Monday, November 15, 2010

Defending Dejan

I'm going to do something I don't usually do, defend Dejan Kovacevic. First off that's not to say I dislike Dejan, just that I don't agree with him on quite a few things, all of which will not be covered in this post.

There seems to be a considerable amount of outrage today since it was announced that Dejan left Jason Heyward off his ballot. This outrage comes mostly from the bloggers, the Sabr pseudo-experts who think that baseball basically comes down to a few numbers in a stat line and of course the national media, who are surprised that baseball exists outside of Boston and New York, or wherever the World Series champion came from.

First off let's say that Dejan did rank the winner of the award with number 1. So the person he picked for Rookie of the Year did in fact win. Where it gets so unbelievably crazy is that he had both Neil Walker and Jose Tabata on his ballot instead of media darling Jason Heyward.

Heyward was better with the stick this season. Not substantially better, but better none the less. Heyward put up a .277/.393/.456 line with 18 homers. That's good for a .849 OPS or second in the NL amongst Rookies. Neil Walker put up a .811 OPS that put him all the way down at third place. Jose Tabata? While much lower he was good enough for 7th amongst rookies. Not that big of a gap there. In fact Neil Walker had a higher SLG than Heyward, and both of them hit for a higher average.

All that proves though is that Heyward had the better stick though, just not by much.

When you look at defense though you see that Tabata is MUCH better, while Walker is pretty much his equal. Jason Heyward is below average for his position in both RF/9 and RF/G. His Fielding Percentage is also below league average for his position.

On the other hand Jose Tabata is better than average in the massive PNC LF in all three categories. Jose Tabata held a MUCH higher percentage of his runners than Jason Heyward (66.4% to 44.6%) while Tabata put up a UZR/150 of 11.4 compared to Heyward's paltry 6.6. Tabata is clearly the much better defender.

It's impossible to directly compare Walker and Heyward because of the difference in positions but it's safe to say that in his first season playing second base (literally ever!) Neil Walker was pretty pedestrian, just like Heyward.

The reason we have local writers voting on these things is that they get to see things the National Media doesn't. It would not surprise me one bit if you asked a few sports writers who Neil Walker was and you got a blank stare.

It's basic group think. Attack the guy whose opinion differs.

What's worse? The fact that Heyward didn't get his name on one ballot or the fact that both Tabata and Neil Walker ONLY got their names on one ballot?

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