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Blog Entry

My vote for NL MVP

Posted on: October 6, 2008 4:41 pm
 
Over the last couple of weeks, I've heard a lot of talk on the radio and seen a lot of talk online about the seasonal baseball awards.  As a Met fan, it's disappointing that nobody from the team will really be in the running...but in a way, that just goes to show how truly valuable guys like Wright, Beltran, Reyes and Delgado are.  When they were putting runs up on the board, the team was winning--and when they weren't, the team was losing.  Of course, that's exactly WHY they won't be in the conversation.  It was, once again, a brutal last few weeks of the season.  MVPs don't end seasons like that foursome did.  If I had to choose a Mets MVP, it would probably be Beltran.  Consistently underrated because he's not flashy and doesn't overwhelm in any one category, he's simply the best player on the team and among the top 5 in baseball.  If you don't believe me, go ahead and look at his stats.  Then realize that he also plays an incredible center field, rarely strikes out, and runs the bases almost flawlessly.  He doesn't have high steal totals because he steals intelligently, when he has a read and has an advantage.  Anyhow, I disgress...

When the votes are tallied, I won't be surprised if Howard walks away with the hardware.  Actually, I expect it to work out that way.  He has the gaudy numbers, and Philly made the push to end the season due, in large part, to him coming up big.  He LOOKS like an MVP and hits in the middle of a potent lineup.  However, he's not the most valuable player on his team.

Manny is probably the true NL MVP--he took a team that was pretty good and made them a solid NL playoff team.  He's seemingly changed the attitude of the clubhouse from a quiet one to one where suddenly the personality of players has come out.  Andre EthierJames LoneyMatt KempChad Billingsley?  For some reason before the trade deadline they seemed faceless.  Solid players, yes...but somehow the electricity that flowed through the team after the acquisition of Manny imbued them with individual identities.  I know, there will be fans from LA that argue that they were always exciting individuals and this is east coast bias--but I'm just telling you how it seems from the outside.  The young Dodger players just seemed...solid I guess, without being anything particularly special.

Still, Manny can't really be named MVP, just like Sabathia can't really win the Cy Young.  Yes, if the award was TRULY given to the player who was most valuable to their respective teams, they'd both be right up there.  They're both probably the catalyst that got their respective teams into the playoffs...but numbers being what they are, it's hard to give the award for only a couple months of service.

Aramis RamirezDerrek Lee?  Geovanny Soto?  Yes, they were the heart of a team that lit up the best all-around team in the NL (and possibly baseball) this year.  None of them, however, feel like MVPs.  Nobody jumps out (and Soto would have to be truly outstanding to win it as a rookie).  Nobody really carried the Cubs on their back.  The stars of that team are Pinella and Zambrano, with a tip of the cap to Wood.

Then we come down to who I would vote as my #2:  Albert Pujols.  This isn't exactly shocking, I know...but you just can't argue with how insane his numbers were this year.  .357, 37 HR, 116 RBI, 100 R.  He walked 104 TIMES and struck out 54 TIMES.  Look at that again.  It's a 2:1 WALK TO STRIKEOUT RATIO for a power hitter.  Are you kidding me?  Talk about efficient.  Contrast that with Howard, who walked 81 times and struck out 199 times.  That's a 2.5:1 STRIKEOUT TO WALK RATIO.  Yes, that's what power hitters do most of the time (though not as ridiculously as Howard).  That's what makes Pujols' year that much more incredible.  Those are Ted Williams-type numbers.  OK, maybe not quite Ted Williams, who used to do it at a 3:1 walk to strikeout clip regularly.  Actually, it's more along the lines of a guy named Ruth who had a 1.5:1 ratio throughout his career.

Ready for another stat?  Howard's OBP was .339--lower than Pujols' AVERAGE.  Pujols, on the other hand, had an OBP of .462.

While Howard would be a good candidate, Pujols is simply a better one.  Yes, the Cards didn't get into the playoffs...but the only reason they were even in the hunt for most of the year was due to Pujols.  The Phillies might not have won the NL East without Howard, but the Cardinals would've been out of it in June without the presence of #5.

So it sounds like I'm running out of MVP options...but I've got one more guy.  In the vaunted tradition of Willie "Guillermo" Hernandez, Dennis Eckersley and Rollie Fingers, my MVP would be none other than Brad Lidge.

