Who is the NL MVP?
Posted by Jason A. Churchill on August 28, 2006
Beltran the Most Valuable
By Jason A. Churchill
Sidebar action, here.
The Mariners continue to play very well versus the five best teams in the American League (Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota, Boston, New York) but are still five games out of THIRD place. I need a break.
No, not that kind of break, I just need a break from talking about how bad of a manager Mike Hargrove is and how the club will go nowhere with he and the upper management still pulling the strings.
So, I started thinking about who the MVPs should be, starting with the National League.
The New York Mets are the best team, at least up until now, and it’s really not close. Amidst all the talk of Albert Pujols, I would vote Pujols second behind my chtoice for MVP, the Mets’ Carlos Beltran. Ryan Howard would be third.
Stop crying about David Wright. Everything Wright does, Beltran does just as good – or better – and Wright has slumped a bit of late. He’s a great player, though, and deserves a lot of top 5 votes – and will get a ton of top three.
Think about Beltran’s season for a minute.
He’s getting on base at a .390 clip, has swiped 15 bases in 18 attempts, is playing a near-gold glove center field in a spacious outfield at Shea Stadium (HOME, 81 games), RFK Stadium (WASH, 10 games), and Dolphins Stadium (FLA, 9 games), and is slugging a ridiculous .633.
That .633 is impressive enough, especially for a player playing a premium defensive spot, but consider that not only does Beltran switch hit, he does it very well.Through games of Sunday, he’s posted an OPS of .895 batting righty and 1.080 batting lefthanded.
He hit his 38th home run of the year Sunday, has 108 RBI and has scored 103 runs. Okay, sure, he’s hitting .286. But Shea Stadium is a pretty severe pitcher’s park, as are the road parks Beltran visits in Florida, Washington and to a lesser extent, Atlanta.
Better yet, Beltran gets it done when it matters most.
He sports a 1.210 OPS with runners in scoring position. That number actually goes UP to 1.267 with RISP and two outs.
He has three grand slams in eight official ABs with the bases loaded this season and has a 1.335 OPS with a man on third and two outs.
He has a 1.647 OPS versus division-rival Atlanta, including eight homers and 18 RBI in eight contests. Against Philly, he’s slugging .671 with six homers… against Florida? Beltran has a 1.023 OPS and versus Washington, yeah, again… a 1.171 OPS.
For the year, the 29-year-old has drawn 73 walks to just 80 strikeouts and while Pujols is the game’s best hitter and Ryan Howard is the senior circuit’s version of Big Papi, Beltran is hitting, from both sides of the plate, hitting for power – from both sides of the plate – (and in a pitcher’s paradise), playing great defense in center field, no less, and is a threat on the bases as perhaps the game’s premire baserunner… and he’s doing it all for the league’s best team.
Beltran’s park-adjusted numbers are sickening – try these on for size.
.303/.419/.689, 46 HR, 123 RBI. That’s through 129 games.
Howard, on the other hand, is hitting .292, or .281 park-adjusted, slugging .620, or .606 park-adjusted, and has a 77-29 K/BB ratio.
Oh, and his club is 65-65 and 15 1/2 games behind the Mets, though they are just one game back in the loss column for the wildcard spot.
Pujols is another story, and I’m going to be nit-picky here, but his SLG Pct is 100 points lower post break and his club needs him the most right now.
He’s still at .604 since July 13, but he has just nine home runs and is slugging a homosapien-esque .564 in August. Pujols can still win the award with a big September, and he’s more capable of that than anyone in baseball, but he’ll need that to sway my vote off of Carlos Beltran.
For the record, and since the AL MVP race is kind of boring to me so I won’t be doing the same post for that award, I think David Ortiz, Johan Santana and Jermaine Dye are my top three, with Derek Jeter and Justin Morneau rounding out my top five.