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NL MVP RACE


STL FANATIC

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We've got about a third of the baseball season left, and right now there is an amazing race going on in the NL for the MVP. I figured I start a discussion on it.

You've got Derrek Lee who has had an amazing career year up to this point, but over the last few weeks has slowly started to comeback down to earth. Still, his stats are amazing and far above what he's done before.

Then, you've got Albert Pujols who is having a great year, though it's just about average for his career to this point. He hasn't really had a hot streak yet this year, but he has climbed right up with Lee.

Then, not quite with Lee and Pujols, at least not yet, is Miguel Cabrera. He's right up with them in some areas, but then not quite there in others. A prolonged hot streak would do it for him though.

I put together this little graphic for my sig to keep track of the MVP race. I opted not to include Cabrera, but I'm not discounting his season. He's got a chance.

mvp.gif

A few weeks ago I think I would have given the MVP to Lee just barely. Contrary to my All Star Game criteria, previous seasons should have no factor in MVP voting whatsoever, so, to me Lee was having the best season, and by enough that the playoff factor didn't matter.

Now, Pujols is right there with him and ahead in some categories, and I think when you factor in the playoffs, Pujols is at least tied with Lee.

I'm iffy on the playoffs thing though. I mean, if the award is the most valuable player to a team, isn't it more likely that a star player on a non-playoff team is more valuable to his team than a star player on a playoff team that is likely filled with other stars?

That said, the voters always use the playoff as there reasons on controversial votes. Actually, scratch that, seems like lately the playoffs only matter when it's a Cardinal who is just as deserving as the winner. Like in '98 when Sosa beat McGwire out, all the voters used the playoff excuse. And when Bonds beat Pujols in '03, it was the playoff excuse again. Yet, when Bonds beat Pujols (and Rolen) just last year in '04, the playoffs didnt mean a thing. That might just be me being bitter, but it's a legit beef, and I'd like to see the voters be consistant (and not in passing over Cards, heh).

So, anyways, right now, I think it's too close to call. Pujols and Lee's seasons are near identical, but with the Cards being in the playoffs, and well, me being a Cards fan, if I had to choose, right now I'd go with Pujols.

Your thoughts?

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It's getting closer, but Lee has it at the moment. Considering he's the only offense the Cubs have really had all season, it's gotta go to Lee even if it does become a dead-heat.

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I'd have to lean towards Lee at this point...

AP's had a quality year and yah, the Cards have had their share of injuries to the lineup, but the Cards have been well neigh dominant all season long (they're the class of the NL, IMO, and probably the odds on faves to repeat as NL Champs)...

However, take away Lee's year from the Cubs and they're brawling it out at the bottom of the NL Central instead of kind of hanging around in the WC race...

Cabrera's an intriguing pick, but the Marlins have been a huge disappointment this year...not Miggy's fault though as he's been the Fish's go-to guy all season long.

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Those of you who say the Cubs don't even CONTEND for the Wild Card without Lee...you might be right.

However, in 2003, the Cards had a chance at the playoffs until the final games of the season (they finished 3 out in the division--in third behind the Cubs and the Astros who were 1 out). The Giants ran away with the NL West. Pujols had at least an equal, and probably a better season than Bonds. Pujols in fact won pretty much every other player of the year award. Yet, the MVP went to Bonds and the reason giving by the voters was because the Giants made the playoffs.

If Bonds got the MVP then because of that, I don't think it'd be fair to give it to Lee this year for the exact oppisite reason.

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Lee. And it may be getting closer, but really, it's not that close. Lee leads in just about every stat. More HR's, higher average, and just barely behind in RBI's, while Pujols has better players in front of him; higher OBP, SLG%, and OPS. And he's every bit as good as, if not better than, Pujols in the field.

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Those of you who say the Cubs don't even CONTEND for the Wild Card without Lee...you might be right.

However, in 2003, the Cards had a chance at the playoffs until the final games of the season (they finished 3 out in the division--in third behind the Cubs and the Astros who were 1 out). The Giants ran away with the NL West. Pujols had at least an equal, and probably a better season than Bonds. Pujols in fact won pretty much every other player of the year award. Yet, the MVP went to Bonds and the reason giving by the voters was because the Giants made the playoffs.

If Bonds got the MVP then because of that, I don't think it'd be fair to give it to Lee this year for the exact oppisite reason.

No... Bonds got it because he was walked 148 times, and still managed 45 HR's and 90 RBI's in 130 games. And it didn't hurt that he had a OBP of .529 and an OPS of 1.278.

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Lee. And it may be getting closer, but really, it's not that close. Lee leads in just about every stat. More HR's, higher average, and just barely behind in RBI's, while Pujols has better players in front of him; higher OBP, SLG%, and OPS. And he's every bit as good as, if not better than, Pujols in the field.

I'm not gonna argue that it couldn't be Lee, but it's really ignorant to say it's not that close. It's VERY close.

While you note that Pujols "barely" leads Lee in RBI, Lee just "barely" leads Pujols in HRs and OBP. Lee's lead in AVG is also not very much and could easily turn around in 2 weeks.

All that, while Pujols leads Lee in runs scored by a slim to fair amount, and leads him in BB/K ratio by a very significant amount.

Lee's SLG and OPS lead is fair, but could easily change over a few weeks.

In terms of defense from observation and statistics (not just F%...also range and and zone factors), I'd put Pujols ahead of Lee, but I see them as both exceptional in the field. Defense is too hard to make a case for when it's not obvious, so I won't get into an arguement in that area.

I don't see how anyone can call this "not that close."

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Those of you who say the Cubs don't even CONTEND for the Wild Card without Lee...you might be right.

