Baseball Analysts - Most Valuable Players
With the regular season behind us, it is time to focus on the playoffs. I will have a preview of the ALDS and NLDS on Tuesday. In the meantime, I wanted to fill out my (make believe) ballot for each league's Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year. We will start with the MVP today, move to the CYA on Wednesday, and finish with the ROY on Friday.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
1. Albert Pujols, 1B, STL: He beat his closest statistical challenger, Ryan Howard, in AVG/OBP/SLG. They both play first base - Pujols like a Gold Glove winner; Howard like a DH. Albert hit RHP and LHP. Albert hit at home and away. He led the league in OPS (1102). In short, Pujols was the best player in the league (again).
Back in February, I wrote "You can write down what Albert Pujols is going to do now. When it's all said and done, he's going to be right around .330/.420/.620 with 40 HR and 125 R and RBI." Well, I was close. But Pujols actually exceeded all three rate stats, as well as my HR and RBI projections - despite spending 15 days on the DL in June.
2. Carlos Beltran, CF, NYM - .275/.388/.594, 38 2B, 41 HR, 127 R, 116 RBI, 95 BB, 18 SB
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B, FLA - .339/.430/.568, 50 2B, 26 HR, 112 R, 114 RBI
4. Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI - .313/.425/.659, 58 HR, 149 RBI, 108 BB
5. Lance Berkman, 1B, HOU - .315/.420/.621, 45 HR, 136 RBI, 98 BB
6. Chase Utley, 2B, PHI - .309/.379/.527, 40 2B, 32 HR, 131 R, 102 RBI, 15 SB
7. David Wright, 3B, NYM - .311/.381/.531, 40 2B, 26 HR, 116 RBI, 20 SB
8. Jose Reyes, SS, NYM - .300/.354/.487, 30 2B, 17 3B, 19 HR, 122 R, 64 SB
9. Rafael Furcal, SS, LA - .300/.369/.445, 32 2B, 9 3B, 15 HR, 113 R, 37 SB
10. Mike Cameron, CF, SD - .268/.355/.482, 34 2B, 9 3B, 22 HR, 25 SB
Just missed: Brian McCann, C, ATL - .333/.388/.572, 34 2B, 24 HR, 93 RBI
I feel good about having representatives from all playoff teams. The fact that no pitchers are included leaves me with an empty feeling. But how do you differentiate among Brandon Webb, Roy Oswalt, and Chris Carpenter to include one and not the others? Billy Wagner was also a consideration. However, if I wasn't willing to give the closer my Cy Young vote, how could I leapfrog him over the other three?
Most voters won't have Rafael Furcal or Mike Cameron in their top tens. Instead, they will favor someone like Alfonso Soriano, who has gaudier stats. That's fine. Soriano had a fantastic season. I'm just partial toward up-the-middle defensive players. In the case of Furcal and Cameron, I believe they were the MVPs of teams going to the playoffs.
1. Derek Jeter, SS, NYY: The Yankees captain had a terrific season. He was 2nd in the AL in AVG (.343) and 4th in OBP (.417). Jeter was also 2nd in R (118), 3rd in H (214), and 7th in SB (34 with only 5 CS). Derek played in 154 games and did a
little bit lot of this and a little bit lot of that. Did I mention that he hit .388/.489/.592 with runners in scoring position?
Like it or not but Jeter will probably win his third consecutive Gold Glove, too [corrected version]. Add it all up and you have a player who hit, ran the bases, and played defense for a team that had the biggest margin of victory over its division opponents.
2. Johan Santana, SP, MIN - Led MLB in W (19), ERA (2.77), and K (245)
3. Joe Mauer, C, MIN - .347/.429/.507 (first catcher to lead MLB in AVG)
4. Grady Sizemore, CF, CLE - .290/.375/.533, 53 2B, 11 3B, 28 HR, 22 SB in 162 G
5. Jermaine Dye, RF, CWS - .315/.385/.622, 44 HR, 120 RBI
6. David Ortiz, DH, BOS - .287/.413/.636, 54 HR, 137 RBI, 119 BB (led AL in WPA)
7. Justin Morneau, 1B, MIN - .321/.375/.559, 34 HR, 130 RBI
8. Carlos Guillen, SS, DET - .320/.400/.519, 41 2B, 19 HR, 100 R, 20 SB
9. Roy Halladay, SP, TOR - 16-5, 3.19 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
10. Travis Hafner, DH, CLE - .308/.439/.659, 42 HR, 117 RBI, 100 BB
Just missed: Frank Thomas, DH, OAK - .270/.381/.545, 39 HR, 114 RBI
I would not wince at all if Johan Santana won the MVP. Unfortunately, I don't think the best pitcher in baseball stands much of a chance and, in fact, would be surprised if he finishes in the top five. Sad but true.
You know the competition is fierce when I can't find room on my ballot for Manny Ramirez (.321/.439/.619, 35 HR, 102 RBI, 100 BB), Jim Thome (.288/.416/.598, 42 HR, 109 RBI, 107 BB), and Jason Giambi (.253/.413/.558, 37 HR, 113 RBI, 110 BB). Just goes to show how valuable C, SS, 2B, and CF are, especially in the AL where there are 14 DHs competing with all the position players for batting stats. Or how about Alex Rodriguez? He had one of the best seasons ever for someone so ridiculed in the press. A third baseman on the best team in baseball, putting up a .290/.392/.523 line along with 35 HR and 121 RBI would normally be in the discussion for league MVP. Not this year.