If you say the NL MVP should go to anyone other than Albert Pujols you have taken one too many hits of the hookah pipe. Still, I find it a bit distasteful too only review some of the award races, and since I’ve already gone over the NL Cy Young and the AL Cy Young, I thought it prudent to continue my way around the big time baseball awards for 2009.
With that, here is my top-10 ballot for NL MVP. It’s a tough call choosing just 10 guys, but at least I know the difference between BABIP and batters eye, whereas I would posit the position that well over half the people who vote for the award think those two terms come from the proposed healthcare initiative in Congress.
One final note. I do NOT believe that pitchers should be eligible for the MVP. They have their own award, so leave this one to the hitter’s fellas.
10 – Derrek Lee
Not much went right for the Cubs this season, but after a brutal start (.189 with one homer in April), Lee rebounded to hit .306 with 35 homers, 111 RBI and 91 runs scored.
9 – Mark Reynolds
Yes he set a major league record with 223 strikeouts, an unmitigated disaster, but at the same time he socked 44 long balls, knocked in 102 runs, finished just two runs shy of scoring 100 times and stole 24 bases. That’s a terrific season even if you hit just .260.
8 – Matt Kemp
Though he slumped in the end hitting just .224 over his last 30 games, Kemp was the main man in a lineup that missed Manny Ramirez for 50-games. Kemp hit .297 with 26 homers, 101 RBI, 97 runs and even stole 34 bases. Just imagine how good his numbers might have been if he didn’t have 250 of his at-bats in the seventh and eight holes.
7 – Ryan Howard
For the fourth straight year he had at least 45-homers and 135-RBI (he had 45 and 141). Even though he also posted 180-Ks for the fourth straight year, he managed to tie his career best of 105 runs while posting a .931 OPS for the Fighting Phils.
6 – Pablo Sandoval
Pablo for President. Sandoval finished second in the league with a .330 batting average, hit 25 homers, knocked in 90 runs and had a .943 OPS that was seventh in the Senior Circuit, and he did all this in a lineup of hitters that couldn’t hit .300 in a high school game (OK, maybe college).
5 – Ryan Braun
His numbers (.320-32-114-113-20) are better than the man ahead of him on the list, but Braun is a middling defender who only impacts the game on one side of the field. Still, few do it better with a bat in their hands.
4 – Troy Tulowitzki
Undoubtedly the major reason the Rockies turned their season around, Tulo hit .226 with five home runs the first two months (46 games) before going bonkers at the dish leading to a .297-32-92-101-20 line. Those are tremendous numbers for anyone, let alone when they belong to the man that just might be the best defensive shortstop in the National League.
3 – Prince Fielder
Prince socked 46 long balls, knocked in major league best 141 runs (tied with Howard) and managed to hit .299 with 110 walks leading to a .412 OBP the fifth best mark in the NL. He was also one of two men to top a grand in OPS with his mark of 1.014
2 – Hanley Ramirez
Didn’t match his previous totals in the steal department (27) but he led the NL in average (.342), had a higher OPS (.954) and Ryan Braun (.937), scored 101 times while knocking in 106 and also socked 24 long balls. Another tremendous season it was for the Marlins’ shortstop.
1 – Albert Pujols
Pujols led the majors with 47 homers and an OPS of 1.101 OPS, and he also knocked in 135, scored 124 times, stole 16 bases for good measure led the NL in OBP (.443) and the majors in SLG (.658). The man is flat out historic.
By Ray Flowers