"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


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:

Name AVG/OBP/SLG EQA (rank) VORP (rank) R HR RBI SB (%) POS Rate
Albert Pujols .330/.430/.609 .344 (2) 98.8 (2) 129 41 117 16 (89%) 1B 102
Derrek Lee .335/.418/.662 .347 (1) 106 (1) 120 46 107 15 (83%) 1B 109
Andruw Jones .263/.347/.575 .299 (26) 60.9 (11) 95 51 128 5 (63%) CF 102

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?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver