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NL MVP
2005-11-15 07:34
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

I can't begin to tell you how pleased I am to have the AL MVP race decided and behind us. In fact, I think I'm more pleased that I won't have to hear about it any more than I am that the voters got the top two spots right. With that all said and done, the BBWAA will make its final award announcement this afternoon when they name an MVP for the National League.

Despite the cockamamie logic of some who think the trophy should be heading to Atlanta, this is a two-man race, and neither of those men is Andruw Jones. Observe:


NameAVG/OBP/SLGEQA (rank) VORP (rank) RHRRBISB (%)POSRate
Albert Pujols.330/.430/.609.344 (2) 98.8 (2)1294111716 (89%)1B102
Derrek Lee.335/.418/.662.347 (1) 106 (1)1204610715 (83%)1B109
Andruw Jones.263/.347/.575.299 (26) 60.9 (11) 95511285 (63%) CF102

It pains me to even include Jones in the above chart, but, having done so, I think it's painfully obvious that he doesn't belong.

As for the other two, I'd be happy to see either man win it. Pujols finished second in the MVP voting to Barry Bonds in 2002 and 2003 and has been in the top four in the NL voting in all four of his major league seasons. With Bonds out of the picture this year, the Cardinals again winning their division, and Pujols again posting a MVP-worthy season, it makes tremendous sense to give him the award. Then again, Lee was every bit as good as Pujols this year, enjoying the sort of out-of-his-mind season which these annual awards are designed to reward. It should also be noted that Lee's run and RBI totals are artificially lowered due to the pathetic Cubs line-up that surrounded him.

One fact that I find particularly compelling is that Pujols went 16 for 18 in stolen bases this year after going 13 for 26 on the bases the previous four years combined. It's almost as if he knew he'd be challenged by Lee, who has averaged 16.75 steals over the past four seasons. Then again, Lee had a very similar track record, going 11 for 19 over his first five seasons before stealing 19 in his age-26 season in 2002.

As a big fan of both players, I am, for once, glad I don't have to submit a ballot for this award, as I really can't decide between the two. Anyone else care to weigh in?

Comments
2005-11-15 08:27:50
1.   uburoisc
I think Lee had a remarkable season, perhaps even a touch better than Pujols, but when Pujols hit that dinger off the Astros in the ninth, and hit it that hard and high, I think he nailed it in my mind. It was just so decisive, such a bold HR, like he was saying, "That's what you get when you pitch to me." Pujols is the best player in the NL right now
2005-11-15 08:31:45
2.   Shawn Clap
I hope this will finally be the year of "The Great Pujols". Just kinda wish he would have beaten Bonds out of it fair and square.

What a disgrace to even vote for Jones in the top 5. Cecil Fielder hit the 51 HRs that year and thankfully he didn't win it.

2005-11-15 08:41:04
3.   Cliff Corcoran
Uburoisc, postseason doesn't count for the MVP award. The voting is done before game one of the division series. Besides, it's not Lee's fault his team couldn't put him in a similar situation.
2005-11-15 09:39:59
4.   Simone
I would like Pujols to win, but unfortunately, I think Jones is going to win.
2005-11-15 09:42:52
5.   uburoisc
Cliff, I meant it more mythic than literal; postseason aside, I think Pujols has the numbers, and he plays on a winning team, but I would not be disappointed if Pujols loses to Lee. Jones is another matter, he doesn't have the numbers.
2005-11-15 09:45:56
6.   Shaun P
I think Lee should win it. The numbers are so very close, but what does it for me is WARP1, where Lee outpaces Pujols 12.3 to 10.7.

Andruw Jones should be lucky to finish 7th. Miguel Cabrera, Brian Giles, and Jason Bay, and Morgan Ensberg all had better seasons than Andruw. Jones gets way too much credit for the 51 homers and the 128 RBI.

Of course, this probably means that Jones will win the award. Sigh.

(BTW Cliff, small error in the chart - Lee actually led the majors in VORP with 106. Pujols was second in the NL with 98.8.)

2005-11-15 09:52:27
7.   Start Spreading the News
If Shaun P is right, I vote with Lee. Once again, Pujols would be the bridesmaid.

But reality dictates that since the writers got the A-Rod vote right, they have to get this one wrong. So Jones will win.

