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November 15, 2005

Simply Criminal

Well, it's official: Albie Pujols has beaten out the better man for the 2005 National League MVP crown.

Set aside, though, for a moment the fact that Derrek Lee was the demonstrably better player this season on both offense and defense, and that he has already been recognized as such (being awarded this year's Silver Slugger and Gold Glove, respectively, over Pujols). Even if Derrek bested Albert in virtually every category besides walks and strike outs, their stats are undeniably similar. So Pujols winning out is at least reasonable, if not right.

What really irks is that Lee finished third in the voting to Andruw flipping Jones (who shouldn't even rank with the other two):

Pujols received 18 of the 32 first-place votes and 14 second-place votes for 378 points. Atlanta's Andruw Jones picked up 13 first-place votes, 17 seconds and two thirds for 351 points, while Derrek Lee finished third with one first-place vote, one second and 30 thirds for 263 points.

That's a mere 2 out of the 32 ballots cast (would those be the two votes from Chicago?) that ranked Lee ahead of Jones. On what, the strength of an extra 5 homers? Dig that long ball.

Further proof, if it was needed, that these Baseball Writers are a profoundly ridiculous lot.

"Simply Criminal"
Posted by Dan at 03:12 PM


To me, MVP means a player that helps his team win games and to get them to the playoffs. The Cubs didn't finish above or at .500 this year, that's not so winning. Of course, I'm biased since I lean towards the southside. -D

Posted by: David on November 16, 2005 at 11:56 AM

I've heard the arguments before. And, again, I can't be entirely miffed that the award went to someone as deserving as Pujols, as much as I hate the Cards.

This doesn't take away from the fact that Lee absolutely carried the Cubs on his shoulders for a bulk of the season, though.

Ultimately, the MVP is not a team award. It shouldn't just be about "the best player on the best team" (if that were the case, the AL honors ought to be going to Paul Konerko or WS MVP Jermaine Dye or Ozzie fave Tad Iguchi). It is a recognition of a tremendous individual contribution to a team's effort.

And just because his teammates, manager and front office let the man down at just about every turn (starting in the offseason), the Cubs' sub-.500 finish should not render Lee's efforts both in the field and behind the plate any less Herculean.

As miserable as the season was, the Cubs were still in playoff contention coming out of the All Star break, and actually for some time after. Derrek's utter dominance gave the Cubs a very legitmate shot at the Wild Card almost all the way, one which they probably didn't deserve; without him, they'd have probably never made it out of April with any designs on October.

Without Pujols, the Cardinals would've still probably made the playoffs with games to spare, and they'd have still bowed out before the Big Show.

Ergo, Lee had a greater impact on his team's season, however poorly it may have turned out.

In any event, I honestly fail to see how a .263 hitter like Andruw Jones is even in the running with these guys. (He sure hit him a lot of home runs, though.)

Posted by: Dan on November 16, 2005 at 04:20 PM

Referenced in this post:

Baseball Writers' Association of America
MLB.com League Leaders: Lee, Pujols, Jones
MLB.com News: Pujols earns first MVP Award—Matthew Leach
MLB.com Player Information: Albert Pujols
MLB.com Player Information: Andruw Jones
MLB.com Player Information: Derrek Lee
Wikipedia: Gold Glove
Wikipedia: Silver Slugger