To conclude the Purple Row Awards, today we're going to unveil our balloting for the NL MVP Award.
As Andrew Martin wrote yesterday, the criteria for selecting the Most Valuable Player is pretty complicated and varies wildly. Personally, I lean pretty heavily on value stats when making my selections, giving less weight to contextual greatness than most.
Like the PR staff AL MVP voting, there were 10 players mentioned for the award. Also like the AL MVP voting, the PR staff were unanimous in their selection as MVP.
First Place -- Joey Votto, Cincinatti Reds
#19 / First Base / Cincinnati Reds
Sep 10, 1983
|2010 - Joey Votto||150||547||106||177||36||2||37||113||91||125||16||5||.324||.424||.600|
Votto didn't win the Triple Crown this year (2nd in BA, 3rd in HR and RBI), or even the Triple Slash Crown (BA/OBP/SLG), but he did get two out of three of the latter, leading the NL in OBP and SLG (and wOBA with an incredible .439, 177 wRC+, 7.4 WAR). The Canadian slugger, who just turned 27, will be a force for years to come.
Second Place -- Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
#5 / First Base / St. Louis Cardinals
Jan 16, 1980
|2010 - Albert Pujols||159||587||115||183||39||1||42||118||103||76||14||4||.312||.414||.596|
Pujols won 2/3 of the traditional Triple Crown, edging CarGo by one RBI and hitting four more homers than Adam Dunn, but he just couldn't match Votto's superior SABR stats or the fact that the Reds made the playoffs while the Cardinals did not. His .312/.414/.596 line (.420 wOBA, 169 wRC+, 7.3 WAR) was good enough to garner five of seven second place votes, however.
Pujols has already been MVP three times in his career, and has placed second in MVP voting three additional times. In fact, 2007 (when he probably deserved to win) was the only time in his career in which he didn't finish in the top four of MVP voting. He'll likely be first or second in this year's vote. The 30 year-old Pujols' career track so far (30 HRs, 100 RBIs, lowest WAR 5.7, next lowest 7.3) places him among the greatest ever to play the game. Marvel as the slugger assaults the record books.
Third Place -- Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
#5 / Left Field / Colorado Rockies
Oct 17, 1985
|2010 - Carlos Gonzalez||145||587||111||197||34||9||34||117||40||135||26||8||.336||.376||.598|
I wrote about CarGo's excellent 2010 offensive campaign at length last week. What I didn't bring up was CarGo's negative defense value, which certainly hurts his WAR (6.0 currently, would be closer to 6.3 if he was rated as league average). It's tough to properly evaluate CarGo's defense.
He is negative not only using UZR, but also Total Zone and DIPS. Making his rating even more confusing is that he's rated as slightly above league average according to UZR at cavernous Coors Field (0.4) but negative on the road (-4.1). However, he certainly passes the eye test, showing great range and a great arm at all three outfield positions. It's definitely something to watch going forward with CarGo, but as for now let's enjoy the NL batting champion's stellar 2010 season at the plate.
Fourth Place -- Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
#11 / Third Base / Washington Nationals
Sep 28, 1984
|2010 - Ryan Zimmerman||142||525||85||161||32||0||25||85||69||98||4||1||.307||.388||.510|
Zimmerman is almost criminally underrated. His 7.2 WAR narrowly finished behind Votto and Pujols, and while his offensive stats aren't as impressive as those two (only a .389 wOBA), his fantastic defense at third base (13.9 UZR) is sixth in the NL overall. Hopefully the Nationals will be competitive while they still possess the services of the superlative Zimmerman.
Fifth Place (T) -- Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
#2 / Short Stop / Colorado Rockies
Oct 10, 1984
|2010 - Troy Tulowitzki||122||470||89||148||32||3||27||95||48||78||11||2||.315||.381||.568|
This is largely on the strength of Tulo's huge September, which I wrote about last week. Tulo (6.4 WAR, .408 wOBA) also managed an excellent 7.1 UZR at the SS position (behind only Stephen Drew's 8.7) and will probably win his first Gold Glove. Right now Tulo might be the best shortstop in MLB (he certainly was the best in 2010), though Hanley Ramirez has a better track record.
Fifth Place (T) -- Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres
#23 / First Base / San Diego Padres
May 08, 1982
|2010 - Adrian Gonzalez||160||591||87||176||33||0||31||101||93||114||0||0||.298||.393||.511|
The only offensive horse on a team that almost went to the postseason, the other Gonzalez would put up much better offensive numbers if he didn't play his home games underwater. He managed to accumulate 5.3 WAR and almost willed his team into the postseason. He'll definitely be on the trade block this winter, as San Diegans didn't respond well to a winner this year.
|Zimmerman||C. Gonzalez||Tulowitzki||Holliday||C. Gonzalez||Pujols||Pujols|
|C. Gonzalez||Zimmerman||A. Gonzalez||Zimmerman||A. Gonzalez||Heyward||Tulowitzki|
|A. Gonzalez||Halladay||Torres||A. Gonzalez||Tulowitzki||Holliday||Holliday|