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Award Redo: 2002 A.L. MVP

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A's lost two out of three to the Orioles this weekend in Baltimore and as May closes out it is once again looking like this is the year the A's string of winning seasons comes to an end. But it seems that way every year the first couple of months of the season before they go on some insane run for a couple of months that saves their season. Their former shortstop Miguel Tejada had never homered in 25 games against the A's before homering in back-to-back days this weekend and it was five years ago when Tejada played a major role in the A's most remarkable run of all when they won an American League record 20 straight games. It was that streak and some timely hits by Tejada that would be the primary reason he would be awarded the A.L. MVP after the season and it was always a very questionable win in the minds of statheads. I fully supported him winning the award at the time Miggy could have shit on my floor and I wouldn't have minded but enough time has past that it is time for me to take back what he didn't really deserve.

 

Tejada received 21 of the posssible 28 first place votes beating out Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano by a comfortable margin. A-Rod hit 57 homeruns and had 142 RBI in 2002 and those normally would be plenty for the writers to give him in the MVP the problem being this was of course when he was with the Rangers where wins did not come very often in Texas. Tejada hit 23 fewer homeruns than A-Rod and had a near idential OPS to his teammate Eric Chavez who finished 14th in the voting. But the main facotr in the writers view was that the Rangers won only 72 games, finishing 31 games behind Miggy and the A's, thus A-Rod could not have been truly "valuable" if his team played so poorly. Soriano had his breakout year with the Yankees, coming up with one homerun shy of a 40-40 season but given how loaded the Yankees line up was it was hard in the view of the writers to give the award to a player with so much help around him with teammates Jason Giambi and Bernie Williams both finishing in the Top 10.

 

So should A-Rod have been the slam dunk winner and how bad of a choice was Tejada?

 

Actual Results

1) Miguel Teajda 2) Alex Rodriguez 3) Alfonso Soriano 4) Garret Anderson 5) Jason Giambi 6) Torii Hunter 7) Jim Thome 8) Magglio Ordonez 9) Manny Ramirez 10) Bernie Williams 11t) David Eckstein 11t) Nomar Garciaparra 13) Barry Zito 14) Eric Chavez 15t) Eddie Guardado 15t) Troy Percival 17) Ichiro Suzuki 18) Billy Koch 19) Derek Lowe 20t) Pedro Martinez 20t) Mike Sweeney

 

#10

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.310/.352/.528, 118 RC, 132 OPS+, .290 EQA, 64.8 VORP, 27 Win Shares

 

#9

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.320/.381/.597, 132 RC, 152 OPS+, .312 EQA, 57.7 VORP, 26 Win Shares

 

#8

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169 ERA+, 2.33 K/BB, 1.13 WHIP, 75.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares

 

#7

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.308/.354/.508, 116 RC, 122 OPS+, .288 EQA, 58.6 VORP, 32 Win Shares

 

#6

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.300/.332/.547, 123 RC, 131 OPS+, .291 EQA, 68.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares

 

#5

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.333/.415/.493, 125 RC, 143 OPS+, .312 EQA, 66.7 VORP, 30 Win Shares

 

#4

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.349/.450/.647, 125 RC, 190 OPS+, .353 EQA, 75.4 VORP, 29 Win Shares

 

#3

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.314/.435/.598, 143 RC, 174 OPS+, .341 EQA, 79.2 VORP, 34 Win Shares

 

#2

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.304/.445/.677, 145 RC, 191 OPS+, .357 EQA, 85.0 VORP, 34 Win Shares

 

#1

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.300/.392/.623, 150 RC, 152 OPS+, .317 EQA, 86.8 VORP, 35 Win Shares

 

Some idiot on this board once said this back in 2003:

...if you watched what Miguel Tejada did for the A's last you'd know. Ya, ya, ya the A's have the pitching but they don't make the playoffs last year without Tejada and THAT is more important than straight up statistics.

Oh wait, that was me. Fuck.

 

Anyways A-Rod, Thome, and Giambi all have great cases. Thome suffered the same fate as A-Rod that year as he was on a bad team otherwise he may have had a shot at the award if he had been on a contender. Alas I deferred to A-Rod's slight edge in both VORP and Win Shares (WARP3 as well) to give him the nod but there was simply no easy pick that season so this was the perfect year for someone like Tejada to win.

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In hindsight they obviously didn't make the right choice. But I've said before that given what we knew at the time Chavez appeared to be the better choice as he was younger, was putting up better numbers at his age than Tejada did, and the better defensive player. I can't blame Beane one bit for making the decision he made as even the biggest Tejada fan wouldn't have predicted Chavez would turn into the painfully average hitter he's become and now starting to tilt towards mediocrity at the plate.

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Tejada hit .375 with RISP that year. That'll make a huge impression, as will the walk-off hits when the winning streak was conveniently keeping the A's in the spotlight. It was an odd year. Garret Anderson got on the MVP bandwagon as well. And Soriano too. So much for OBP that season.

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And what was funny about Anderson was all you heard about him the next couple of years was how underrated he was yet he has a Top 5 MVP finish without really deserving it. Actually the oddest finish in the voting was David Eckstein finishing tied for 11th with Garciaparra less anyone think that the media's love affair with him just started last year.

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Ha, Billy Koch. Is it me, or are there more relievers than usual on there?

 

The 2002 AL Cy Young voting pissed me off since Roy Halladay didn't even get a throwaway 3rd place vote. Fuck, Jarrod Washburn got one.

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