Blog Entry

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player

Posted on: November 22, 2011 1:21 pm
 


By Matt Snyder


With the announcement of the National League MVP coming Tuesday, we'll once again do the opposite and choose a least valuable player. Unlike the AL version of this "award," the candidates were not nearly as identifiable. I did narrow it down to five worthy contenders, so let's size 'em up.

Pedro Alvarez, Pirates. The 24-year-old third baseman was supposed to be a power bat in the middle of the Pirates lineup for years to come. And he still might prove to be one in the future, but he was awful in 2011. Alvarez hit .191/.272/.289 with just four homers in 262 plate appearances. He even earned a demotion to Triple-A. He struck out 80 times and grounded into 11 double plays in just 235 at-bats.

Tyler Colvin, Cubs. The 2006 first-round pick hit 20 home runs in 358 at-bats in 2010, but he was lost in 2011. Colvin hit .150/.204/.306 with six homers in 222 plate appearances. You can go after Mike Quade for not letting Colvin get regular playing time if you want, but how can you justify continuing to run a guy out there with a .204 on-base percentage?

Aubrey Huff, Giants. Believe it or not, Huff finished seventh in MVP voting in 2010. Man, that seems like ages ago. In 2011, the Giants had the worst offense in the National League, and Huff has to shoulder some of that blame. Huff's raw stats don't look near as bad as those of Alvarez, Colvin or a litany of others, but his .246/.306/.370 line damaged a legitimate playoff threat. If he had a similar season to 2010, the entire complexion of the lineup changes.

Derek Lowe, Braves. He made 34 starts and worked 187 innings, so that sounds like he had some value, at least in giving the Braves a healthy innings-eater. It's just that Lowe faltered when the Braves needed him the most. His overall season numbers -- 9-17, 5.05 ERA, 1.51 WHIP -- were bad enough, but Lowe was horrifying in September. He made five starts, going 0-5 with an 8.75 ERA and 1.99 WHIP. This was during a historic collapse. And Lowe made $15 million in 2011.

Brandon Lyon, Astros. The closer set the tone for the Astros' abysmal 2011 season by blowing an opening-day save opportunity, allowing six hits and three runs to the Phillies. He would rack up as many blown saves as actual saves (four), which fit nicely with his 11.48 ERA and 2.40 WHIP. Still, Lyon only appeared in 15 games, due to injury, so he can't really win this one.

And the winner is ... Huff by a nose. Ultimately, I believe Huff's shortfall from his 2010 numbers was more responsible for costing the Giants the playoffs than Lowe's campaign. Since Lowe is a starting pitcher and only goes once every five days, I feel like the Braves still could have overcome his shortcomings. But the Giants' offense was pitiful all season, and if Huff hit the ball better, it would have been an immense boost. I'd definitely be on board with anyone wanting to pick Lowe, though. This was a two-horse race.

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Comments

Since: Feb 7, 2008
Posted on: November 29, 2011 2:33 pm
 

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player

Carl Crawford is in the American League, ezmover2020.  This is the National League.



Since: Jul 24, 2007
Posted on: November 29, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player

This is excellent news for Brandon Belt, Brent Pil, and Buster Posey. Keep up the good work Sabean and make sure Huff gets a lot of pine time in 2012. You've eliminated 220 years off the roster and a year nothingness in 2011 from with Rowand, Ross, Tejeda, Burrell, Hall, and Whiteside. Yeah baby, a multi-dimentional offensive team is in the works in 2012 is what the pitching staff is wishing for.  



Since: Sep 6, 2011
Posted on: November 29, 2011 9:44 am
 

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player

And the winner is ... Huff by a nose. Ultimately, I believe Huff's shortfall from his 2010 numbers was more responsible for costing the Giants the playoffs than Lowe's campaign. Since Lowe is a starting pitcher and only goes once every five days, I feel like the Braves still could have overcome his shortcomings.

So, let me get this straight ... being a starting pitcher and only going once every five days is enough to earn a pitcher an MVP award but not enough to earn a pitcher an LVP award.

Thanks for clearing that up.



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: November 29, 2011 6:28 am
 

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player

Carl Crawford should be at the top of this list.



Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:13 am
 

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player

yeah, I have to agree with the other pollsters...this list sux. Who even cares about half of the players on this list? Jayson Werth was really lame this year especially since he was "rewarded" with that awful contract. I agree with the other guys saying Dunn was the LVP for the AL. He had horrible power numbers and he came to the DH league, go figure. Werth and Dunn. If the author looked up Huff's stats, he is up and down year to year...been that way since the Devil Rays and with the O's.



Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: November 25, 2011 8:38 am
 

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player

Since Lowe is a starting pitcher and only goes once every five days, I feel like the Braves still could have overcome his shortcomings.


Yeah, but that's just it - the brilliant Braves' management kept trotting Lowe's losing butt out there start after start after with the incredibly stupid "he gives us our best chance to win" garbage!!  Yell



Since: Aug 12, 2010
Posted on: November 24, 2011 2:48 am
 

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player

the giants offense was horrible period, but if you look at their ideal starting lineup. huff was the only one to not be injured. granted huff made some bonehead plays out in the field, so i agree only because huff was the only guy on this list that went out there everyday.



Since: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: November 23, 2011 3:13 pm
 

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player

How can you look at least valuable player without considering the size of his contract?  Huff isnt even close to the least valuable player on his own team.  Yes I'm talking to you Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand.  Huff had a bad year at $6 million, but Lowe had a horrific season killing year for $15 million.  Sure he only pitched every fifth day, but in those 32 games he's the most important person on the diamond, and he was dreadful.  Colvin isnt even worth mentioning, and Alverez only in passing.  Before I pointed to Huff I would be looking at Jason "dreadful" Bay and his albatross of a contract.  Lets not forget Olver Perez who made 10 million this year, did he even lace up a glove?  Hanley should be up there as well, but his injuries king of bail him out.  If not we need to consider Fat Joe Blanton.  Alfonso Soriano deserves honorable mention for three years performing like a jester while being paid like a Prince.  Now I whipped this up in about 5 minutes and it's 20 times better than your column.  Nice work.



Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: November 23, 2011 10:23 am
 

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player

Forget the scrubs like Colvin, Lyon ect. Han-Ram the lazy dog was least valuable.  Derek Lowe just sucks & yes it cost the Braves a playoff trip, but shame on them for continuing to run the old man out there.  I`m sure the Indians will enjoy him in 2012. Jayson Werth-less must be listed as well as at least one Met...pick from Wright, K-Rod, Bay, Ollie Perez. Don`t see the NL short there were plenty of under achievers.



Since: Jun 16, 2011
Posted on: November 23, 2011 10:06 am
 

Choosing the NL Least Valuable Player

As far as expectations go, I have to say Adam Dunn in the AL and Jason Werth for the NL.


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