Okay, so let’s say you have a vote in one of this year’s postseason awards. We’ll go with the AL MVP, because there are at least four realistic candidates, maybe more. I haven’t done any research on the candidates and I don’t really care about the American League, so this is purely hypothetical.
Let’s say you, the voter, strongly believe that Jose Bautista is the MVP. But you know that Jacoby Ellsbury and Curtis Granderson are getting a lot of consideration, at least in part because they play for playoff teams. (We’re assuming for this exercise that the Red Sox don’t manage to blow their wildcard lead.) You also know that Justin Verlander is getting a ton of support in certain circles.
So obviously, you vote Bausista for first place. But the question is, do you let your guesses about how other people will vote affect the rest of your ballot? Do you put someone like Robinson Cano or Michael Young, who definitely AREN’T going to win but have enough misguided support that you could maybe get away with it, in the second and/or third slot on the ballot, just to lower the other guys’ overall point totals?
I guess it comes down to a philosophical question: does your ballot represent the most deserving players in the exact order of their deservingness, or does it represent your best effort to make sure the most deserving singular player wins the award?
(Would your answer change in a race like the NL MVP, where there are really only two legitimate candidates at this point?)