However, in 2003, the Cards had a chance at the playoffs until the final games of the season (they finished 3 out in the division--in third behind the Cubs and the Astros who were 1 out). The Giants ran away with the NL West. Pujols had at least an equal, and probably a better season than Bonds. Pujols in fact won pretty much every other player of the year award. Yet, the MVP went to Bonds and the reason giving by the voters was because the Giants made the playoffs.

If Bonds got the MVP then because of that, I don't think it'd be fair to give it to Lee this year for the exact oppisite reason.

No... Bonds got it because he was walked 148 times, and still managed 45 HR's and 90 RBI's in 130 games. And it didn't hurt that he had a OBP of .529 and an OPS of 1.278.

Oh, the walks is an even worse reason than the playoffs thing. Bonds numbers would be worse, not better if people pitched to him, but I'd prefer not to side track the conversation, so I'll stop there.

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While you note that Pujols "barely" leads Lee in RBI, Lee just "barely" leads Pujols in HRs and OBP. Lee's lead in AVG is also not very much and could easily turn around in 2 weeks.

I said he's barely ahead in HR's, which is the only category he leads in, because it's easier to make up 3 RBI's than it is to make up 3 HR's... no?

Are all of the stats close? Yeah, for the most part. Can they be made up in a two week hot streaK? Yes... but they can also be broken open in a 2 week hot streak. Aside from that, one player leads in just about ALL of those stats... and the one he's not, he can make up for it with one swing of a bat. It's pretty close, but it's not a coin toss like you've made it out to be. Right now, there's a clear winner.

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Those of you who say the Cubs don't even CONTEND for the Wild Card without Lee...you might be right.

However, in 2003, the Cards had a chance at the playoffs until the final games of the season (they finished 3 out in the division--in third behind the Cubs and the Astros who were 1 out). The Giants ran away with the NL West. Pujols had at least an equal, and probably a better season than Bonds. Pujols in fact won pretty much every other player of the year award. Yet, the MVP went to Bonds and the reason giving by the voters was because the Giants made the playoffs.

If Bonds got the MVP then because of that, I don't think it'd be fair to give it to Lee this year for the exact oppisite reason.

No... Bonds got it because he was walked 148 times, and still managed 45 HR's and 90 RBI's in 130 games. And it didn't hurt that he had a OBP of .529 and an OPS of 1.278.

Oh, the walks is an even worse reason than the playoffs thing. Bonds numbers would be worse, not better if people pitched to him, but I'd prefer not to side track the conversation, so I'll stop there.

So he'd have less HR's and less RBI's had he not been walked as much? :blink:

Funny thing about an average -- it doesn't get better or worse based on at bats.

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Yeah, ITE, but what if you knew you were never gonna see 3 strikes in an at bat?

Then, you could sit on a certain pitch. If you see that pitch, you swing, and you likely get a hit, and often a home run. If you don't see that pitch, you don't swing, and you'll walk.

That's essentially been all Bonds has had to do the last few years he's played.

Now, if you start throwing strikes to Bonds, but not just one certain strike, strikes all over the plate, Bonds can't just sit on a pitch. He no longer can fall back on not swinging, because there might just be three called strikes. And, his chances to hit any of those strike pitches goes down, because now he has to try and be ready for any kind of strike...any location...any speed...any movement. And now that he has to worry about strikes, you might even get him to expand his zone and swing at a ball.

I'm not saying walking Bonds in certain baseball situations isn't the right move in order to win a game. But if the point was no longer about winning, and rather about lowering Bonds personal damage, pitching to him would be the way to go.

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Pujols (another Cards fan eh?) but close

Factor in defense (he may win a gold glove) and team leadership on the best team over two years.

Also I don't buy the "Lee is the whole offense" argument. He has had Ramirez batting behind him all year and the Cards line-up has been a patchwork mess. Pujols has been consistent for three years.

I think Pujols will finish ahead of him in RBI's and average anyway and it will be a moot point

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Yeah, ITE, but what if you knew you were never gonna see 3 strikes in an at bat?

Then, you could sit on a certain pitch. If you see that pitch, you swing, and you likely get a hit, and often a home run. If you don't see that pitch, you don't swing, and you'll walk.

That's essentially been all Bonds has had to do the last few years he's played.

Now, if you start throwing strikes to Bonds, but not just one certain strike, strikes all over the plate, Bonds can't just sit on a pitch. He no longer can fall back on not swinging, because there might just be three called strikes. And, his chances to hit any of those strike pitches goes down, because now he has to try and be ready for any kind of strike...any location...any speed...any movement. And now that he has to worry about strikes, you might even get him to expand his zone and swing at a ball.

I'm not saying walking Bonds in certain baseball situations isn't the right move in order to win a game. But if the point was no longer about winning, and rather about lowering Bonds personal damage, pitching to him would be the way to go.

So did they just randomly decide to target Bonds with these intentional walks? No. They did it because he put up some of the best offensive seasons ever. To suggest he wouldn't have done the same, without the walks in 2003, is ludicrous. Look at the Giants now -- is this team really much worse than the other Giants teams would've been without Bonds?

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I have to go in another (homer-ish) direction.

I think Andrew Jones is the NL MVP. When the team was decimated by injuries, his huge bat, and always sterling Defense kept the Braves alive in the division, which they now lead.

My definition of MVP is the guy who was the most important to HIS TEAM in a year, not just the guy with the best numbers.

To me, AJ is the MVP.

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PNM, I see where your coming from. However, if you go strictly by that, then the best player on the best team will rarely win, and I don't think that's always the right choice.

ITE, they don't pitch to Bonds teams are scared of ever being beat by him. And that very well may be the smartest baseball strategy. But in terms of trying soley to lower Bonds numbers, you gotta pitch to him.

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