Every time I pat the voters on the back, like I did for their AL Cy Young selection of Felix Hernandez, they turn around and do something a bit odd. In a piece entitled Who is the NL MVP?, I made a case for a narrow, and I mean razor thin, victory for Joey Votto over Albert Pujols. The Baseball Writers Association of America got it right in giving the award to Votto, so what am I scratching my head over? The results. Here they are:
Joey Votto: 31 1st place votes, one 2nd, for 443 points
Albert Pujols: one first, 21 2nd, eight 3rd, one 4th, one sixth, for 279 points
Carlos Gonzalez: 0-7-13-5-4-2-1, for 240 points.
Votto and Pujols were the only two players listed on every ballot. I have no idea in the world how CarGo wasn’t deemed at least the 10th best player by one voter who should have their credentials revoked, but I’m even more aghast at the fact that Votto was a near unanimous selection. Again, I’m not saying that Votto didn’t deserve the award, but 31 of 32 first place votes? After all, Pujols did lead the NL in RBI (118) and runs (115), it’s not like he as crushed in a myriad of other categories by Votto.
Pujols: .312/.414/.596, 42 HRs, 14 SBs, 39 doubles, 103 BB, 76 Ks
Votto: .324/.424/.600, 37 HRs, 16 SBs, 36 doubles, 91 BB, 125 Ks
There is simply no way that I can fathom this situation ending up with Votto being a near unanimous selection.
Let the bashing of me begin since I’m sure I will get a host of emails saying ‘but Votto’s Reds made the playoffs’ to which I will reply – so flipping what? This isn’t tennis folks. Baseball is a team game, and no matter how great a player is, no one person can win anything by his lonesome. This is about as tired an argument as I ever come across, and year after year you hear countless people espousing this nonsense. As near as I can figure it, this very line of reasoning must have been why Adrian Gonzalez received 197 points while Ryan Braun picked up only 19. After all, the Padres just missed the playoffs and the Brewers were well under .500 at 77-85. I would be much more willing to accept a line of argument along the lines of (a) Gonzalez plays in atrocious park for hitters and (b) he had all of that success with hardly any support in the lineup. Still, results are results, and I just don’t see how Gonzalez demolished Braun in the vote given their production.
Gonzalez: .298-31-101-87 with a .393 OBP, .511 SLG
R. Braun: .304-25-103-101-14 with a .366 OBP, .501 SLG
Speaking of Braun, I had him fourth on my ballot. It’s possible that I took too much of a “fantasy centered” approach in selection Braun for his 5×5 talents, but there is NO FLIPPING WAY that he should have finished behind Jayson Werth (52 points), Martin Prado (51 points) and Ryan Howard (50 points). I love Buster Posey (40 points), but he also shouldn’t have been ahead of Braun either. I don’t what is more shocking – Scott Rolen (26 points) finishing higher than Braun or Ryan Howard getting a second place vote for his worst full season ever? What cruel joke is being played here?
One final point. How in the world does Roy Halladay finish 6th in the NL MVP vote with 130 points when Adam Wainwright, who produced nearly identical totals this season (you can read about that situation in NL Cy Young and an Import) received just 12 points?
Someone has some explaining to do.
By Ray Flowers