As I was walking to my car this morning, a thought occured to me. A question, actually. And that question (which just randomly entered my mind) was; "Who, in your opinion, is the most valuable player in Major League Baseball today?"
As I took a few more steps, I wondered why I would ask this question to myself.
Perhaps having seen the last few minutes of Moneyball right when I woke up...perhaps pondering Billy Beane and sabermetrics and being passionate about baseball...and it being 6 o'clock in the morning had influenced me internally. I figured I'd go with it. I figured I'd check later and see how close I was to being right. Therefore, my answer to myself was straight and simple, "Derek Jeter."
And here we are. nearly 6 hours later and I have finally taken a moment or two to reflect upon this morning's muse. Having dealt with more pressing work-related matters, I opted to take a moment or two to crunch some stats and see if, indeed, I was right.
Now, inasmuch as we've got Matt Kemp leading the league with his batting average at .449, and David Ortiz in second place (with stats of which I refuse to waste time considering), I discovered Jeter in third for the league with a .420 average. This all being the case, one might wonder how I can emphatically conclude Derek Jeter to be the most valuable player in the league today...
Allow me to retort. First off, Ortiz (and whatever he has accomplished) is a DH. This means he contributes ZERO to defense, he rests between at-bats, and basically would be considered an asset at-bat. However, if pitched around, his only value becomes a non-consideration and therefore amounts to not much. Judging by the last few consecutive months of Red Sox baseball, I'd say his contribution is moot at best.
Now we skip ahead to the two main contributors of defense, as well as hitting. Inasmuch as Kemp is batting .449 with 31 hits in 19 games, 4 2B, 10HR, 23 RBI, 10BB, and 1 stolen base...Jeter, in 18 games has MORE HITS (34), MORE DOUBLES (6), and has as many stolen bases as Kemp.
What about RBI and HOMERS, you ask? Well, yes. Jeter does have LESS RBI than Kemp, (13), that is 10 less RBI. However, Kemp, for all of 2012 thus far, has bat THIRD in each game with his evil Dodgers. Jeter, conversely, never bats third, and is generally in a lead-off batting order which means there generally aren't men on base to bat in. For Jeter to be a mere 10 RBI behind Kemp is quite impressive, given that disadvantage.
Let's also talk about the value of each players defense. Inasmuch as I love a good outfielder, I would say a MULTI GOLD GLOVE WINNING SHORTSTOP is far more crucial with regard to executing a double play or a laid-down bunt...simply put: there aren't too many good defenders at Short, who can also BAT. Nothing against outfielders, but, it's not unusual for "those who can hit," to be placed way out in the field cause perhaps "they can't field." (jus sayin.) It is a known fact that most Shortstops don't hit for power. Again, in my opinion, to have a player at Short who is a career .314 batter, that's quite impressive.
That is, Matt Kemp, 27 years old, on his 7th season in the majors, with a career .297 batting average, is indeed NOT AS VALUABLE AS Derek Jeter, 38 years old, on his 18th season of major league baseball, with a career .314 batting average, who is presently batting .420 for 2012 and engaged in a 15-game hitting streak. Sue me if you disagree...but these are my reasons, my facts, and my musings. And I'm right.
"How can you not be passionate about baseball...?" ~Billy Beane