MLB: N.L. Team MVP's
A week ago I wrote an article giving my American League Team MVP's. It is now time for me to give my National League Most Valuable Players for each team. The N.L. had more standout players than the A.L. did and this should make my job a little easier. So here we go...
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia
As always, Ryan Howard showed that he is the best power hitter in baseball. He hit .251, 48 HR, 146 RBI, and 105 runs scored. He led the majors in home runs and runs batted in. Howard did strike out 199 times for the second straight year and had an OBP of .339 which is unusually low for a power hitter.
However, he hit .352 with 11 home runs in September to propel the Phillies to their first World Series appearance in 15 years. He will get some MVP votes, but with a batting average that low he will not win the award.
David Wright, New York
David Wright has become one of the best hitters in the league and had a spectacular season. Wright hit .302, 33 HR, 124 RBI, 115 R, 15 SB, 42 2B. The Mets collapsed in September for the second straight year, but at no fault to David Wright. In September he hit .340, 6 HR, and had an OBP of .416.
The Mets seem to forget that the regular season is six months long and not five. If the season ended in August, they would be the World Champs every year. However, that is not the case. Wright carried this team yet again and the team failed him. He has a good shot at winning the N.L. MVP.
Hanley Ramirez, Florida
This was a tough decision. I thought it was a toss-up between Ramirez and Dan Uggla. I went with Ramirez because of the batting average. Hanley hit .301, 33 HR, 67 RBI, 125 R, 35 SB, 34 2B, and had an OBP of .400. The former Red Sox prospect has become an integral part of Florida's offense. With the exception of his home runs, his numbers are way down from 2007. With that said, the Marlins were contenders for much of the season.
The Marlins are going to be a good team for a long time. As long as they do not do a complete overhaul of their team again, they should be contenders for the division. Ramirez does not have a good chance of winning the MVP award but he is the best player on this team.
Chipper Jones, Atlanta
This was the first time since 1996 that Atlanta had only half of the Jones'. Chipper did not seem to mind as he turned out another spectacular season to add to his lengthyresume. Larry "Chipper" Jones hit .364, 22 HR, 72 RBI, 82 R, and an OBP of .470. I know some of those numbers are mediocre, especially given his history. However, the two things that stand out more than anything are the batting average and the on-base percentage. An OBP of .470 is unheard of in today's game.
The Braves are not the same team that they were a few years ago. However, Chipper Jones is still one of the best hitters in the game. He will get some votes for the N.L. MVP but will not win because of how bad the Braves are.
Christian Guzman, Washington
This is the guy that used to play for the Twins right? Oh yeah, my mistake. Where do we begin with the Nationals? Well, one of the very few bright spots they had was Christian Guzman. He hit .316, 9 HR, 55 RBI, 77 R, and played close to a full season for the first time since 2005. He was fourth in the N.L. in hits, which was a complete surprise. When Christian Guzman is MVP, you have some issues to take care of in the offseason; which came in about July for the Nationals.
Guzman is under contract for one more season and it looks like he is trying to make an early impression for when he hits the market. The Nationals need to do a complete overhaul if they want to make any impact in the National League.
Derrek Lee, Chicago
The Cubs had possibly their best season in 100 years. I hate to tell all you Cubs fans, they are never winning another World Series. As much as I would like to see it, it is just not going to happen. If Derrek Lee keeps putting up these numbers then he might just win a couple awards himself. Lee had another great season as he hit .291, 20 HR, 90 RBI, 93 R, 41 2B, and of course he played great defense. The Cubs were arguably the best regular season team and Lee helped propel them to the best record in the National League.
Lee also did his part in the playoffs by hitting .545 and having an OBP of .583. The Cubs have a great team and will be in contention for years to come, but they will never win.
CC Sabathia, Milwaukee
The Brew Crew pulled off one of the biggest trades in their history. They got CC Sabathia from the Indians and he showed everyone why he is one of the best pitchers in baseball. CC went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA for the Brewers. To make things even more impressive, he pitched seven complete games in 17 starts. He was the workhorse that the Brewers needed to get them to the playoffs.
CC is a free agent to be and the Brewers need to re-sign him. He dominated the National League and will do that for years. He may have hurt his stock by having a terrible performance in the playoffs for the second straight year, but that could be attributed to the 253 innings he pitched during the regular season. He will get some MVP votes and he definitely deserves consideration.
Lance Berkman, Houston
Berkman was one of the hottest hitters in baseball in the first half of the season. In the first half, he hit .347, 22 HR, 73 RBI, and 79 R. After the All-Star break he cooled off dramatically. It was as if someone took his bat and left it in a freezer during the break. He ended up hitting .312, 29 HR, 106 RBI, 114 R, and 18 SB. Many of his numbers are up from last season as the Astros finally have an offense to build around Berkman.
Going into the All-Star break, Berkman was the favorite to win the N.L. MVP, but with his terrible second-half, he is a long-shot to win the award. Houston can expect big numbers from their "Killer B" for at least a few more years as he now has protection in the lineup.
