My MLB Awards: NL MVP

I have a fundamental problem with the MVP awards in each league and that is this: there is no clarification that I could find which defines if the award should go to the Most Valuable player, the individual that helps his team the most, or the Most Outstanding player, the best player in the league.

According to the Baseball Writers Association of America, the organization charged with making such decisions, the 2007 NL MVP was given to:

Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, the offensive and defensive catalyst for a club that reached post-season play for the first time in 14 years, was elected the National League Most Valuable Player in a tight race against Colorado Rockies left fielder Matt Holliday in balloting by the BBWAA.”  — http://www.baseballwriters.org/awards/2007/2007_NL_mvp.html

Now there is no indication in this, the first line of the BBWAA’s page dedicated to the NL MVP, on whether it was given to Rollins for his stats or for his contribution to the team.  However, the first line says a few things: “offensive and defensive catalyst”  and “club that reached the post-season for the first time in 14 years.”  Those two excerpts seem to point toward a player’s contribution as the defining factor of what an MVP is.

I bring all this up because I’m torn. I’d love to give my NL MVP award to a guy like CC Sabathia because the Brewers were not going to play in October without him or even Manny Ramirez, who propelled the Dodgers to the NL West Crown.  Then, you have a guy like Albert Pujols, who ranked no lower than fourth in all three triple crown categories (batting average, home runs, runs batted in).

NL Most Valuable Player: CC Sabathia, Milwaukee Brewers. There is no better player in the National League, statistically, than Albert Pujols, who will likely win this award.  In 2008, he hit .357 (2nd in NL) with 37 home runs (4th) and 116 RBI (4th).  However, given the descripion of Jimmy Rollins by the BBWAA, Im giving the award to Sabathia despite obvious criticism of 1) he’s a pitcher and pitchers have their own award (Cy Young) and 2) he didn’t play the whole year with the Brewers.  Let’s just examine the word “Valuable.”  Sabathia went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts with the Brew-Crew with an astounding 7 complete games and even more astounding 3 shutouts.  He is the lone reason why the Milwaukee Brewers advanced to the postseason.  For that single reason, Sabathia is the Most Valuable Player in the National League.  He meant more to his team than any other player and it heped the club reach the postseason for the first time in a VERY long time (20+ years?).

I know I won’t get this one with my vote, but take Rollins’ name out of the 2007 BBWAA intro and put Sabathia’s name.  Change the offensive and defensive catalyst part and you could find similar significance between the contributions of Sabathia and Rollins to their teams.

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