Tag Archives: MVP

How to vote for MVP: 6 easy steps

Yoshihiro Maru of the Hiroshima Carp and Hotaka Yamakawa of the Seibu Lions were named NPB’s MVPs on Tuesday and both were deserving–although I cast my Pacific League vote to Yuki Yanagita of the SoftBank Hawks.

This year’s MVPs are fairly reasonable choices, which they often aren’t. So in case any of you one day get the grey envelope containing NPB’s league award ballots, here are six easy steps you need to follow to vote like an upstanding member of Japan’s baseball media:

  1. Be conscious of who wins the pennant and who on that team is the biggest statistical outlier or creates the biggest buzz all year.
  2. Look for player on the non-pennant winners with the most eye-popping stats. Did he set a Japan record in a triple-crown category? Did he win 20 games? Set a saves record?
  3. If step No. 2 produces a candidate, and none of the players on the pennant winner look THAT outstanding, then vote for the guy on the non-pennant winner to prove that you are not blindly favoring pennant winners in your voting when you in fact are.
  4. If No. 2 produces no obvious candidates, then pick the player on the pennant winner who has the most outstanding-looking numbers be it a pitcher or hitter, without regard to their fielding value or the offensive context in which their runs are produced.
  5. Ignore who you think is actually the best player. Even though the MVP and Best Nine votes are part of the same ballot, we still some pretty weird stuff. Yanagita was a unanimous selection as the PL’s best outfielder, one voted ahead of the Lions’ Shogo Akiyama, in the Best Nine voting, but receive 27 fewer votes in the MVP vote. Although this is not too weird, some people thought Yanagita was a better player, but not more valuable.
  6. Somebody, somewhere is required to cast a vote for Naoki Miyanishi. How this is executed and who is required to waste a vote on the Fighters’ wonderful left-handed middle reliever remains an unanswered question.

I’m not a big fan of WAR, but in case some of you are curious, the top three WAR values in each league this year were, according to Delta Graphs:

Central League

  1. Tetsuto Yamada, Swallows–8.4
  2. Yoshihiro Maru, Carp–7.1
  3. Hayato Sakamoto, Giants–6.3

Pacific League

  1. Yuki Yanagita, Hawks–8.9
  2. Hideto Asamura, Lions–6.6
  3. Shogo Akiyama, Lions–6.2

My measure of choice is Bill James’ Win Shares, which can be found in PDFs on my data page. Each win share is worth 1/3 of a win.

Central League

  1. Yoshihiro Maru, Carp–32
  2. Tetsuto Yamada, Swallows–32
  3. Seiya Suzuki, Carp–28

Pacific League

  1. Yuki Yanagita, Hawks–36
  2. Shogo Akiyama, Lions–34
  3. Hotaka Yamakawa, Lions–33


Publishing award voting in NPB

The Twitterverse had a few things to say after I posted a photo of my ballot on Friday for the Central and Pacific leagues’ postseason awards .

2018 PL award ballot
2018 CL award ballot














In roman script my pics were:
Central League
1. OF Yoshihiro Maru, Hiroshima Carp
2. 2B Tetsuto Yamada, Yakult Swallows
3. OF Seiya Suzuki, Hiroshima Carp
Rookie of the Year
P Katsuki Azuma, DeNA BayStars
Best Nine
P: Tomoyuki Sugano, Yomiuri Giants
C: Tsubasa Aizawa, Hiroshima Carp
1B: Dayan Viciedo, Chunichi Dragons
2B: Tetsuto Yamada, Yakult Swallows
3B: Toshiro Miyazaki, DeNA BayStars
SS: Hayato Sakamoto, Yomiuri Giants
Yoshihiro Maru, Hiroshima Carp
Seiya Suzuki, Hiroshima Carp
Ryosuke Hirata, Chunichi Dragons

Pacific League
1. OF Yuki Yanagita, SoftBank Hawks
2. OF Shogo Akiyama, Seibu Lions
3. 1B Hotaka Yamakawa, Seibu Lions
Rookie of the Year
OF Kazuki Tanaka, Rakuten Eagles
Best Nine
P: Takayuki Kishi, Rakuten Eagles
C: Takuya Kai, SoftBank Hawks
1B: 1B Hotaka Yamakawa, Seibu Lions
2B: Hideto Asamura, Seibu Lions
3B: Nobuhiro Matsuda, DeNA BayStars
SS: Sosuke Genda, Seibu Lions
Yuki Yanagita, SoftBank Hawks
Shogo Akiyama, Seibu Lions
Masataka Yoshida, Orix Buffaloes
Designated Hitter
Alfredo Despaigne, SoftBank Hawks

岡本和真ではなく、ピシエドに入れのか?? – You picked (Dayan) Viciedo over Kazuma Okamoto?
平田よりソトじゃね?– You picked Hirata over (38-home run man) Neftali Soto?
みんなこういう風に公表すればいいのにね!–I wish everyone would publish their ballots this way!
パリーグで岸だけ防御率が2点台なんですよね。– Kishi was the only PL pitcher with an ERA under 3.00 wasn’t he?
127打点と.310打率の成績を残しながら、リーグ優勝にひっぱた選手(浅村栄斗)はMVP投票から外したの?–A guy that had 127 RBI and hit .310 in leading his team to the league championship is not on your (MVP) list?
こうやって全員が全員公表してくれたら謎GGとかなくなると思うんだよなぁ–I think that if all the members make public this way, mystery GG is gone
完全同意. 迷うとしたら3位を誠也か大瀬良かてところやな–I completely agree, but I’d prefer if the third-place MVP vote went to (Carp) pitcher Daichi Osera instead of giving a vote to Seiya Suzuki.

もちろん今季の成績だけで選ぶなら丸山田菅野の三強だと思います。 しかし2016年のように優勝に強く貢献した選手が選ばれる傾向があるので大瀬良にも票がかなり入るんじゃないかと思います– Of course, I think that the three strongest this season in the CL were Maru, Yamada and Sugano–if one chooses only by the season’s results. However, I think that the final award vote will favor Daichi Osera because there is a tendency that the player who contributed a lot to the championship gets in — (as they did in 2016, when Takahiro Arai was MVP

成績が大差ないなら優勝チーム優先でいいと思いますが私もMVPはその年に最も勝ちに貢献した選手が取るべきだと思います–You aren’t selecting the player who most contributed to the year’s championship, but voting for the player who contributed most to wins during the season. 👏 If players’ production is close, I think the MVP vote should go to the player who contributed to a championship.

投票用紙初めて見たよ。ちゃんと社名氏名も書くんだね。NPBがこれをファンに公表してくれたら不可解な投票やふざけた投票はかなり減るだろう。–This is the first time I’ve seen a ballot. If NPB made this public to the fans, it would reduce the number of inexplicable or throw-away votes.

優勝した西武を押し退けてMVP1位に選ばれる柳田凄スギィ–You pushed aside players who won the championship with Seibu to give your first-place MVP vote to (SoftBank’s) Yuki Yanagita, amazing.

A few people also asked whether publishing ballots was allowed. I couldn’t find any rules against it, but it’s less common in Japan than giving your No. 1 MVP vote to a player whose team didn’t win the pennant.