A Closer Look into Albert Pujols' MVP Season

Colin CoulahanCorrespondent INovember 18, 2008

I have never been a fan of how these MLB awards are dished out.  

I consider myself a member of the media (not because I write here), and I honestly could never imagine being qualified enough to be a deciding person of who deserves what.  

The players should be allowed to choose.  I've heard people say that most players would vote for themselves or teammates, but honestly, that's a childish statement.  Have the writers choose the candidates and allow the guys who play with or against them all year to decide.

There really has been a lot of noise around this year's NL MVP winner, Albert Pujols.  It was down to him and Ryan Howard, and it really was a tough decision.

Pujols has stated that the MVP should go to a player who made it into the playoffs and I 100 percent agree with him.  An MVP should be a guy who carries his team and helps them succeed, not keep their playoff hopes alive.  The MVP for any league should be a carrier, the guy who gets the team hot and that is Ryan Howard.

But then look at the numbers. Prince Albert was more consistent that Howard, had better OBP numbers and a much better batting average.  He is also a better fielder than Ryan Howard will ever be, which supports my theory that Howard would do much better for himself as a DH on an American League team, but that's neither here nor there.

I really thought that Howard would get it, just because he carried his team through September and helped the Phillies win the World Series.  That and his offensive numbers; 48 HR and 146 RBI's.  Compare that to Albert's 37 homers and 116 RBI's.

This really came down the players' patience at the plate.  Pujols went down on strikes just 54 times compared to Howard's 129. That, and Pujols' slugging and on-base percentage were much higher than Ryan's.

Honestly, the writers chickened out on this one.  Like always, it was a numbers choice. The batting average was much higher just like the OBP and K's, but there is an intangible quality to an MVP.  

When Ryan Howard gets hot, the entire lineup does. There was no better lineup in the NL than a hot Philadelphia batting crew.  

If I have a team that needs a spark, I will take Ryan Howard first.  But, if I have the tying run on and two outs, I would lean towards Pujols.  With Howard, your gambling. There is a big chance he will strike out.  Albert has the better chance of driving him in.

So does Albert deserve the award? Yes.

Does Ryan Howard? Yes.  

I'm a person who will take the intangibles over the numbers any day, so I would give it to Ryan Howard first.  He has something that every manager wants—he can carry an  entire team on his back.  

Howard was the sole reason Philadelphia won the division.  Which is why the writers cannot be given this responsibility.  There is more to baseball, and sports in general, than numbers.