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the 'jols story

for all the punishment the bbwaa voters have taken this awards season, i gotta give `em this: they've done pretty damn well with the mvp the last two years. the four winners in that span? pujols, bonds, v guerrero, and a-rod. anybody going to argue that those aren't the four best everyday players in the game? bonds and a-rod also won in 2003, so you have to go back to 2002 to find a truly dubious choice (miguel tejada over a-rod). the 2003-2005 run of mvp winners may prove to be the strongest in the history of the award -- all will likely finish with 600+ home runs, and they all are working on career ops of .970 or higher. i can't find a set of 6 consecutive honorees to rival the current group. but i didn't investigate very deeply and i'll certainly entertain arguments -- here's the complete list of winners going back to the 1920s.

some random expressions of albert pujols' greatness: in his career so far, he has never finished outside the nl top 10 in any of the following categories:

  • batting average
  • slugging pct
  • hits
  • total bases
  • rbi
  • runs created
  • extra-base hits
  • times on base
  • ops
  • adjusted ops+
and here's where albert ranks on the all-time leaderboards for players through age 25:
  • slugging pct, 6th (.621)
  • doubles, 4th (227)
  • homers, 7th (201)
  • extra base hits, 4th (439)
  • intentional walks, 5th (70)
  • ops, 5th (1.037)
  • adjusted ops+, 10th (169)
  • runs created, 6th (757)

with 34 doubles next season (and he's never hit fewer than 38), albert will rise to #2 all-time through age 26. he needs 41 homers in 2006 to move up to #6 on the age-26 home-run chart (past frank robinson) and 42 to reach #5; with 49 blasts he'll pass mickey mantle and move into 4th place. he can crack the top 10 in through-26 rbis with 127 ribbies next season; 131 gets him to 9th, 136 to 8th place. (he has finished with between 117 and 130 rbi every year.)

bellyitcher has assembled a phenomenal archive of mvp-related news links. among the many perks that come with winning this coveted award, albert will receive a two-point Personal Watchability Factor bonus, raising his total score to 152.

a few add'l links: brave and cub fans, though disappointed their hometown players didn't win the award, were generally gracious about the mvp result. from talking chop: "One can argue that Andruw meant more to his team than any other player in the majors this season. But emotions aside, Pujols deserves the hardware. . . . there's no shame in finishing second. Especially to Albert Pujols." cub fans would have felt exactly the same, except their guy finished third, losing both to pujols and andruw jones -- and the latter placement isn't going over particularly well.

over at the think factory, a wise primate named bunyon offers up the best argument i've heard yet against the lee-for-mvp campaign (comment #37 in a very long thread):

It could be argued that Derrick Lee set the Cubs back tremendously. If Lee is the average Lee and the Cubs win 70 instead of 80, Baker gets fired. The offense looks inept enough for no one to not notice, so Neifi isn't re-signed. The GM is either retained with the understanding that work needs to be done or he's fired and Theo Epstein hired.

No, Lee's "great" season didn't even bring the Cubs a .500 record and may well have prevented such a record for the next two years. He gets no vote from me.

baseball musings' david pinto had no problem with albert winning, but he and his readers alike took issue with many of the downballot choices; check out the comments thread.

fungoes notes the cards are the 9th team that failed to win the pennant despite having both the mvp and cy young winner on the roster.