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Twins 2022 MVP picks


Shobae

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I know this list is late, as the team MVP awards have already been announced but I wanted to do mine anyway. The subject that gets overlooked in much MVP discussion, is the definition of value. So, I want to start this off by explaining my definition, which will hopefully make my picks understandable even if they are not agreeable. When it comes to defining valuable, in my experience, often the answer you’ll get is “the player who helped their team win most”. However, that leaves open the question of how you measure a players contribution to wins and what contributes to those wins. For this list I define value like so: which player, while isolating uncontrollable factors, contributed/saved the most runs for the Twins in 2022. That means I won’t be looking at any expected numbers or luck indicators, this will be descriptive stats. In this list I’ll be ranking my top 5 of both pitchers and hitters.

1. Carlos Correa

This should come as little surprise to most people. The case for Correa is simple: he led the team in all batting runs created above average stats, he played every game except 4 at shortstop, he was tied for third in games played and lead the team in every war metric. All the defensive stats agree he was around league average this season which is a large drop off from last season, however I’m not going to hold that against him because of his hitting performance. The argument against Correa is his batting performance in a context sensitive case. One could point to him being tied with Buxton in situational wins (WPA/LI), however I would argue that WPA isn't nearly accurate enough to be taken at face value and DRC+ (BPs advanced batting statistic), which is context adjusted, has him first as mentioned.

2. Luis Arraez

The batting champion and the Twins healthiest player alongside Urshela, Arraez had his best year yet despite playing through inury. He was second in batting runs created with BP ranking him within one run of correa and ranked 2nd in bwar and WARP, with fangraphs ranking him third. He also served as a utility infielder playing mostly first and second base. While DRS and FRAA (BP defensive stat) both rated him as above average across the board while OAA had him as below average. In terms of a context adjusted stats situational wins had him tied for third with duran.

3. Byron Buxton

In his second healthiest season of his career Buxton yet again proved to be the best player for the twins on a rate basis. However, as is the case with our IL MVP he didn’t play enough games to realize that potential. Buxton ranked third in bwar and WARP and second in fwar. He was third in batting runs above average and was the best base runner on the team. His defense was elite as we have come to expect, however his many games at dh due to his knee injury limited his games in the field. Situational wins ranks Buxton tied for first with Correa. The case against Buxton being third is the uncertainty surrounding all these stats given the very small sample size. DRC+ is the only metric that makes this uncertainty available, Buxton had a DRC+ of 121 with a standard deviation of 18 (for comparison Arraez and Correa have 10 and 13). Meaning there is larger variance in the values of his DRC+ that are calculated by the model.

4. Jhoan Duran

Duran was arguably the twins best pitcher, certainly on a per inning basis it’s undeniable. Given he’s the first pitcher on this it’s a bit hard to directly compare him to hitters like buxton, urshela and Polanco. But I went with this pick mainly based on his situational wins being basically third with Arraez. On top of that he had the highest clutch score on the team, meaning his performance in high leverage situations was better than in low leverage. While it’s hard and very controversial to isolate a pitchers individual contribution, all stats, except FIP, agree Duran was the best. Aside from stats its clear to any fan that without duran this bullpen would have been a disaster which in my mind increases his value to the team.

5. Gio Urshela

As mentioned, the Urshela was tied for games played on the twins which is the large reason why he takes this spot. He is 4th bwar and fwar and 5th warp. He is 4th in batting runs created and played every game in the field. His defensive metrics are polarizing with DRS rating him above average (4), FRAA average and OAA below average (-4). The biggest point against Urshela is his underwhelming situational wins, however given that’s the outlier in this case I won’t hold it against him.


Sources used:
Baseball Reference, Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs

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This really points out where $ should be spent! Urshella is more valuable due to productivity & availability vs. Polanco &/or Keppler. One of those guys needs to go…….if Polanco goes,  Arraez to 2nd & Gordon can spell him there. Miranda to 1st & Urshella at 3rd………..If Keppler, Gordon is in left - Buxton - Larnach in OF. Moving both, while moving on from Correa allows $ for right handed hitting OF or DH ($14M) Reliever ($10M), & front end Starter ($24M)……..extend Gray or Mahle in June based on each other’s start. Maeda to the pen for max value!! Kirriloff & Miranda trade off with Arraez & Buxton in the DH slot.”

The $ spent above is a savings of $6-$8million from Correa - Polanco - Keppler cost at about $52 million.

Seems like a contender!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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