The incredibly painful part of this is that really the Phillies' MVP for the year was probably the Mets' bullpen, who as a collective unit found new and interesting ways to blow games on a dishearteningly regular basis.  Still though, look at what Lidge did for the team from the City of Brotherly Love:

1)  Converted 41/41 saves. This has been well-documented, but really is startling.  This is a guy, remember, who was basically done in Houston.  It's not like he was driven out of town, but his welcome mat was clearly frayed.  He was on his way down to the land of the short-lived dominant closers.  He also had a 1.95 ERA and struck out 92 while walking 35.  Not exactly Eck-esque (which is hard to say), but still pretty good.

2)  Did something that goes beyond the numbers.  Going into this year, I saw plenty of "you're kidding, Brad Lidge?"-type commentary from Philly fans.  I'd feel the same way.  However, by the end of April it was clear that he was a different pitcher.  Although I don't exactly follow Phillie post-game commentary and locker room talk, that HAD to give the rest of the team a boost.  It went from a shaky bullpen situation in 2007 to a sure thing this year.  He shortened every game to eight innings.  The feeling went from waiting for the other shoe to drop in the first half to him just being formidable in the second half.

3)  He gave confidence to a cobbled-togehter (for the most part) pen.  Clay Condrey was 5-0 last year, sure.  5-0 with a 5.04 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.  It was unclear how much Romero had left in the tank after a bunch of up-and-down seasons.  Over nine seasons, Chad Durbin had a 5.30 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.  In 2007 for Cleveland he was mainly a starter, and a very average one at that. He was injured in 2005.  Rudy Seanez is 40...and was last truly "great" in a setup role in about 1994.  Scott Eyre is, well, Scott Eyre.  He's the definition of average reliever with lifetime numbers of a 4.36 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 515 strikeouts and 316 walks.  Even Madson has been unreliable.  Yes, he was good in 2004...and he was living off of that.

Was it a coincidence that the Philly pen came together once Lidge came aboard?  In that bandbox, any team can put up 7-10 runs a game...but that bullpen shut lots of teams down.  Brad Lidge was the catalyst.  For his own stats and what he did for a team that needed every win, he would be my NL MVP if I had a ballot.
Comments

Since: Nov 24, 2009
Posted on: November 24, 2009 12:54 pm
 

My vote for NL MVP

<thead>Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards </thead> 2001 21 161 676 590 112 194 47 4 37 130 1 3 69 93 .329 .403 .610 1.013 157 360 21 9 1 7 6 5379/D , , , 2002 22 157 675 590 118 185 40 2 34 127 2 4 72 69 .314 .394 .561 .955 151 331 20 9 0 4 13 *753/D96 2003 23 157 685 591 137 212 51 1 43 124 5 1 79 65 .359 .439 .667 1.106 187 394 13 10 0 5 12 *73/D , , 2004 24 154 692 592 133 196 51 2 46 123 5 5 84 52 .331 .415 .657 1.072 172 389 21 7 0 9 12 *3/D , , 2005 25 161 700 591 129 195 38 2 41 117 16 2 97 65 .330 .430 .609 1.039 168 360 19 9 0 3 27 *3 , 2006 26 143 634 535 119 177 33 1 49 137 7 2 92 50 .331 .431 .671 1.102 178 359 20 4 0 3 28 *3 , , 2007 27 158 679 565 99 185 38 1 32 103 2 6 99 58 .327 .429 .568 .997 157 321 27 7 0 8 22 *3 , 2008 28 148 641 524 100 187 44 0 37 116 7 3 104 54 .357 .462 .653 1.114 190 342 16 5 0 8 34 *3/D4 , , 2009 29 160 700 568 124 186 45 1 47 135 16 4 115 64 .327 .443 .658 1.101 188 374 23 9 0 8 44 *3/D , <tfoot> 9 Seasons 1399 6082 5146 1071 1717 387 14 366 1112 61 30 811 570 .334 .427 .628 1.055 172 3230 180 69 1 55 198 162 704 596 124 199 45 2 42 129 7 3 94 66 .334 .427 .628 1.055 172 374 21 8 0 6 23 </tfoot>       
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p;  Albert Pujols



