Individual Awards, part 1 (MVP)

Since the chance of October for our Redbirds is slowly disappearing before our eyes, I have turned my attention to rooting for the individual awards.  The Cardinals have a very legitimate chance of bring home the 3 biggest pieces of individual hardware this year.  The Cardinals competing for these awards are:

  • Albert Pujols for MVP
  • Adam Wainwright for Cy Young
  • Jaime Garcia for Rookie of the Year

Two things to note before I talk about each of these guys.  One, I would give up each of these awards for another World Series ring.  And by their comments, I know each of them feel the same way.  Two, even though I would like to see the Cardinals win, I try not to be biased.  So that’s why I’m going to compare the number and look at who I think, legitimately, should be the winner in each of these categories.  But, of course, as always, you can feel free to agree, disagree or tell me I’m crazy.  On to the awards!

MVP
Albert is a candidate every year for this award.  The awesome thing about Pujols is that even when everyone says he’s having a “down year,” his numbers are still through the charts.  Most players would kill to put up half the numbers he does in a season.  The same thing happens whenever people say he’s “slumping.”  Or most recently, they said he wouldn’t be able to hit as well because of his left elbow.  Then, he promptly went out and hit 2 home runs in the same game.  That is Albert Pujols in a nutshell.

The last time I argued for Pujols as MVP (here, if you’d like to read it), I felt his only major competition was Joey Votto.  Since that time, however, Carlos Gonzaelez, has definitely wiggled his way into the conversation.  And this late in September, I feel very confident asserting that the MVP will go to one of those 3.  So, if the season ended today, who gets it the award?  Let’s break it down.

Triple crown categories
Pujols        .308 .AVG (6th), 39 HR (1st), 104 RBI (1st)
Votto          .321 .AVG (3rd), 34 HR (2nd), 103 RBI (2nd)
Gonzalez   .337 .AVG (1st), 32 HR (4th), 101 RBI (3rd)

Other categories
Pujols         85 walks (2nd),  69 Ks,  .401 OBP (3rd), .595 .SLG (2nd)
Votto           83 walks (3rd), 112 Ks, .423 OBP (1st),   .594 .SLG (3rd)
Gonzalez    77 walks (4th), 103 Ks, .374 OBP (14th), .610 .SLG (1st)

Clutch hitting
Pujols   RISP .341/.508/.651, RISP & 2 outs .348/.595/.652, Bases loaded .125/.200/.250
Votto    RISP .381/.503/.678, RISP & 2 outs .326/.475/.674, Bases loaded . 300/.364/.600
Gonz.  RISP .317/.359/.561, RISP & 2 outs .263/.344/.456, Bases loaded  .250/.286/.500

Other factors
Even though the numbers should be based on 2010 alone, some voters will not be able to help but look at Pujols’ body of work.  He’s been consistently great for 10 seasons.  They might see this as a lucky year for Votto.  However, that could work for Votto.  Some voters will be tired of seeing the same guys get it year after year and want to go with someone new like Votto or Gonzalez.  There is also the factor of getting your team to the postseason.  It shouldn’t be a factor, but it is for some.  If the Cardinals are out, but the Reds and Rockies make it, that could make a difference.

The verdict?
Still too close to call.  One day it looks like Pujols is the winner and the next day Votto will put up good numbers and take the lead.  So this is a race that I think will not be able to be determined until the last day of the season.  After all 162 games have been played, the winner will be determined and even then there will likely be disagreement.  It’s not a “shoo-in” year for anybody.

So that’s my analysis of the MVP award this year.  I will be excited to properly debate it once the season is over and we have the final numbers to look at.

I will look at the Cy Young and the Rookie of the Year in a future post.  Wainwright’s performance (or lack thereof, so far) tonight will change his numbers and how he stacks up in that competition.

Bring home the hardware,
Tiffany

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