Sunday, February 1, 2009

MVP Awards And Award Shares By Position

I used the baseball writers award given since 1931. I added up all the MVP awards and shares by regular postions. An award share is figured by dividing the points he got by the maximum possible points. The first I ever saw of this was by Bill James back in the 1980s. If you came in 2nd, but your points added up to 25% of the max (if you got all first place votes), you get a .25 share. Right now, the system is 14 for a first place vote, 9 for second and so on. It may have been different in earlier years. The last paragraph has more technical notes. Anyway, here are the awards by position since 1931

1B 26.1
2B 10
3B 14.35
SS 15
LF 21.67
CF 14.21
RF 20.09
C 13.74
DH 1.83

Now for the shares. BR lists the top 200 in MVP vote shares. But they include the different awards from before 1931. I removed any shares from those cases. Here how the positions ranked

1B 78.89
RF 68.30
LF 56.65
3B 34.82
SS 34.71
CF 33.18
C 23.86
2B 22.72
DH 9.30

Now some of the guys actually had quite a bit of their shares from before 1931 and only a little after. So I removed anyone who had any shares from before 1931 (so even now their post 1931 data does not count).

1B 67.68
RF 61.66
LF 52.88
3B 34.77
SS 33.72
CF 32.92
2B 21.48
C 20.05
DH 9.30

Which ever way I do it, it seems that the writers like to reward 1B men, RFers and LFers and don't like to reward 2B men and catchers. Maybe things would look better for 2B men if I had included pre 1931 info. There were 2B men like Hornsby, Lajoie, Frisch and Collins. But I was mainly interested in looking at who the writers like.

If a player split time between two or more positions, I divided up the award or share proportionately. If he played 25% of the time at one position and 75% at another, he got .25 for one and .75 for the other. I did not count time at any position that was less than 10% of the total. I used Baseball Reference for the data. I used innings played where possible and games other wise. If games added up to more than 154 or 162, I just had to suppose that the percentages still held. Players do switch between positions during the game. When innings are not known, it can add up to more than 154. For DH cases, I also used games. DH is never listed by innings played, just games.

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