MVP awards always generates plenty of debate and this year was certainly no exception. Whether you were pro Trout or pro Cabrera, you have to admit that both players had great seasons. However, without fail each voting year brings with it at least one or more writers who seemingly have no clue as to what the MVP award is really about. Let's take a look back at the past five years of MVP voting and examine the worst vote from each ballot.
2012: Raul Ibanez, 1 point – Sure, Ibanez was huge for the Yankees down the stretch, slugging .541 in September and delivering some clutch hits in the playoffs (which doesn't factor into voting anyway), but how can one vote for a player who wasn't even an everyday player? Not only did Ibanez not play everyday, but he hit only .240 with a .308 on-base percentage and was barely worth one win above replacement (WAR).
2011: Ryan Howard, 39 points – The 33 home runs and 116 RBI Howard hit/drove in in 2011 are about the only reasons to even think about giving him a vote, but they're not even that compelling compared to the things he didn't do well. For pretty much his entire career, Howard has been graded as a poor defensive first baseman, and by the 2011 season he was not an asset in the batter's box on days that he faced a left-handed pitcher (.224/.286/.347 with only three of his 33 home runs against lefties). His overall slash line was far from impressive as well, as he only hit .248 with a .346 OBP and sub .500 SLG. His WAR in 2011 was only 1.7 according to FanGraphs and even less according to Baseball-Reference.
2010: Delmon Young, 44 points – Home runs and RBI, as seen above, will garner a player some votes no matter what the other numbers say about the player's overall value. Young didn't even have huge power numbers (21 homers, sub-.500 SLG) and his on-base percentage (.333) was only slightly above the league average (.325). He was (and still is) a horrid defender.
2009: Huston Street, 2 points – Never mind the fact that relievers typically only provide 60-75 innings of work over a full season, but to even consider a mediocre one for MVP is pretty ridiculous. The Rockies made the postseason as a wild card team, which probably led writers to believe that his mediocre 3.09 ERA and 35 saves had a lot to do with that. In truth, there were five other relievers that, according to Fangraphs' version of WAR, were more valuable than Street in the National League that season.
2008: Jason Bartlett, 6 points – The Rays made their first ever postseason in 2008, which undoubtedly led to Bartlett "earning" some votes. The funny thing is, the next season Bartlett had the best year of his career (.320/.389/.490 with 14 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 90 runs scored), yet he didn't get a single MVP vote — the Rays finished third in the AL East that season. There isn't even a comparison between his 2008 numbers (.286/.329/.361) and the 2009 numbers listed above, but apparently he was more valuable on a playoff team than he was, with much better numbers, on a non-playoff team.