This is the time of year that it seems everyone is chiming in their personal opinions on who the most valuable players should be in Major League Baseball.
The definition of most valuable player is, "the player judged most valuable to the sport."
There is a problem with this definition. The problem is that the most valuable player in in any sport would be the most popular player, all stats would be thrown aside. Instead, the most valuable player would be the player that generates the most revenue.
Just like anyone else, when fall gets here, I have MVP candidates of my own. I on the other hand try to look deeper.
Like in 2006 I strongly believed, even though I am a die hard Cubs fan, that Albert Pujols was the National League MVP. It wasn't that Howard's year wasn't deserving, but I looked at it like this.
The Phillies had a better record than the Cardinals, yet the Cardinals went on to win the World Series. The Phillies didn't even make the playoffs. Now, I also know that a player doesn't have to make the playoffs to win the MVP, but in this case I thought it was important. If you take both players off their respective teams, baseball history is changed. Neither team makes the playoffs, and the Cardinals do NOT win the World Series.
So here we are in 2008. The talk is of Pujols and Howard again, but I am going to add a name, Alfonso Soriano.
The same could be true this year, all three are very important, but not all three will make the playoffs. Soriano is in, Howard is likely in, and Pujols is not. Now, since we do not have a World Series Champion yet, we aren't quite sure if history would be changed by one of these players not playing on their respective teams.
You can however do projections. So, I did my research, and came up with team records and the differences with and without their players.
Now, I did projections based on team records for a full 162 game season. Since Howard has played in all of Philadelphia's games, I threw in a winning percentage of .460 which is a 104 point difference. Soriano's was 90 points different and Pujols was 87 points different so this only benefits Howard's case.
This shows that each player is valuable to his team and that all three teams would likely be out of the playoff race. To decide whom is more valuable to his team, I took the projected wins with the player and subtracted the projected wins without the player.
When this is done, the difference with Soriano is 22 wins, and Pujols and Howard both give their teams 16 wins. So even though the Cubs would have a better record without Soriano (84-78) than the Cardinals (69-93) and Phillies (75-87) would have without Pujols or Howard, Soriano still has a bigger impact on his team.
Now, it couldn't only be decided by teams records with and without a player, so I also have projected stats for full 162 game seasons by each player. I will show their actual stats first.
Soriano's AVG is .289, OBP .352, SLG .551, and OPS .903, ranks second in all categories.
Pujol's AVG is .349, OBP .453, SLG .633, and OPS 1.086, ranks first in all categories.
Howard's AVG is .247, OBP .336, SLG .533, and OPS .869, ranks third in all categories.
In my opinion, even though he has only played 104 games, Alfonso Soriano is the most valuable player. When looking at projected stats, his season is right in line with the other two. Some stats aren't really comparable considering that Soriano would have 60 more at bats, so his hit totals can not be compared to Pujols. In the same sense, he is a lead-off hitter, so Howard having 30 more RBI's than him isn't really comparable either.
So, at this time, I would have to say Soriano.
Of course, this could change if the Phillies were to win the World Series.
One thing I think everyone agrees on is that the World Series is the most valuable piece of hardware.