Purple Row Awards: National League MVP

The round of imaginary hardware-dispensing concludes today, in the form of the National League MVP. This is the last of the six awards voted on by the staff, and the third unanimous one, after which we will all have to sit back and wait for the real ones to be announced, then scoff behind our hands that they are clearly not as deserving as ours.

As Jabberwocky Poseidon warned, the choice may indeed be slightly contentious. Wanna see why? You have to JUMP.

Our new and improved, fail-safe magic baseball minds hereby unveil to you the best possible choice in all of baseball for the coveted MVP award....


David Eckstein

#22 / Second Base / San Diego Padres

5-7

175

R

R

Jan 20, 1975

 



G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2009 - David Eckstein 136 503 64 131 27 2 2 50 39 46 3 1 .260 .323 .334



Yeah, your jaws are on the floor. But listen people, Eckstein was the cream of the crop this year. Whether it was his SCORP (Scrappiness Over Replacement Player) at 6.7, his Grit/9 at a appropriately gritty 11.4/9, or his Shortness/Hustle ratio (1:1) he topped the charts in every category you care to look at. Which is why we here at Purple Row unanimously award the Most Valuable Pest to Davi --

/is passed envelope

hangon er

/clears throat

I'm afraid there has been some kind of terrible mistake. Instead of awarding Most Valuable Pest, we're here to award Most Valuable Player. You know, one that is good at playing baseball. (But may not be quite as short, gritty, or scrappy as Eckstein. This is a travesty).

Actually, well, no. It's not. And the choice is still unanimous.

******


1. Albert Pujols

#5 / First Base / St. Louis Cardinals

6-3

230

R

R

Jan 16, 1980

 


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2009 - Albert Pujols 160 568 124 186 45 1 47 135 115 64 16 4 .327 .443 .658



Okay, okay, I promise we're done yanking your chain now. As if it was going to be anybody else. Even for a guy with standards as high as Albert Pujols, the 2009 campaign was exceptional. You can reel off stat lines that look like video game numbers, but here's just a sample of which categories he led in this year, both traditional and sabergeek alike: OPS, runs scored, total bases, home runs, Adjusted OPS, Runs Created, extra base hits, times on base, Offensive Win Percentage, IBBs, and Home Run Per At-bat. He was third in batting average and RBI, but not by much. And he was doing all this even before acquiring his Tonto in the form of our old pal Matt Holliday. Baseball-Reference lists his top 5 comparisons through the age of 28: Jimmie Foxx, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Lou Gehrig, and Ken Griffey Jr. That's a pretty impressive list. And now, Albert, we ask that you make some space in your glittering trophy case for our humble, as well as imaginary, Purple Row Award. Aw, thanks. Aw, no, really. It's our pleasure. C'mon, man, you're embarrassing us.


2. Troy Tulowitzki

#2 / Shortstop / Colorado Rockies

6-3

205

R

R

Oct 10, 1984

 


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2009 - Troy Tulowitzki 151 543 101 161 25 9 32 92 73 112 20 11 .297 .377 .552



Call this a homer pick if you like. It probably is. But despite purple-colored glasses being clamped so firmly on our faces, we were able to look at what Tulo did since June 8th -- when he changed his stance -- and the resultant part his performance played in spurring a team to one of the all-time biggest turnarounds of all time. From being the second-worst team in baseball (thank you Washington Nationals) to coming so damn close to stealing the NL West title out from beneath a Dodgers team that had had it on ice since May, there's a lot of ways to say that the Rockies' season was special. And as the point was often made by sportswriters, as Tulo goeth, so goeth the Rockies. He was undoubtedly the MVP of the team, and yes, we do feel ourselves justified in handing off second-place honors to him here. It's such a steep drop from Pujols to Number Two, moreover, that it's not really a problem.


t -3. Chase Utley

#26 / Second Base / Philadelphia Phillies

6-1

200

L

R

Dec 17, 1978

 


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2009 - Chase Utley 156 571 112 161 28 4 31 93 88 110 23 0 .282 .397 .508





t-3. Hanley Ramirez

#2 / Shortstop / Florida Marlins

6-3

200

B

R

Dec 23, 1983

 


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2009 - Hanley Ramirez 151 576 101 197 42 1 24 106 61 101 27 8 .342 .410 .543



Coming in tied at third were a pair of NL East beasts, Chase Utley and Hanley Ramirez. Utley's numbers were more or less equal with Tulo's, and he was a vital part of a team that has now found itself in possession of its second consecutive pennant, but on a lineup like that, which had something like 5 guys over 30 homers, it's hard for me at least to say that he was particularly the most valuable. Undoubtedly the best-hitting second baseman in MLB, Utley is normally more defensively reliable than he was in the NLDS, and while he is a deserving candidate, it's only for second or third-place honors.

Hanley Ramirez continues his growth as one of the most dynamic players in the game (another NL shortstop wearing #2, I can get behind it) and I'm really hoping that next year, he and Tulo will combine to knock Rollins and Reyes (ugh) off the list of premier shortstops. All he did was hit, but lost some points (again, at least from me) for the rumors of his not exactly being a team player at times, and getting into clubhouse scuffles with Dan Uggla. Plus, the Marlins faded pretty steeply at a time they were still as much in the race as the Braves. Yeah, yeah, you can argue all you like about whether it means best player solely by stats or best player in regards to the team. I am firmly of the latter camp, which was why I was so disgusted when A-Rod won AL MVP a few years ago for a last-place Texas Rangers team.

Here's full disclosure of silly and/or lunatic voting by your hard-working staff:

NL MVP

RMN

PF

togb

Russ

Silverblood

Jabbs

1

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols

2

Chase Utley

Hanley Ramirez

Pablo Sandoval

Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki

Chase Utley

3

Hanley Ramirez

Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki

Chase Utley

Ryan Howard

Hanley Ramirez

4

Adrian Gonzalez

Chase Utley

Hanley Ramirez

Ryan Zimmerman

Adrian Gonzalez

Troy Tulowitzki

5

Troy Tulowitzki

Tim Lincecum

Matt Kemp

Hanley Ramirez

Pablo Sandoval

Matt Kemp

 

Full table of points, again weighted on a 50-40-30-20-10 scale:

Albert Pujols (300)
Troy Tulowitzki (170)
Chase Utley and Hanley Ramirez (130)
Pablo Sandoval (50)
Adrian Gonzalez (40)
Ryan Howard (30)
Ryan Zimmerman (20)
Matt Kemp (20)
Tim Lincecum (10)

This is the end of the Purple Row Awards, everyone. Thank ya very much. Now we sit back and wait for the Hot Stove. First offseason move: Joel Peralta outrighted. I think we all support that.

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