Every year there is a lot of debate about who should be the MVP of the baseball season. There are usually two debates involved. The first is who should be the MVP. But inside that debate is another debate. What is the criteria for being the MVP? Some people think the MVP is the best player on the best team, some people think the MVP is the best player, some think the MVP is the player with the best stats and some people think the MVP is the player that is most valuable to his team.
Personally I think this debate is stupid. The Most Valuable Player Award should obviously go to the player that is most valuable to his team, that’s why the words “most valuable” are in the name of the award. As exhibit number 2 I give you the Hank Aaron Award. The Hank Aaron Award is given every year to the best offensive player. So if there is already an award for the best offensive player, then that shouldn’t also be what the MVP award is. So the question is who is going to win the Hank Aaron Award? Let’s start with the National League.
Many people think the National League is weaker than the American League but certainly there are still plenty of great hitters in the National League. The Cubs have three players who could be vying for the Hank Aaron award in Alfonso Soriano, Derek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez. The Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals might not be contenders in National League East but they have two great young hitters in Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Zimmerman. The New York Mets have a loaded lineup, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes could all be nominees for the Hank Aaron award. Let’s also not forget Barry Bonds in San Francisco. But ultimately I think these are the five guys who have the best chance to win the Hank Aaron Award in the National League
5. Matt Holliday – Matt Holliday doesn’t get as much attention as Pujols, Howard or any of the Mets hitters but Holliday put up huge numbers last season. Holliday scored 119 runs, hit 45 doubles, 34 HR, 114 RBI, stole 10 bases, and hit .326. Last season Holliday’s numbers were good enough that in Yahoo’s Fantasy Baseball Holliday was ranked ahead of guys like David Ortiz, Lance Berkman, and Carlos Beltran.
4. David Wright – David Wright is starting to become one of the best all around players in baseball. He can score runs, he can knock in runs, he can hit homeruns, he can hit for average and he can even steal twenty bases. Wright is only 23 years old so he’s still getting better too.
3. Lance Berkman – Lance Berkman was hardly noticed at all last season due to the gaudy numbers that Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols put up last year but Berkman quietly had MVP like numbers again last year. Berkman was just one RBI and four home runs shy of Pujols. With an improved lineup Berkman is definitely a candidate for the Hank Aaron Award.
2. Albert Pujols – Unfortunately for Lance Berkman Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard aren’t going anywhere. The Cardinals as a team look like they are headed in the wrong direction but Pujols has been putting up huge numbers even without a great lineup so I don’t see any reason why he won’t continue to.
1. Ryan Howard – I don’t know if Ryan Howard can repeat his 58 HR and 149 RBI performance because he’s only really had the one outstanding year. Even if Howard doesn’t match those numbers and the home runs come down ten and the RBI come down ten or twenty, he’s still going to be right in the mix as the best offensive player in the National League.