Voter who kept Joe Mauer from unanimous MVP explains himself … sort of

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Just one vote kept Joe Mauer from joining Albert Pujols as a unanimous MVP last season and Tyler Kepner of the New York Times recently spoke to Keizo Konishi of the Kyodo News about why he cast his ballot for Miguel Cabrera instead.
In addition to going into some convoluted logic about the Twins’ lineup being better without Mauer than the Tigers’ lineup without Cabrera, Konishi also admitted to being “unaware of the details” surrounding Cabrera going 0-for-4 with six stranded runners after spending the night at a police station following a drunken altercation with his wife.
“If I had known what was going on there, my vote would probably be different,” Konishi said. “Or maybe, I don’t know. I would have to think about it again.”
Whether or not you think Cabrera’s off-field incident and subsequent struggles in the next game should impact his candidacy, my question is why one of just 28 votes for league MVP went to someone who didn’t pay enough attention to the league (or didn’t wait long enough to send in his ballot) to know “the details” of something like that involving a star player? MVP voters should know more than the average fan, right?
Konishi also explained that Mauer skipping the World Baseball Classic because of an injury played a part in his voting for Cabrera, because “the World Baseball Classic is a huge deal for the Japanese people” and “Cabrera played to the semifinals.” All of which might be somewhat relevant if the WBC was part of the MLB regular season, but it isn’t.
I appreciate Konishi’s willingness to explain his ballot in a public forum, but I certainly don’t appreciate the lack of insight and logic that went into his decision making. His vote made little sense, the reasoning behind his vote makes even less sense, and his having a ballot in the first place perhaps makes the least sense of all. Oh well.

Once again, Cy Young votes from the Tampa Bay chapter were interesting

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In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.

In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.

Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.

If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.

Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.

Upton had another tweet for the occasion: