Friday, September 30, 2005


Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz have both put up monumental numbers at the plate this season. Big Papi seems to have picked up the reputation as being “clutch” because of his knack for hitting game-deciding home runs. Ortiz has been nothing short of phenomenal and I’d venture to say that the Red Sox would not be fighting for a playoff spot without him. Likewise, A-rod has been his typical A-rod self. Here is a comparison of their offensive numbers:

-----------------Hits Runs RBI’s BA OBP Slugging % OPS SB

A-rod ----------187--118--127--.320--.422--.607--1.029--18
Big Papi ------- 174--115--144--.296--.392--.600--.993--1

There’s no question that Big Papi has had an amazing season with the bat. He’s hitting near .300 and has 144 RBI’s. Boston’s success is due, in large part, to Ortiz’s brilliant season. A-rod has also had an impressive season with the bat. In fact, he beats Ortiz across the board with the exception of RBI’s. I would say that most people would concur that A-rod has had an even better offensive season than Ortiz. The numbers above would surely indicate that. However, even if you claim that A-rod and Big Papi are in a deadlock as far as offensive contributions, it makes no difference. Why? Because, Ortiz doesn’t play defense.

ESPN has been asking the question lately, should a DH win the MVP award? It depends. If the player in question is far and away the best offensive player in the league, then I would have no problem giving that player the MVP award. For instance, let’s say that A-rod suffered a season ending injury in April and everything else remained the same. Ortiz would probably have the best offensive season in the American League. Mark Teixeira, Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero and Gary Sheffield have all put up numbers that are very close to what Ortiz has done. I would have no issue with Ortiz getting the MVP award over Teixeira, Ramirez, Guerrero and Sheffield because their defensive contributions are marginal at best with the exception of Guerrero. Ortiz’s offensive numbers are considerably better than Vlad’s so I would have no problems with Ortiz winning over Vlad.. Ramirez and Sheffield aren’t known as great outfielders and Teixeira plays first base which is probably the least important defensive position.

On the other hand, A-rod not only plays defense, but does it very well. He’s one of the premier third basemen in MLB which just happens to be the most difficult defensive position. Even if you conclude that A-rod and Big Papi are a wash offensively, there’s no way for Big Papi to offset the above average defensive contributions that A-rod makes for an entire season. A-rod should win the AL MVP award easily. In fact, I can’t see anyone giving a logical reason to pick Ortiz over A-rod given how much A-rod contributes offensively and defensively. I fully expect Boston fans to back Ortiz (like the Sports Guy) but that’s no surprise. Outside of Boston, I can’t see anyone valuing Ortiz’s season over A-rod’s. I understand the argument that Ortiz has been “clutch” this season. Ortiz has surely come up big for the Red Sox. However, the season is 162 games long. A-rod outperformed Ortiz on the offensive side and blew him away on the defensive side. Big Papi has been fantastic, but there wasn’t a more complete player in the AL this season than A-rod.

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