NL MVP Wrap Up
The National League MVP is easy: Albert Pujols both will and should win. This will be his third MVP, a number artificially depressed by the legacy of Barry Bonds. The interesting question then becomes how to fill out the rest of the ballot.
MVP voters get to put 10 names on a ballot. Here is mine with brief explanations:
1. Albert Pujols – The most dominant player in the game. Leads the majors in OBP, SLG, OPS.
2. Chase Utley – Another fantastic year, coming back from hip surgery. Better with the glove than Ramirez and slightly higher in wins above replacement.
3. Hanley Ramirez – Will lead the league in batting average. Great all around numbers and a better shortstop than in the past.
4. Prince Fielder – Not his fault the Brewers did not return to the playoffs. Will likely lead the league in RBI’s and is second in OPS.
5. Tim Lincecum – Carried a team that couldn’t hit. Even more valuable as Matt Cain collapsed down the stretch.
6. Derrek Lee – Outstanding year with the disappointing Cubs. Has rivaled Pujols as the best player in the National League since the All Star break. Drops because the award is for a full season, and his first half lags behind the rest of the list.
7. Chris Carpenter – Though I think Adam Wainwright has had the better season, the Cardinals improved dramatically with the return of Carpenter. He is second among NL pitchers in WAR. (Matt Holliday has not played enough for me to consider him.)
8. Pablo Sandoval – The only Giant that resembles a real hitter. Second in the league in batting average with no protection from his lineup.
9. Troy Tulowitzki – An excellent shortstop, with a better OPS than a pure hitter like Ryan Braun.
10. Ryan Braun – An unimpressive outfielder, but he sure can hit. 9th in the NL, two spots behind Sandoval and one behind Tulowitzki in OPS.
A special award: Worst player in the National League: Emilio Bonifacio. Dead last among qualified players in OPS. He is the worst because he combines horrible hitting, below average fielding at important fielding positions, and was an important contributor to the Marlins falling just short of the playoffs.