Did Ichiro Suzuki Deserve the MVP award in 2001?


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by Cyril Morong





Don Malcolm wrote, “That said, it’s still a seriously questionable choice.” (About Suzuki getting the award in 2001-what he had just said was “My hunch is that Ichiro probably escapes the Top Ten (in worst MVP choices ever), however. While his OPS is about 300 points lower than Giambi's, he'll gain ground in fielding runs and even more in stolen base runs (his 56 steals in 70 attempts are worth about seven such runs in Palmer's system).) Go to:




Did Suzuki deserve it? Not according to Total Player Rating (TPR) developed by Pete Palmer. TPR is based on linear weights. It tells us how many more games a team wins with a given player over what they would have won if an average player had been in his place. This included hitting, fielding and stealing. Here are the top five in the AL from 2001


Alex Rodriguez-6.9

Jason Giambi-6.3

Roberto Alomar-5.9

Edgar Martinez-4.0

Bret Boone-3.8


Except for AROD, the teams these guys played for made the playoffs. So that makes them legitimate candidates. In fact, Martinez and Boone both played for Suzuki’s team, the Mariners. Suzuki had 3.2 in TPR, well behind the top 3. Also, although AROD played for non-playoff, losing team, he could have gotten it. In 1987, Andre Dawson got it for a last place team. Ernie Banks got it twice (1958-9) for teams with losing records.


In Win Shares (WS), the Bill James stat which also takes into account hitting, fielding and stealing (and clutch hitting to a slight extent), both Giambi (38) and AROD (37) had more than Suzuki (36). In fact, Giambi had .0566 WS per PA (plate appearance) while Suzuki had .0490. Giambi was about 15.5% better in this regard.


Suzuki’s getting the MVP award (voted on by the baseball writers) is an example of him being overrated.


Now in my all-time ranking of players in WS per 648 PA, Suzuki does well. He would be about 104th with 24.96. (go to http://www.geocities.com/cyrilmorong@sbcglobal.net/WSperPA.htm)

Now Suzuki has been fairly close to his prime years (although Bill James I think puts this at 26-27). He was 27 at the start of the 2001 season. He is doing better this year (2004), but we need to see where he ends up after we include some seasons later on in his career when he might not be as good.


In TPR per 648 PA, he has 1.96 through 2003. This would rank him 185th all-time. Got to




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