2005-11-15 09:56:47
8.   susan mullen
I'm just glad publicity is growing about the
farce that baseball awards voting has become.
USA Today ran an article yesterday giving 1
example. There are now no voters from Atlanta,
causing some speculation that this would hurt
Jones' chances (all other things being equal
in theory).The Sports editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which doesn't allow writers
to vote on baseball awards, says this makes the
case perfectly. You're already saying a local
voter would be more likely to vote for a local
player.
2005-11-15 10:35:08
9.   Alex Belth
Nah, I don't think Jones will win. I say, after all these years of being second best to Bonds, this is Pujols' year--even if he's arguably second-best again.
2005-11-15 11:04:19
10.   abr
I'm pretty firmly in the "most valuable equals best" camp, so I'd vote Lee first, Pujols second. Pujols winning wouldn't be disgraceful by any means. Jones would be a classic case of picking the best story instead of the best player. (I wonder why Morgan Ensberg hasn't gotten equal credit for basically carrying a much worse Astros lineup.)
2005-11-15 11:08:28
11.   abr
And there you go ... it's Albert. Won't be his last.
2005-11-15 11:08:51
12.   Simone
Pujols just won. I'm happy to be wrong. Congrats to Pujols.
2005-11-15 11:10:32
13.   rbj
Congrats, Albert. Hiring Tanya Harding's goons worked :-)
2005-11-15 12:11:17
14.   Cliff Corcoran
Once again, best to avert your eyes from the remainder of the ballot. Lee got just one vote for first and one for second while Andruw got 30 first and second place votes combined?!

Just two writers placed Pujols and Lee in the top two spots and both of them put Jones third. Dreadful. Jason Bay finished below Jimmy Rollins? And who on earth voted for Jose Reyes, even if it was a tenth-place vote? Oh, my eyes!!!

2005-11-15 12:24:40
15.   JohnnyC
Methinks it must have been Andrew Marchand or Adam Rubin.
2005-11-15 13:16:58
16.   Knuckles
Any truth to the rumor that Pujols is celebrating his MVP by turning 30?
2005-11-15 13:37:44
17.   Dimelo
I am still stuck on reading all the articles on ARod vs. Ortiz. There are so many on the net, people arguing for and against. It's f'en crazy. I don't even think Bush's supreme court nominee is getting this much attention.
2005-11-15 13:43:22
18.   Nick from Washington Heights
Listening to Buster Olney on Mike and the Angry Puppy, and he thinks that the Yanks are likely to end up with Endy Chavez in CF. That's just awful if true.
2005-11-15 13:44:02
19.   randym77
Glad Pujols won. He was my pick.

I think they got both MVPs right this year. :)

2005-11-15 13:59:11
20.   Shaun P
Man, Rob Neyer is right - the BBWAA awards mean almost nothing anymore. (Rollins more valuable than Jason Bay?!) They probably haven't for some time now.

Nick, I hope Buster Olney is full of it, 'cuz no way is Endy Chavez a better option than Bubba.

2005-11-15 14:01:07
21.   Dimelo
Do they even know who Endy Chavez is in his own house? Where does Olney get this information from?
2005-11-15 20:14:00
22.   Adam B
Well Matsui is back at 4yrs/$13 million per year. So that's two problems down this offseason.
2005-11-15 20:35:13
23.   tz1
We also picked up Sturtze's option
2005-11-16 07:18:05
24.   rsmith51
It seems like this is one of those times where being on the winner is a decent tie breaker of Pujols over Lee since their stats are so close. Jones is another story...
2005-11-16 07:44:36
25.   DarrenF
Cliff,

It's funny you mentioned Reyes. I think his 99 runs don't necessarily prove his value ... but I think his 99 runs along with a .300 obp (!!!) prove that anybody can score 99 runs if they bat leadoff on a major league team. I'm not sure Reyes is one of the top ten most valuable players on the Mets.

For the NL MVP, the top three were predictable. I have more fun with the unpredictable oddities of the rest of the field. It gets even more unpredictable and odd as you compare one year to another.

As susan mullen pointed out with Rivera and Colon, it's quite common to see a player voted higher as best player (MVP) than best pitcher (Cy Young). Since pitchers are subsets of players, I can't quite figure the reasoning, but it's quite common.

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