Awards voters embracing numbers

The selection of Ryan Braun as NL MVP is evidence of an increasingly sophisticated electorate. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At this point, there can be little doubt about the influence of sabermetrics in modern front offices. Pretty much every team has a stathead somewhere in the organization, although the actual impact of sabermetrics in on-the-field decisions varies widely. When Branch Rickey hired statistician Allan Roth in 1947, it was a novel concept. In a post-"Moneyball" world, it's the norm.

How sabermetrics has changed the way the media in general look at the game is a trickier question. Although a lot more statheads are writing about baseball today than 20 years ago, measuring exactly the extent of changed perceptions is a thornier task.

Now that the 2011 awards have all been announced, let's take a look at just how much impact sabermetrics has had on awards voting over the years. And when we look at history, it becomes clear that the voters are relying more and more on sabermetrics than they are on intangible factors such as "heart," "grit" and "leadership."