Albert Pujols was named MVP today by the baseball writers, who awarded the St. Louis first baseman with 18 first-place votes and Ryan Howard with 12. Brad Lidge, who finished eighth, received the other two first-place votes.
As well all know, Howard had an excellent September to help power the Phillies past the Mets and into the playoffs. For what it’s worth, however, I would’ve given the honor to Pujols, who had the most dominant season. Even though the Cards ultimately didn’t compete for a spot in the playoffs, Pujols was the main reason why they were even in the sentence deep into the summer. He led baseball in slugging (.653) and OPS (1.114), and ranked second in on-base percentage (.462), despite playing with an elbow that could’ve been surgically repaired last winter. In fact, playing with the injury Pujols posted the best OPS of his incredible career.
The highest Met finisher was David Wright, who finished seventh on the strength of two second-place votes and one third-place vote. Carlos Delgado finished ninth (his best votes were five thirds), and Johan Santana finished 14th (he actually had a second-place vote). Distant finishers were Carlos Beltran (22nd) and Jose Reyes (24th), the latter of whom got little love from voters despite nearly duplicating his 2006 season. Reyes finished seventh in ’06. (He actually had a better OPS+ this year, 118, than in 2006, 115.)
I generally favor guys who lifted their teams. Howard had a terrific year ultimately, but his September looked even more remarkable next to a pretty pedestrian (for him) first five months.
If I had a vote, my ballot would’ve looked something like this: 1. Pujols; 2. Sabathia; 3. M. Ramirez; 4. Howard; 5. Delgado; 6. Braun; 7. Berkman; 8. A. Ramirez; 9. Wright; 10. H. Ramirez.
If you want to see the complete voting totals, you can check them out here.
Also, I’ve added a new poll at the right: Who do you think should’ve been the Mets highest MVP finisher?