Making A Case: Pujols & MVP

Joel KochSenior Analyst IAugust 22, 2008

Think of this article as a courtroom. You have the jury, or the Baseball Writers of America, and the audience, or every person without a vote on end of the year Major League Baseball awards.

The prosecution is trying to convince the jury that the player is in fact guilty of receiving an award. The defense? He’s trying to make his case to not give the award to his client.

Yeah, it’s kind of backwards, but forwards at the same time. The defense protects his client from going to jail. In this case though, it makes sense that he doesn’t want his client to be found guilty (like defense lawyers try to do), but of an award he deserves (the backwards).

I hope you kind of see how I’m looking at it because it’s extremely difficult to try to explain any further.

Without further ado, we go to opening arguments.

Prosecutor (DA): Mr. Albert Pujols, one of the greatest hitters of this era, or even of all-time, is in fact guilty of being the Most Valuable Player. Just look his criminal past ladies and gentleman of the jury. Entering 2008, Pujols carried with him a career .331 batting average, 282 home runs, and 861 runs batted in (RBI). All three of these stats are ranked second in the Majors, first in the National League, behind Alex Rodriguez (HR, RBI), and Ichiro Suzuki (BA).

Can we then not assume this man is guilty of the MVP award? Not only does he have these beastly stats, but he’s also putting up big numbers again. In 115 games, he is second in the Majors with his .348 batting average, first with his robust 1.069 On-Base plus Slugging Percentage (OPS), and is fourth in the Majors with his 82 walks? He’s also very crafty because he doesn’t slip up much, not with his 44 strikeouts. The man obviously deals in stats.

I plan to prove that this man, Albert Pujols, is guilty, guilty, guilty of valuable. The defense will try to say differently, but ladies and gentleman of the jury, I think we have finally found and bound the man known to the villagers as "El Hombre."

Defense Attorney (DeAt): Now, that was a good show. Perhaps the prosecutor plays for Chicago Cubs? All show, no go at all. Mr. Pujols here, my client, has killed the Cubs. He, however, is not on trial for that. He is here because he has been accused of being valuable, something he certainly has not committed.

Let us look at this. He is batting .294 with runners in scoring position, his RBIs are down this year to the tune of 79. Does this look like someone who’s extremely valuable? No, of course not. If you want to falsely arrest a man on valuable, why do it to my client when you can arrest and charge Ryan Howard or Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies?

Judge (J): *pounds gravel* That’s enough of that! Keep to the topic and leave people who are not charged out of the discussion, or I will find you in contempt!

DeAt: My apologizes, your honor. The point is ladies and gentleman of the jury, my client is completely innocent. The District Attorney’s office will throw a lot of stats out in front of you, just to entice you to indict. What I plan on presenting are the stats that really show valuableness. By the end of this trail, you will not only acquit, you will also see that my client should never be involved in this stats ring.

J: The prosecution may call their first witness.

DA: Thank you, your honor. The prosecution calls Ryan Ludwick to the stand.

Mr. Ludwick, you are a teammate of Mr. Pujols, are you not?

Ludwick: Yes, I am.

DA: And does this man not only make you and your team better, but does he also not allow you the ability to hit better?

Ludwick: Yes sir, he does. Pujols is the type of player that changes a lineup’s perceived look by just being penciled in. When he’s playing, I can see better pitches and that helps my stats. That then allows our team to not only be better, but it allows us to win. He does the same for Rick Ankiel.

DA: Thank you, Mr. Ludwick. *motions towards Defense* Your witness.

DeAt: Mr. Ludwick, does Mr. Pujols do this, or is it in fact that you are really that good?

Ludwick: Well, I do think I’m pretty good, but I wouldn’t be this good with Albert.

DeAt: Were you not drafted in the second round of the 199 draft, the same draft that produced Mr. Pujols in the THIRTEENTH round?

Ludwick: Well, yes, I guess that’s true.

DeAt: So, in fact, the Oakland Athletics felt you were more talented and better than Mr. Pujols? And did you not hit 14 home runs with the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians in short, brief stints?

Ludwick: Well, yes-

DeAt: Thank you, no further questions.

*Ludwick steps down*

DA: The prosecution calls Ret Rosht, a convicted stats compiler.

*Ret Rosht (otherwise known as Retrosheet, get it?) comes out from the back in shackles*

DA: Mr. Rosht, does the defendant indeed have some of the best stats in Major League Baseball today?

Rosht: Yes, he does. Though I have been convicted of stats compiling, I still have my connections. I have found that this man has been intentionally walked 28 times in 2008 and has grounded into only nine double plays. If you spread that out over the course of a full year, that’s 40 intentional walks and 13 double plays.

Do you know how valuable you are to your team if you put up those numbers? That’s 116 walks over the course of a full year, plus he’s not eliminating a base runner by either beating out the throw to first, or placing the ball well on the field to allow for the runner on first to make it to second. That’s spectacular.

DA: Thank you, Mr. Rosht.

DeAt: Tell me, what is Mr. Pujols batting with runners in scoring position? How about his Clutch, based on Bill James’ Runs Created Formula?

Rosht: Well, he’s batting .294 with runners in scoring position and he has a -8.2 clutch.

DeAt: Does that sound valuable to you?

Rosht: Well, no, but you’re missing the bigger picture here. He is hitting over .350 with runners in scoring position since the end of May, plus he has only three errors (one throwing, two fielding). That not only means he’s bring the guys in when it matters now, he’s making the plays to get guys out when a ball comes at him on the field.

Plus, he has the value of fear. He has 28 intentional walks, which will shatter his previous personal best of 28 in 2006, and he’s a big game player. May I need to remind you that Brad Lidge is still having nightmares of trains, hanging sliders, and boos?

The man is the definition of valuable. He’s the kind of player people like me love to drool over. He’s our biggest buyer, and we love to provide him with our big stats.

DeAt: Objection your honor! This man as incriminated my client with a crime he has not been charged with, and has gone past the realm of my questioning without being asked anything!

J: Well son, you did open the door by trying to the clutch means something in voting. This man was called as an incriminating witness by the prosecution and you didn’t object then. You opened the door for this to be entered into evidence. Perhaps you shouldn’t discount something with one person?

With that, I will stop all witness callings and will go the jury for a verdict without closing arguments. I feel any more information or incriminating evidence would be premature.

Jury: We find the defendant, Albert Pujols, guilty of first degree valuable. We sentence him to 27 first place votes in the MVP balloting.

J: Thank you ladies and gentleman of the jury. *turns to Pujols* You will remanded into custody and you will receive treatment for these votes in the form of a plaque. You will then rehabilitate for twelve months and shall return before me to see if you shall continue with this treatment and this sentence.


Ok, so I hope you liked my "mock" trial. I had fun creating it. Basically, if you scrolled down here for the gist of it, Albert Pujols is the most deserving person for the Most Valuable Player award. There should be no debate.

He makes everyone around him better and carries the St. Louis Cardinals day in and day out, even with Ryan Ludwick as the driving force behind the offense. There would be no Ludwick without El Hombre. There would be no Cardinals without Pujols.

Therefore, there is no better or other choice than Mr. Albert Pujols.


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