Baseballistic
All Things Baseball

MVP! MVP! MVP! — Who’s Earned the Award?

The MVP is the most prestigious award given away in baseball, in my opinion at least, and it goes to the two players (one from each league) who have had terrific seasons, but have also done something extra to help their team.  Whether that’s contributing in the dugout, in multiple aspects of the game itself, or helping the team reach the playoffs, the annual MVPs exhibit unique talent on the field.  Here are my picks for this season’s Most Valuable Players. 

AMERICAN LEAGUE:

Justin Morneau

While two of his teammates, Johan Santana and Joe Mauer, are easily deserving of the award, Justin Morneau has both of them, and the AL East candidates beat.  Morneau is batting .323 with 34HR and 129RBI this season.  He has an OBP of .378 and an SLG of .566.  Morneau has also been terrific when it matters, batting .359 in September, and leading the Twins to the top of the AL Central (they are currently tied with Detroit).  An even split against southpaws and northpaws (.318/.326) and a spectacular .339 average at the pitcher-friendly Metrodome make Justin Morneau’s 2006 season even more impressive.  And, on top of all that, Morneau has hit .325 with Runners in Scoring Position (RISP) —  better than David Ortiz and Travis Hafner — bested only by Derek Jeter’s unbelievable .387 among this year’s candidates.  That’s plenty to make a rock-solid case for Justin Morneau as this year’s AL MVP. 

2nd:  Derek Jeter

3rd:  David Ortiz

4th:  Johan Santana

5th:  Frank Thomas

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Ryan Howard

With all due respect to Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, and the rest of the NL’s best, Ryan Howard is the best player in the National League this year.  Howard is batting .316 with an MLB-best 58HR and 146RBI.  His OBP is .412 and his SLG is .668.  He hasn’t quite gotten the concept of hitting with RISP, but having with Howard leading the league in RBI’s, his .250 batting average with RISP doesn’t much matter.  What does matter is that Ryan Howard is hitting .334 against righties and .280 against lefties, in other words, he’s successful against a pitcher throwing with either arm.  Howard also does well at home and on the road, with a .309 batting average at Citizens Bank Park, and a .323 mark away from Philly.  But far more impressive than both of those statistics is Ryan Howard’s September batting average.  #6 is batting .412 this month — there is no adjective with enough positive magnitude to accurately describe that.  He is batting .426 over the last 30 days — even more indescribable.  Clearly, Ryan Howard is doing his part to push the Phillies into the playoffs, though his efforts may not be enough, with Philadelphia trailing LA by 2 games in the Wildcard.  It’ll be a shame if Ryan Howard’s votes drop because Philly misses the playoffs, because in my book, he’s the clear-cut winner of the NL MVP award. 

2nd: Albert Pujols

3rd: Lance Berkman

4th: Carlos Beltran

5th: Miguel Cabrera

So your Baseballistic MVP’s for 2006 are…

AL: Justin Morneau

NL: Ryan Howard

2006 is clearly the year of the first-basemen!

_______________________________________________________________

Trivia Time!

Yesterday’s Q and correct A are…

Q: The Dodgers last won the World Series in 1988.  Who was the MVP of that Series?

A: Orel Herschiser

Congrats to Shawn Patterson for getting the correct answer. 

Today’s question is…

Who was the last Minnesota Twins player to win the MVP award?

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