NL MVP

Settle down, everybody. Yes, Ryan Howard won the MVP. No, it’s not a "travesty." Pujols didn’t get "cheated" or "robbed" or "jobbed" — all terms I’ve seen in my email today.

This is not like if Weekend at Bernie’s II had won a Best Picture Oscar. It’s not like Pat Buchanan getting 50 percent of the votes in Palm Beach County. It’s not a case of East Coast Bias, or idiocy, or anything other than honest disagreement.

Would I have voted for Albert Pujols if I had a vote? Yep, absolutely. But it would have been very, very close; honestly, a tough decision. Pujols has the edge in some significant categories (OBP and SLG come to my mind, though both those edges were fairly small). But Howard had the edge in one major one that a lot of Cardinals fans seem to be ignoring — games played. He played in 159 games, Pujols 143. That’s a big deal. That’s 16 games where Howard was providing value to his team and Pujols was not.

I know Pujols has never been on the DL before. I know he plays through a lot of pain. I know it’s not his fault he was on the DL. But the fact remains, he was. And that matters.

Currently playing on the speakers: Wilco, Kicking Television

-M.

15 Comments

Well put, Matthew. Howard deserves it just as much as Pujols, and he put up gaudier numbers; it’s hard to vote against 58 HR and 149 RBI – or against the kind of finish he had. Plus, you gotta love to see a local boy shine. But did you see that Albert got one THIRD PLACE vote? That’s the travesty. I know the voting is anonymous (right?) but can you make any kind of argument for putting Howard and someone else (looking at the voting it’s probably Beltran) above Albert?

on another note, have you seen the “Sunken Treasure” DVD of Jeff Tweedy live and solo? I’m not much of a live music DVD fan, but from what I’ve seen of him solo, it’s pretty good. Wonder if you can download just the tunes and not have to buy the dvd…

But Pujols is a plus defender in the field, while howard is a butcher. Pujols had more winshares, a higher VORP, EQA, and WARP, so the playing time arguement is moot. Even though pujols missed 16 more games than Howard, he still provided more value to his team overall. Probably about an extra 2-3 wins when defense is taken into account.

Pujols was the clear choice, but it’s not that bad of a choice. Now, Morneau winning the AL MVP is a joke, he was the third most valuable player on his team.

Again, as I said, I’d have voted for Pujols. I think he was the better choice. And the defense issue is a significant one.

But I am just stunned by the reaction I’ve gotten today, the number of people who are convinced that there’s a conspiracy or something.

And, yeah, I’m with you on Morneau. Nice player. But Mauer and Santana probably would have had 2 of the top 3 spots on my AL ballot. If I had one, of course.

-M.

I know what you’re talking about, and you’re reaction is about the same as all the Sabr guys I talk to, they’d have voted for Pujols, but Howard isn’t indefensible.

It simply seems to me that the games Pujols missed might, in fact, suggest that — when playing — he was that much more valuable… especially since he was hotter than lava when he got hurt. It’s not indefensible but, like you, I’d have gone Pujols’ direction.

What do you know about the rumor of trading Juan Encarnacion & Braden Looper for Mike Maroth & Marcus Thames of the Tigers?
If it happens, what’s your take?

http://rumormill.mlblogs.com/

Isn’t the mvp award for the most valuable player? Or is it for the player with the best stats? If the Cardinals did not have Albert Pujols they would have never have won the world series. If the Phillies did not have Ryan Howard they still would have
been 86-77 (or a lot worse). Howard had a great year and maybe a better year then Pujols but Pujols was more valuable

I feel the same way about the vote as everyone else here (Pujols clearly but narrowly over Howard, still not grossly unreasonable to have Howard as MVP, while the AL MVP is ridiculous), but Matthew, this one’s for you as regards the “why” of the whole thing. The Baseball Prospectus guys, whom I generally respect while not always agreeing with them, have opined that this one came about because writers are overly impressed by “counting” stats — particularly RBI totals. Would you agree with that? Do lots of people in the circles you move in look at RBIs as a powerful measure of “value” rather than one of how many guys are on base when the guy with the RBIs comes up?