Albert Pujols, St. Louis
Here is your National League Most Valuable Player. Let me ask you a question: How is your shoulder doing? Many people expected a down season for Pujols because of a shoulder injury; well I think he heard you! Pujols hit .357, 37 HR, 116 RBI, 100 R, 44 2B, and had an OBP of .462. These numbers are ridiculous considering that the Cardinals are not very good. He also had the best defensive season of his career and may win a Gold Glove. He is the best hitter in baseball bar none.
As I said, Pujols should win the MVP award. I usually do not believe that a player should win the award unless his team makes the playoffs. Albert Pujols is an exception. With numbers like his, there really is no argument.
Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati
Okay, who the hell is this guy? Volquez was the man that the Reds got when they traded away Josh Hamilton to the Rangers. I think both teams are happy with their acquisition. Volquez went 17-6 with an ERA of 3.21. Considering he pitches in the launching-pad known as Great American Ballpark I would say those numbers are pretty good. Volquez also struck out 206 batters which was good for second in the N.L.
The Reds were a disappointment this season as many expected them to be contenders for the Wild Card. They do however; have something to look forward to with Volquez, Votto, Bruce, Encarnacion, and Phillips. Volquez will get some Cy Young votes but will not win.
Ryan Doumit, Pittsburgh
Is there still baseball in Pittsburgh? Is there? I didn't think so. But seriously, the Pirates are awful. Their two best players were traded to, you guessed it, the Red Sox and Yankees. This would have been much easier if they did not basically "give away" Nady and Bay. With that said, Doumit put together a nice season considering how bad they are. He hit .318, 15 HR, 69 RBI, 71 R, and 34 2B. He only played in 116 games, but it does give the Pirates something to look forward to.
The Pirates will not have a winning season for at least another decade. They are a bad team playing in a tough division. Doumit gives them some hope as they can try and build their offense around him.
Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles
"MannyWood!" Once Manny arrived in L.A. he showed that he is not on the decline and that he can still play. I give credit to the Dodgers medical staff because clearly they were able to heal an "injury" that the Sox staff could not. That is sarcasm people. Manny was the hottest hitter in the National League, and possibly baseball, in the second-half. He hit .396, 17 HR, 53 RBI, 36 R, had an OBP of .489, and slugged .743. These numbers are incredible considering he only played in 53 games for the Dodgers.
Manny is a free agent and he showed that he wants a huge contract. He did everything that he was supposed to do, he hit, he ran, and he was a leader. It was obvious that when he was with the Sox he basically called it quits. Whether or not he will do this after he signs that big contract is left to be seen, but the Dodgers got lucky and did not have to deal with "Manny being Manny."
Brandon Webb, Arizona
Webb had another great season for the D'Backs. It is a shame that they wasted his great season by losing the division to Manny and the Dodgers. Webb went 22-7 with an ERA of 3.30 and 183 strikeouts. The 22 wins was a new career high and the seven losses were a career low. Webb is arguably the best pitcher in the National League and has a chance to win his second Cy Young award.
The D'Backs will have a great rotation next year if Randy Johnson returns. With Webb as their ace, Haren as their number two, and a future Hall of Famer in Johnson as their number three, they are the favorites for the division next year.
Matt Holliday, Colorado
The man who should have been last year's N.L. MVP may get a second chance this year. The Rockies were a huge disappointment this year as they finished third in the division after making it to the World Series last year. Holliday did his part as he hit .321, 25 HR, 88 RBI, 107 R, 38 2B, 28 SB, and had an OBP of .409. He is one of the best hitters in the majors and will be one of the most coveted free agents next year.
Colorado has a great offense and they can score runs with the best of them. They need to get some pitching and they could be contenders once again. The Rockies may trade Holliday at the deadline next year and if they are smart they will ask for some top of the line pitching prospects.
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco
Lincecum was an absolute beast this season pitching for the worst team in baseball. The Giants expected big things from Lincecum but probably not this soon. He went 18-5 with an ERA of 2.62 and led the majors with 265 strikeouts. Along with Matt Cain, the Giants could possibly have the best 1-2 punch in the majors. Lincecum is going to be one of the best pitchers in baseball for years to come. He is only 24 and is probably going to win the N.L. Cy Young award.
As long as the Giants are careful with Lincecum then they have a great pitcher to build a rotation around. They cannot afford to over-exert his shoulder as he is still developing. This is a kid that is going to win several Cy Young awards by the time his career is over.
Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego
The Padres have always been known for their pitching, but with a guy like Gonzalez, they can finally show that they can hit. He has been their most productive hitter over the last three years. He finished the season hitting .279, 36 HR, 119 RBI, 103 R, 32 2B, and added some solid defense. Gonzalez made his first All-Star team this year and will be making many trips to the mid-summer classic as his career is just getting started.
The Padres are not a very good team and Gonzalez is exactly the type of hitter that they need to build around. He is one of the more underrated hitters in the National League and until teams take him more seriously he will continue to make them pay.
Well there you have it, my N.L. team MVP's. As I said this was a little easier than the A.L. because let's face it, the A.L. is far superior. I thank you for taking the time to read my article and please feel free to comment and leave your selections.
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