Since: Nov 24, 2009
Posted on: November 24, 2009 12:52 pm
 

My vote for NL MVP

Is there any doubt? It's gotta be Pujols...After he hit for a .327 AVG with a .443 OBP, .658 SLG and 1.101 OPS in 160 games played in which the 29-year-old first baseman hit 45 doubles and 47 HR's while driving in 135? The only question is whether or not it will be unanimous...    
;  <thead>Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards </thead> 2001 21 161 676 590 112 194 47 4 37 130 1 3 69 93 .329 .403 .610 1.013 157 360 21 9 1 7 6 5379/D , , , 2002 22 157 675 590 118 185 40 2 34 127 2 4 72 69 .314 .394 .561 .955 151 331 20 9 0 4 13 *753/D96 2003 23 157 685 591 137 212 51 1 43 124 5 1 79 65 .359 .439 .667 1.106 187 394 13 10 0 5 12 *73/D , , 2004 24 154 692 592 133 196 51 2 46 123 5 5 84 52 .331 .415 .657 1.072 172 389 21 7 0 9 12 *3/D , , 2005 25 161 700 591 129 195 38 2 41 117 16 2 97 65 .330 .430 .609 1.039 168 360 19 9 0 3 27 *3 , 2006 26 143 634 535 119 177 33 1 49 137 7 2 92 50 .331 .431 .671 1.102 178 359 20 4 0 3 28 *3 , , 2007 27 158 679 565 99 185 38 1 32 103 2 6 99 58 .327 .429 .568 .997 157 321 27 7 0 8 22 *3 , 2008 28 148 641 524 100 187 44 0 37 116 7 3 104 54 .357 .462 .653 1.114 190 342 16 5 0 8 34 *3/D4 , , 2009 29 160 700 568 124 186 45 1 47 135 16 4 115 64 .327 .443 .658 1.101 188 374 23 9 0 8 44 *3/D , <tfoot> 9 Seasons 1399 6082 5146 1071 1717 387 14 366 1112 61 30 811 570 .334 .427 .628 1.055 172 3230 180 69 1 55 198 162 704 596 124 199 45 2 42 129 7 3 94 66 .334 .427 .628 1.055 172 374 21 8 0 6 23 </tfoot>



Since: Nov 12, 2008
Posted on: November 16, 2008 7:51 am
 

My vote for NL MVP

Pitchers have their own award. As much as I'd like to see Lidge win it, it won't happen. Albert Pujols will most likely get it but he shouldn't. He took his team absolutly no where. I think Ryan Howard should get it. What he did in September was unreal. The Phillies where once 4 games out of 1st in the wild card one week, and then the next we're World Champs. He's got my vote.



Since: Jun 13, 2008
Posted on: November 16, 2008 5:53 am
 

My vote for NL MVP

I think Francisco Rodriguez should definitely win the MVP in the A.L.Cliff Lee the Cy Young.Howard N.L.MVP & I thought Sabathia should have won it but it was refreshing to see one of these awards go to a losing teams player.



Since: Jun 13, 2008
Posted on: November 16, 2008 5:46 am
 

My vote for NL MVP

Hey Thomasam,I was impressed with your whole outlook on the MVP except at one point you had said "most valuable player on his'team'".I disagree with this description although of course you have to take into account how a players performance affects his team.I agree that Manny should get it,though he won't for reasons you mentioned.If Pujols continues his career unaffected by injury he & A-Rod might be battling it out for All-Time HR King.By the way I don't recognize Bonds' accomplishments;at least post '93 or post strike.I do believe that politics aside Sabathia is the Cy Young winner in the N.L.Any knowledgeable baseball fan can tell you all about Pujols & his exploits;the guy is phenominal.I also agree with you about the Dodgers having very 'solid' players Kemp,Ethier,who are only going to get stronger & hit more HR's Manny or no Manny.Now I'll touch on the Mets being this is your favorite team.I believe that Beltran is without a doubt that magical 5-tool player.MVP of the Mets,no.That distinction goes to Delgado who had a heck of a lot of huge hits starting in June 'til about early Sept.Wright had the better numbers,but Delgado more timely hits.I'm keeping Reyes out of the conversation despite the fact that he's a beast in the leadoff spot.Now I know Bill James has writen books on statistics which I can relate to;every morning during the baseball season as anyone who knows me can tell you I'm poring over the boxscores for well over an hour.Point is HR's are overrated;give me a guy like (that year Tommy Herr had in I believe '82)who hits 8 HR's knocks in 110 runs,scores 110 times & I'll take him in a minute over a guy who hits 32 HR's & knocks in 70 & scores 50.Every time a player scores or drives in someone that's a run for your team.Obviously a HR will always record at least 1 run.Point is I'll take a guy who constantly hits bases loaded doubles than a guy who never does but he'll hit 25 solo shots.Again,I was impressed with your article/,I think I'll be in touch, GOD Willing. 



