Yesterday I outlined my AL MVP ballot, and today it is time for the NL. Yesterday Albert Pujols won the NL MVP in unanimous fashion, followed by Hanley Ramirez, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Troy Tulowitzki. Needless to say, my ballot doesn’t look the same at all. That would be no fun.
1. Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis
Pujols led all NL hitters in WAR at an amazing 8.4 clip. The fact that he did so while suffering the positional adjustment that comes with playing first base, as well as having a subpar defensive season by Pujols standards (+1.3 runs) is amazing. Pujols’s bat was worth 72.1 runs this year. Amazingly, his .449 wOBA is only the 3rd best of his career. Pujols is simply the best player in the game right now.
2. Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia
Utley, as I’ve said before, is the most underrated player in baseball. This was his worst defensive year in three years, and he was still worth almost 11 runs with the glove. His bat was worth almost 40 runs. He had a 7.6 WAR this year, and has put up seemingly carbon copies over the past few years. Utley also had his 2nd best OBP of his career this year (.397) and best walk rate (13.4%). With Pujols in the same league it will be tough, but if Utley ends his career without an MVP it will be criminal.
3. Tim Lincecum, RHP, San Francisco
When you’re the best pitcher in the league by a win and a half (8.2 WAR to Javy Vasquez’s 6.6), lead the league in FIP (2.34) , and are the only person to strike out over 10 batters per 9, not only do you deserve the Cy Young, but you deserve some legitimate MVP consideration.
4. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida
I haven’t watched Ramirez play in a long time, so I can’t say for sure, but UZR says Hanley’s defense has gotten a lot better (from -19.2 in 2007 to -.3 this season). If I were a GM I’d still probably toss him in centerfield, but that’s why I am in my parent’s basement right now. Hanley had a career high .410 OBP last year, along with a .410 wOBA that was the 2nd highest mark of his career. He had a little bit of a power dip this year, going from .230 and .239 ISOs the past two years to a .201 mark this year. I fully expect him to get back to those high numbers next year.
5. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado
This is a pick that the stats definitely don’t support. Tulo had only a 5.8 WAR, which was lower than Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder and Ryan Zimmerman. But I love Tulowitzki. He added power and more walks to his skill set this year, plays a great shortstop, has a great contract, and the scout in me loves the way he looks when he plays the game. I also put him on there for two other reasons
1. This ballot doesn’t mean anything
2. It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want when I want.
So there are my MVP picks. Who are yours?