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Evan Grant on his first-place MVP vote for Michael Young

Nov 21, 2011, 5:47 PM EDT

Michael Young moments before providing Ian Kinsler with valuable guidance on nose-picking technique Getty Images

It should come as no surprise that the lone first-place vote for Michael Young in the AL MVP balloting was cast by a Rangers writer. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News provided a long explanation for his reasoning (or lack thereof).

Mostly, it reads like a man trying to convince himself that his hometown hero should be the choice. Look at gems like these:

He hit .340 or better for each of the infield positions he played. He hit .319 or better for each of the three spots in the order.

When both [Josh] Hamilton and Nelson Cruz were out in May, Young outhit his teammates by 30 points to keep the offense treading water. When Adrian Beltre went down for six weeks with a hamstring injury, Young (.354) outhit the rest of his teammates by 20 points.

My eyes told me Michael Young meant more to the Texas Rangers and their success than any player in the American League.

I like that last sentence the best. Because there’s nothing else in the article that lends credence to the idea that one had to see Young on an everyday basis to get a true read on his worth. Except for maybe one line (“They did it, in large part, because every time their ship threatened to take on water, Michael Young led the effort to bail them out.”), the rest of the article is all facts and statistics supporting the case.

And, of course, facts and statistics aren’t really on Grant’s side here.

  1. Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Matthew, when you get to be one tenth of the baseball writer Evan Grant is, you may have some idea what the heart of the game is all about. I know in my heart that Michael meant more to this team’s success than anyone else in the AL COULD have. I know this from seeing his contributions on a daily basis since the season began, as did Evan Grant. I didn’t expect him to win the MVP, but only because most voters probably didn’t see more than 10 Ranger games before the postseason began. I’m pretty sure that Young had a key role in more than 24 Rangers wins. What about Verlander?

    • paperlions - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:04 PM

      That is some very subtle and well played sarcasm. Kudos Richard in Big D, well done.

      • Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:33 PM

        No sarcasm intended. No Michael Young, no World Series for the Rangers…

      • cur68 - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:56 PM

        Ha! Serves you right ‘lions; misinterpreting sincere (and worryingly myopic) Michael Young homage as sarcasm. Now, see if I’d written that you’d have known it was blatant sarcasm/irony. How? Because you can trust a Canuck. Trust us to either make a beaver or Gretzky reference of course, but trust all the way.

      • Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:00 PM

        cur- 1/4 Canuck here, too. Yes, you’re right. The most trustworthy people I know…

      • paperlions - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:34 PM

        This is awkward. So…was it 1/4 sarcasm then? or 3/4? It was 3/4 right? Naaaaaawwwww, you aren’t getting me to bite on that one…it was sarcasm….and then BOOM a sarcastic response claiming it wasn’t sarcasm….damn….metasarcasm…dude, you rule. I take back everything I’ve ever said about the Texas education system. [/sarcasm]

      • Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:54 PM

        Lions- Never experienced the Texas education system myself. Two of my son’s team mates that graduated ahead of him last year are going to Stanford and Annapolis, respectively, though. Don’t think they make special allowances for Southern Dummies at THOSE places… BTW, I went to school in New Jersey and Ohio.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:15 PM

      you may have some idea what the heart of the game is all about

      Is the heart of the game demanding a trade when your team wants you to change positions because they have better players?

      • Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:37 PM

        What happens in the off-season, stays in the off-season. Once the fighter jets fly overhead during the first National Anthem of the year, talk of playing for anyone else dissappeared. Come April, Michael assumed his rightful place as the veteran leader in the clubhouse and on the field, admired and respected for all he’s done and who he is, by team mates, fans and management.

    • davidpom50 - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:16 PM

      This is either the best comment I’ve read on a baseball blog, or the worst. There is no in between.

    • djpostl - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:49 PM

      You’re an idiot because no, you don’t “know for a fact” he was more important, these are all opinions when it gets down to the root of it.

      The Tigers were what, 28 games over .500? Verlander himself was 20 over. Do the math.

      The Angels never truly threatened the Rangers because of their lack of offense. Hell, they had EVERYTHING go their way schedule wise in the last 3-4 weeks and couldn’t even put up a fight.