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2008 11:00 pm
 

My vote for NL MVP

What if both Lidge, and Fransisco Rodriguez won the MVPs.  Now that would be something. 

Anyways, although I believe Lidge should be considered for the MVP award it looks like it is going to be Pujols'.  Nobody else was consistent throughout the year to garner serious consideration.  At different times it looked like Chase Utley, Chipper Jones, or Lance Berkman would win the MVP award, but none of them were as good throughout the entire season as Pujols was.  Had Carlos Lee not had surgery this past summer he probably would be the favorite.  He finished with 100 RBIs, and near 30 HRs despite not playing the final two months. 



Since: Oct 4, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2008 5:59 pm
 

My vote for NL MVP

I like your take on it. I'd give the award to Ryan Braun, personally- Albert Pujols is really most valuable. But he gets DQ'd for his past statement that players on non-playoff teams shouldn't be the MVP. He can live by his own words. As far as the Howard thing...maybe a third- or fourth-place finish. That would be nice. And Lidge, well, no reliever is going to win the MVP. You make a great case for him, and he might actually be the first- or second-most valuable player in the NL, but he certainly won't win it.



Since: May 11, 2007
Posted on: October 12, 2008 6:20 pm
 

My vote for NL MVP

It's funny, because seriously 99% of the time I'd agree with you that a reliever shouldn't win the MVP or the Cy Young.  However, if you really want to take the MVP at name value and you think about it, there are a few compelling reasons:

1)  The team had a weakness last year, and that was at closer
2)  They took a chance on a guy to fill that position that appeared to possibly be on the downside of his career
3)  He closed 41/41 games.  Yes, the save is really a stupid stat for reasons that have been analyze...d over and over...but closing 41/41 is something pretty amazing.
4)  They won the division by a number of games where even 35/41 or so saves probably would've cost them the division (allowing for comebacks after blown saves), meaning every single save counted.  This isn't a guy like K-Rod just adding saves when the division has been sealed up long ago.  The distance between the Mets and Phillies was small all year.

Your argument is the one that will be used by the voters--I guarantee you that Pujols and Howard will be first and second in the voting, followed by a bunch of other guys and Lidge might get 1 vote somewhere down the line and that's it.  The reasoning will be exactly what you say--and what I believe every single year for the most part.

When Pujols or Howard wins (hopefully Pujols, who's gotten the shaft a few times in the past despite enormous years), they will be very deserving.  If Lidge did win (he won't of course), it would cause an enormous uproar.  However, nobody made more of a difference in any division this year.



Since: Feb 14, 2008
Posted on: October 12, 2008 1:25 pm
 

My vote for NL MVP

pretty good take on the topic thomasam, but in the end i disagree with you.  first of all, i don't think a reliever should ever win an MVP award.  actually, i don't think a reliever should even win a cy young award really.  unless not a single starter in the league had much of an above average season, and there is a reliever who had a year like mariano rivera this year, i don't think you can give that award to a guy who pitches 65 innings in a season.  their role is just too limited, besides the fact that saves are way overblown.  K-rod broke the all-time saves record this year, and he was only like the 7th or 8th-best reliever in the game.

so for the most part, it comes down to howard vs pujols.  when you say that, what it really comes down to is whether the MVP is about stats or about storylines.  pujols blows howard out of the water in virtually every offensive stat there is, but howard has the compelling storyline (which is obviously the only reason he is in contention).  pujols was better in AVG, OBP, SLG, RC, and driving in runners from scoring position.  if he'd had rollins, victorino, and utley in front of him, he'd have easily beaten howard for RBI too.  not to mention his superior defense and baserunning.  however, howard's team is the one that made it to the postseason, and howard got hot in the last month of the season.  personally, i think those are bad reasons for naming someone the MVP, but storylines carry a lot of weight with the voters, for better or worse.

i'd have to give the MVP to pujols, since he led the league in almost every individual batting statistic, and his team was in contention for most of the year, for whatever it's worth. 


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