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Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles has been announced as the American League Player of the Month and Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves has been announced as the National League Player of the Month. Like any baseball fan and really a sports fan in general, awards are fun to discuss. Now let’s try to answer two questions:

1. Did these players deserve the prize?

2. Who else should be considered?

As with many awards in baseball, it generally reflects on power hitters. As we see in all highlights, the home runs usually come first. Let’s start with Chris Davis and break down his stats.

Looking at the basic stats we see every day when a hitter shows up, Davis had a .348 average, 9 home runs and 28 RBIs. Very impressive. But let’s get to some stats that look at the overall player in the batter’s box and out in the field. I could go down the road with a bunch of stats, but I’ll keep it simple with 3 stats average, home runs, and RBI.

Davis is a first baseman and that tells you a lot, since fielding isn’t a specialty for most of them. So, that will take away your WAR (Wins Above Replacement) stats. To keep it simple, I’ll tell you where he was in the top 10 for each stat that’s part of WAR.

Overall WAR: 4th (1.6)

WAR Offensive: 3rd (1.7)

Defensive WAR:-

A player who surpasses Chris Davis? Ian Kinsler.

Overall WAR: 1st (2.1)

WAR Offensive: 4th (1.5)

Defensive WAR: 5th (0.7)

Do you notice a big difference in how he got his WAR that high? Simple enough to see, but let’s see if Justin Upton deserved his Player of the Month award.

Upton’s basic stats are a .298 average, 12 home runs and 19 RBIs. Much like Davis, he certainly has some great power that you wouldn’t want to be pitting him against late game. Let’s look at his WAR stats.

Overall WAR: 2nd (2.1)

Offensive WAR: 1st (1.8)

Defensive WAR:-

A player who surpasses him in these statistics? Carlos Gomez. Let’s take a look at his WAR.

Overall WAR: 1st (2.4)

WAR Offensive: 7th (1.5)

Defensive WAR: 1st (0.9)

It’s pretty obvious the point of the key stat that separates players in WAR. Defending! Davis has never been known for defending himself, while Upton has been solid, but nothing special. The plays can certainly be the highlight, but you’ll never see defensive stats mentioned on TV.

This is the entire argument of last season’s MVP. Miguel Cabrera may have had the triple crown, but did he do much defensively? No. Mike Trout was more of a complete player, but the votes showed that there are still old-school voters out there. At the same time, the fact that Trout is around speaks volumes about sabermetrics and how far he’s come. I am one of those who would have voted for Trout and give Kinsler and Gomez the Player of the Month award. They may not have the home runs and RBIs, but they do get on base and show their gloves. I prefer two basic needs.

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