      Take Young out and Texas wins that division by most accounts and opinions. Take Verlander off the Tiger’s roster and they are stuck in the middle of a big ol’ pack of mediocrity in the AL Central.

      • Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:58 PM

        Sorry, I went over every word I posted here, and couldn’t find “know for a fact” ANYWHERE! I believe I sad “know in my heart”, which is a totally different thing. It is confidence in an unknowable. Strong belief is based on perception. You may “know in your heart” that your wife is not cheating on you, but unless you’ve been together 24/7 since the day you met, you don’t “know for a fact” any such thing…

      • Kevin S. - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:02 PM

        First of all, Verlander didn’t go 20 games over .500 by himself. A quality offense and bullpen contributed as well. An average pitcher likely would have found himself winning roughly four out of every seven games (back of the envelope math, not rigorous), which works out to 16-12 over twenty-eight decisions. The Tigers won their division by fifteen games. Let’s drop this tripe that they miss the playoffs without him.

        That being said, Verlander (or almost anybody, really) was more valuable than Michael Young this year. We’ve beaten to death the fact that he’s not a great player, but playing a bunch of positions poorly while posting an empty batting average in a hitter’s haven isn’t something that’s incredibly difficult to replace.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:06 PM

        Rich, it’s funny you said “know in my heart,” because that’s the same thing Tim McClellan said on Nick Swisher tagging up properly in the 2009 World Series. He was just as wrong as you are about Michael Young being more important to the Rangers making the playoffs than Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler or CJ Wilson.

    • JBerardi - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:07 PM

      “I know this from seeing his contributions on a daily basis since the season began, as did Evan Grant.”

      So I assume you also watched every single game that Jacoby Ellsbury played, and every game Jose Bautista played, etc… because otherwise you’re kind of just talking out of your ass.

    • obpedmypants - Nov 21, 2011 at 11:47 PM

      Ian Kinsler was the best player on the Rangers. Adrian Beltre was the second best.

      I’m not going to be puss and beat around the bush here. Why does your gut lean so heavily in favor of the all-American white guy, yet shy away from the minorities?

      • Alex K - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:31 AM

        For the record, Michael Young’s mother is Mexican. So if you’re going to count Kinsler as a minority for being Jewish you have to count Young as a minority.

        Maybe we should just stick to baseball….

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Guys who waste their vote like this should have them taken away.

    • Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:39 PM

      I hope you’re talking about the fools that spent their vote on a guy that impacted only 30 or so games….

      • djpostl - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:51 PM

        The guy who was 20 over .500 on a ball club that was only 28 games above that mark you mean? He isn’t on this team and they are just another mediocre team in the AL Central.

        Take Young off the Rangers and they win their division pretty easily still.

      • baseballisboring - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:52 AM

        He also faced over 900 batters. Ellsbury led the league in PA, I think 732 or something. So Verlander impacted 900 at bats, and kept the opposing team to a pathetic slash line in those 900 at bats…pretty valuable. I will say I wouldn’t have voted for him for MVP, I’d have put him probably third behind Ellsbury and Bautista, but you have to leave the door open for noteworthy pitching performances.

      • baseballisboring - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:55 AM

        djpostl – You’re definitely right about his value to the Tigers, but that’s the whole problem with this process, is that the writers focus too much on that and don’t look at the individual years regardless of who’s around him. To pay any attention to a guy’s teammates for an individual award is missing the point entirely, right?

    • brewcrewfan54 - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:53 PM

      I don’t think pitchers should be able to get the MVP either, although if one should get it it certainly should be Verlander after this season. Fact is though Michael Fricken Young doesn’t deserve it at all.

      • atworkident - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:50 AM

        Then you need to have the name of the award changed. MVP designates it could be anyone on the team. You should name your award “the most valuable player to play a position that does not require throwing the ball from the mound”.

  3. Kyle - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Just pure hogwash.

  4. Chris St. John - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    The post is behind a paywall as of right now (interesting…) but you’re wrong, Matthew. The statistics are on his side. You just need the right ones. Like BARBI: stealofhome.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/voting-michael-young-for-al-mvp-and-barbi

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:14 PM

      Well done, but it’s missing a set of twins that could spice things up a bit.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:15 PM

      Nice entry. I think the voters are definitely more enlightened than they once were. I’d be curious to see how BARBI matches up against some of those 1990s ballots :)

      I’m surprised to hear it’s behind a paywall. I was redirected to an ad before I could view it, but it let me in without incident after that.

