t mean he should win, and he won’t. But he’s had a fine season and I think he should get a few MVP votes.

      “Consideration” for an award is like “interest” in trading for a player. There are varying degrees of consideration, just as there are varying degrees of trade interest..

  10. goldensombrero3000 - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    How did Andre Dawson win the MVP award in 1987 when the Cubs were dead last? There’s no way that would happen now.

    • sjhaack - Sep 1, 2011 at 9:44 AM

      A Rod won the AL MVP less than 10 years ago playing for a truly miserable Texas team.

      • sjhaack - Sep 1, 2011 at 9:48 AM

        Dawson also had no business winning that award, but hey, dingers.

  11. Chipmaker - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Hall candidates get consideration in the form of getting on the ballot. They get ENOUGH consideration when they get 5% or more and stay on the ballot.

    John Franco deserved more consideration.

    Bert Blyleven deserved more than just consideration, and finally got it.

  12. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    Means about as much as a GM willing to listen to offers for Player X at the deadline, doesn’t it Craig?

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