Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Astros underserving MVP votes

In working on a different post that I ended up scrapping, I came across something interesting. In 1969, Houston catcher Johnny Edwards received an MVP vote. Now, I'm sure it was from some Astros beat writer who was just throwing one of his favorites a bone (you'll see why later), but it got me thinking...how many unworthy Houston players have received award votes? Let's waste some time and find out. Baseball Reference explains that a WAR under 2 is below starter level, so that will be my cutoff.

1969 - Johnny Edwards (1 pt, t-36th) appeared in the voting. Edwards was an All-Star with Cincinnati from 1963-1965, but his best years were behind him by '69. Edwards hit .232/.306/.333 with six home runs, good for just 1.6 WAR.

1973 - Lee May (9 pts, 19th). May hit .270/.310/.479 with 28 HR and 105 RBI, but totaled just  1.5 WAR, due to his well below average defense.

1980 - Joe Niekro (3 pts, 19th) is a surprising inclusion here, as he looked to have a good year on the surface. Niekro went 20-12 with a 3.55 ERA, for a surprisingly low 0.9 WAR. That ERA was actually 7% below league average that season, though. He did add another 0.9 WAR at the plate, though, after hitting .275 with 5 doubles and 10 RBI that year.

1995 - Derek Bell (12 pts, 14th) barely makes the cutoff here due to missing the last month of the season. Bell hit .334/.385/.442 in 112 games with 8 HR and 27 SB, totaling 1.9 WAR.

2008 - Jose Valverde (3 pts, t-24th) makes the list, mainly because relief pitchers WAR is usually lower due to the limited number of innings they pitch. Valverde had 44 saves with a 3.38 ERA, 1.3 WAR.

2009 - Miguel Tejeda (3 pts, t-23rd). Tejeda hit .313/.340/.455 while tied for the league lead in doubles with 46. His degrading defense dragged him back down, though, as he ended up with 1.9 WAR.