  5. matthewtrueblood - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    Honestly hoping Richard in Big D was being funny, because if so, it’s one of the better-executed jokes I’ve read in a while.

    Otherwise, ugh. Eesh. Blech. And the same to Evan Grant.

  6. billymc75 - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    each position? he played third, second, first, and DH! he’s also played short in the past, sounds to me he had more affect on more games than Verlander. and he’s more of a club house leader than any man in the Red sox club house. I will agree with Evan.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:16 PM

      If the Yanks trotted out Jorge Posada to play each of the infield positions, albeit atrociously, would that be a benefit for him in a possible HoF career? what about MVP?

      Maybe that’s what the Yanks did wrong in ’07…

      • Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:32 PM

        Michael was not all-star quality defensively at ANY position, but he wasn’t the worst ant any, either. Fact is, he could do an adequate job at any of them, as needed, and bring a potent bat wherever he is.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:39 PM

        He had a .077 ISO away from Arlington, potent isn’t exactly a word I’d use.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:44 PM

        Yeah but if you didn’t watch every single Ranger game, then you can’t conceivably have any idea how valuable he was.

  7. cerowb - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Sweet Jesus, not another HBT article on Michael Young! Please…..make….it….stop……!!!

  8. beerjunkie - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Evan Grant lack journalism integrity and simply voted for his hometown boy. What a disgrace to all sports writers. The Dallas Morning News should be embarrassed to have him.

  9. spudchukar - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    This was a protest vote. I do not know how the rest of his ballot read, so I reserve criticism until I see it. Like many others I find it troubling that a pitcher wins the award without an extremely superlative season. Verlander was awfully good this year, and there are significant caveats that bring into question most other contenders.

    The argument follows this reasoning. Michael Young was the most valuable Ranger this year. Debatable sure. But it is a sound position. The Rangers were the only AL team to make it to the WS. Therefore, his consideration for AL MVP is valid. In that context Grant has a legitimate point. Whether one should cast a vote with the baggage indicated is certainly a matter of contention, but to dismiss it outright is fails to recognize the intent. The undefined parameter for MVP certainly opens up the vote to stances that author projects.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:37 PM

      FWIW, balloting is done immediately after the season. Postseason didn’t factor in.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:43 PM

        Damn, you just smacked down Spudchukar. I’m sorry but there is no justification for voting Young for MVP. The notion that “you have to see him play everyday to understand his value” is complete bullshit. Under that pretense, every local writer would simply vote as a homer…because how else can you see value unless you watch all 162 games. Fact, he had a .854 OPS and was awful at every infield position he played at. How that equals an MVP, I do not know.

      • Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:43 PM

        True, but the Rangers won the AL West comfortably and were a popular pick to repeat last year…

      • Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:48 PM

        Doc- you could live in the Fan Cave. If you’re a good baseball writer, I would think you should see at least 3 games a day every day. That would get you about 30 – 40 games for each team (more if you just watched your home league), which would give you a better perspective of who means what to whom.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:15 PM

        And yet, you assume that Young meant more to the Rangers than anybody else meant to their team despite the fact that you could not possibly have followed the other teams as closely as you followed the Rangers.

      • spudchukar - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:37 PM

        Thanks for the info/correction Matt. It certainly puts a dent into my argument vs other AL contenders, but still the primary thrust of the argument was that Young was the MVP of the 2011 Rangers. Without a doubt there are better, more productive players on the Arlington squad year in and year out, but that said, it is patently unfair to exclude Young from the team MVP. This year he was more than the “glue”, to their success.

        One could argue Napoli or Andrus, and surely posit a legitimate case. But the injuries to Hamilton, Cruz, and Beltran diminish their collective contributions. Even the most ardent Young haters, and Lord only knows there are plenty of them should in all fairness admit, that the interchangeable Young rates, if not at the top of, of the Rangers’ participation in the Post Season, at least in the predominate status in the discussion.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:48 PM

        No, it doesn’t, because a decent defensive utility infielder covering second and third base would have probably saved as many runs over Young’s bad defense as he lost against Mitch Moreland’s 92 OPS+ (assuming, of course, that Ron Washington was sane and MY playing 1B/DH resulted in Moreland riding the pine and not Napoli). Besides, where was Evan Grant when Ben Zobrist was actually providing quality positional flexibility and being one of the most valuable players on the team? Oh, that’s right, he didn’t watch him with his homer glasses on. Got it.

  10. bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    As long as he didn’t vote for Ellsbury, he’s alright by me.

    Rock on witcha bad seff, Evan.

    LMAO

  11. alexandercartwright - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Can someone please show me the light as to why Jacoby Ellsbury finished second?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:19 PM

      Is 2nd too high or too low?

    • Kevin S. - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:25 PM

      He finished second because the David Wright effect prevented him from winning the thing.

    • bozosforall - Nov 21, 2011 at 9:57 PM

      Because he just isn’t all that. A whole bunch of stats that don’t amount to a whole bunch of wins for his team. Granderson had more production, Bautista more power, Cabrera more hits…basically Ellsbury just isn’t all that special. Verlander IS.

      Now is the time for all whiny Boston fans to cry.

      • grandy24 - Nov 21, 2011 at 11:49 PM

        “Granderson had more production”
        Grandy: .262/.364/.552, 138 OPS+
        Ellsbury: .321/.376/.552, 146 OPS+

        Ellsbury also beat him in both WAR stats, FWIW. but hey, feel free to keep trolling.

  12. paperlions - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    I love Michael Young, without his .286 OBP during the WS, and him repeatedly botching routine plays at 1B that led to a bunch of Cardinal runs, the Cardinals don’t win the WS. Thanks Mike, much appreciated.

    • bigmikemdz - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:33 AM

      but you know, Michael Young is a hell of a teammate. great team player. class act.

      • paperlions - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:25 AM

        Yes, leading the league in public trade requests = great team player, class act

  13. mgflolox - Nov 21, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    Maybe Michael Young is the MVP because if he wasn’t such an awful 3rd baseman, the Rangers never would have gone out and signed Adrian Beltre.

  14. Detroit Michael - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Michael Young performed better in 2011 than expected. His versatility is a hidden asset that gave the Rangers some roster flexibility. He is durable. He performed well in the clutch. He hits a ton of line drives.

    Add it all up and he’s still comfortably outside of the top ten most valuable AL players in 2011. There ought to be a way for a good sportswriter to pen a column appreciating Michael Young without casting an uninformed MVP ballot.

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:39 PM

      Exactly. I can fully appreciate the career of Ray Lankford and what an excellent player he was without making claims that he belongs in the hall of fame. Michael Young is a good hitter. He’s just nowhere close to the best hitter in baseball, and given the fact he doesn’t even play defense, should in no way be given any serious consideration for the MVP.

      • cur68 - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:17 AM

        Lads, that’s exactly Mike Young; a very good line drive hitter & defensive liability. In no way is a he an MVP worthy vote. A very compelling argument could be made for his role as the one player who did the most to lose the WS for the Rangers. While the post season is not part of the MVP process, it does go to reinforce the point that he is not worthy.

  15. thefalcon123 - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    Evan’s logic is sound. A DH who ranks fourth on his own team in OPS is usually the most valuable player in the league. How much more valuable can you get? I mean, Jacoby Ellsbury was great and all, played defense and hit better…but wouldn’t it have been an improvement is he hit worse and didn’t play defense at all? Same with Miguel Cabrera. And Justin Verlander…please! Justin was only the best pitcher once every five days, while Young was the team’s 4th best hitter every single day!

    Great choice Evan. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to smash my face repeatedly into this table in the hopes the killing of my brain cells helps me better understand how your mind works.

  16. titknocker - Nov 21, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    Evan Grant is a moron. This is the same idiot that didn’t even have Dustin Pedroia (when he won) on his ballot “because he overlooked him”. Writers like this are a joke. I can only pray he doesn’t have a HOF vote. Mark Fiensand is another one of these “homer fan” writers that should not be allowed to vote.

    • grandy24 - Nov 21, 2011 at 11:53 PM

      LOL @ Napoli receiving 0 votes.

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