2010 'Pitties: Diamondbacks MVP

Two MVP nominees, Kelly Johnson and Chris Young, celebrate in a game. But will either come out on top in our voting?

After an initially-close battle between Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy for Pitcher of the Year, Hudson's short-season superiority overcame Kennedy's durability, with Dan following up his Rookie award by also picking up Pitcher of the Year. Well, I'm thinking that'll be the case. Due to the house move, I'm writing and scheduling this on Wednesday, so if there's a massive sea-change in voting over the next few days, this paragraph could become the SnakePit equivalent of those "Dewey Defeats Truman" headlines...

The final category is for the Arizona Diamondbacks' Most Valuable Player of the year, which pits the winner of Unsung Hero and Rookie [copy... paste...] against three other challengers. The criteria here are somewhat different, with Most Valuable being a more nebulous term, so you're welcome to explain the criteria for your vote in the comments.

As a nub of objectivity, here are the Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference top five players - pitchers or hitters - by Wins Above Replacement, for the 2010 Diamondbacks. [* Haren's FG total includes 0.5 WAR for his batting]
Fangraphs
Baseball Reference
1. Kelly Johnson 6.0
2. Stephen Drew 5.1
3. Chris Young 4.3
4. Justin Upton 3.1
5. Dan Haren 3.0*
1. Kelly Johnson 4.7
2. Justin Upton 3.8
3. Chris Young 3.7
4. Stephen Drew 3.3
5. Daniel Hudson 3.1

And the nominees are...

  • Stephen Drew
    By some measures, Drew was close to the most valuable player on the 2010 Diamondbacks' team. Fangraphs rates him at 5.1 WAR, trailing Kelly Johnson, and even the more conservative B-R.com figure gives Drew 3.3 WAR. Stephen's OPS+ of 113 was a career best for a full season. He reached an all-time high in walks, which helped boost his OBP to .352, also a best over a full year, and the dozen triples Drew hit - for the second consecutive year - has only been beaten once in franchise history (Tony Womack's 14 in 2000). His UZR of 8.7 was the second-best in the NL by a shortstop.
  • Daniel Hudson
    Hudson appeared in eleven games for the Diamondbacks; all eleven were quality starts, and he had an ERA of 1.69 in that time. He struck out 70 batters in less than 80 innings for us, while holding opposing hitters to a line of .183/.237/.294. Daniel was part of the deal which sent Edwin Jackson to the White Sox, and the 1.69 figure is the lowest in franchise history by any pitcher with 75 IP (beating Byung-Hyun Kim's 2.04 ERA from 2002). Only two other 23-year olds during the last century had a better NL ERA than Hudson's number: Dwight Gooden in 1985, and as with Enright, Rogers in 1973.
  • Kelly Johnson
    A great non-tender pick-up by Arizona, Johnson had a huge bounceback year, setting career highs in most offensive categories. He swatted 26 home-runs and led the team by fifteen points in OPS+, with 26 more total bases than anyone else. Only two qualifying second-basemen in the majors (Robinson Cano and Chase Utley) had a better OPS than Johnson, and his number trailed just Jay Bell's 1999 season in franchise history at the position. Kelly made only eight errors, with all three fielding systems rating him above-average among second-basemen.
  • Justin Upton
    Despite a relatively down year, compared to 2009, Upton's OPS of .799 was good enough for second in the majors (min. 400 PAs) among players aged 22 or less, behind Jason Heyward. Upton improved his walk-rate from the previous season, and his line-drive rate hit a career high of 21%. However, his value to the team was arguably as great, if not more so, with Upton's glove as his bat. BR says that 2.0 of his 3.8 WAR was from his fielding, easily the highest number in the NL [next most was 1.5] among right-fielders, and third overall in the outfield. He also slashed his errors from 12 to just four.
  • Chris Young
    A credible Comeback Player of the Year candidate, Young resurrected his career, posting the best OPS and making his first All-Star roster. He was the closest Arizona had to an ever-present, appearing in all but six Diamondbacks games, playing almost eighty more innings in the field than his nearest competitor. Chris hit 27 homers, behind just Mark Reynolds, including our only two walk-off HR's of 2010. His glove in center proved solid, the ten outfield assists finished second-most in the NL. Young also led the team in stolen-bases, being successful in 80% of his attempts (28 of 35).

Polling for this one is going to be different. Rather than picking one, you should order the five nominees, using the poll below. The results from this will determine the overall Most Valuable Player for the 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks

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