Say what you want about BP, but their point that you can’t drive in runners who aren’t on base is valid, and Pujols had FAR fewer guys on ahead of him than Howard. That’s not Albert’s fault, and to me it makes using RBIs as an MVP justification pretty silly. But do people actually do it?

Aparently,Its all about Home runs, and RBI’s Not about the quality of the over all picture.Come on matthew wake up and smell the biased votes Barry didn’t play pumped up. Wow Howard hit 58 homers.149 RBI’s A great accomplishment did it get his team to world series Ah NO.He had a great hitting season, I didn’t know it is the only thing that got someone the MVP it should include the defense also.Albert missed fifteen games, and I know if he were healthy and wasn’t on the DL. He easily could have 60+ homers and over 150 RBI’s. MVP is an individual Award last time i checked, not about how the team was doing in September.If your memory goes back to april Albert hit 14 home runs in the month of April which I don’t think Howard was close to having. Look at the numbers and really look hard because Albert blows Howard away. I think it would be a difrent tune if Albert were wearing pinstripes and not the Birds on the bat across his chest, and everyone knows it. In my eyes he will always be a Cardinal. ESPN can’t stop spewing New York and Boston dirt like they are the only two teams in baseball.Sorry to disapoint but there are twenty eight other teams. Any way in my book Albert was over looked because of the Uniform on his back, and that is the sad truth. Cardinals Fan for life.

Matt-That’s what made Pujols’s year so special, is that in his 143 games he still but up better numbers in every category but HR’s and RBI, and he was worth more in the win column if accept some of the metrics out there. It seems that’s all the writers cared about was HR’s and RBI. Can we get out of the stone age? That and Ryan Howard is a good story, and Pujols is just consistently good, so I feel he’s kinda taken for granted. I just think the writers will one day be sorry they didn’t recognize Pujols more one day and for being kinda like bandwagon jumpers. Howard was amazing, but Pujols was considerably more so IMO.

There’s no bias involved. I don’t have a vote, but I talk to most of the people who do. None of them have anything against Pujols or St. Louis. SportsCenter anchors don’t vote; no one on ESPN votes.

If pinstripes guaranteed you an MVP, then why was Jeter shorted in the AL, in a year when he should have won?

The fact is, a lot of the voters/writers don’t use the numbers as more than a guide. I was having a conversation with a BBWAA member (not an MVP voter) who is a good friend of mine yesterday, and this is what we came to: for most voters, it’s a very nebulous process, not methodical. It’s kind of a gut thing for a lot of people, I think. Not to suggest that they don’t take it seriously, because they do.

Basically, though, the point of my original post is the point I’m still trying to make — just because you don’t agree, that doesn’t make it the result of bias or a conspiracy, doesn’t make it a travesty of justice.

-M.

The conspiracy theories baffle me to no end. I think it’s insulting to the voting members of the BBWAA to insinuate that they’ve somehow banded together to keep Pujols (or any other members of the Cardinal team) from winning an award. Do you all really think that they sit in their respective chairs, rubbing their hands together and twirling their mustaches, delighting in “robbing” a Cardinal player of an award?

It seems to me that part of being the “best fans in baseball” means being gracious losers, too, and tipping your hat when someone else wins. Even when the person who won wasn’t your choice.

just to clarify, there is a coastal bias just as there is a midwesterner bias. if you look at the votes, those writers on the coasts voted for howard, generally speaking, and those not on the coasts voted for albert.

Matthew: please for everyone’s sanity put up another post just to change the subject so we don’t have to keep reading all this whining and moaning! Baseball is a team game, and while Albert didnt win the MVP (and Carpenter didnt win the Cy Young and Duncan didnt win the ROY and LaRussa didnt win MOY) only one TEAM won the most important thing – the World Series. My hats off to those individual players who had great seasons, but more props to the TEAM that won the whole thing even with a relatively ineffective Pujols. Go Cards.

I think Pujols deserved it. Howard had more homers and he played in more games. Pujols got his team to playoffs so that helps Pujols more. Pujols also had 49 homers which is very impressive.

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