Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How Many MVPs for Pujols?

Through 8 seasons and age 28 he's got 2, so it's reasonable that he could finish with several, or second all-time to Bonds. But I think he could pretty easily already be tied with Bonds for the record of 7.

2001: With 0 mlb at bats previously, Pujols finished behind Bonds, Sosa, and Gonzalez in the voting. Bonds and Sosa were both cheating badly. Gonzalez was either cheating or had one of the most flukey years of the 90s. Now it's conceivable that even without the drugs Bonds would have still outperformed Pujols, but Bonds is always at a disadvantage in awards voting due to his personality. This wasn't one of the years Pujols clearly got jobbed, but he certainly would have had a good shot at it given a clean playing field.

2002: He only finished behind Bonds, so I'm giving him an honorable MVP.

2003: Only behind Bonds again, another honorable MVP.

2004: Pujols was third behind Bonds and Beltre (who put up one of the most flukey years ever). Without Bonds the vote would have been extremely close, Pujols outhit Beltre (in a better hitting environment), while Beltre had more fielding value. Another year he could have easily won it.

2005: Barely won it this year, narrowly edging out Andruw Jones' career year. Given the performances on the field though, Pujols should have won this in a landslide.

2006: Pujols outperformed Howard in every important offensive category but for some reason finished 2 in the MVP for the 3rd time. Honorable MVP the third.

2007: An injury influenced somewhat off year kept him from running away with the award in June but he was still in the conversation at years' end. He was 9th in the voting, but would have been a better choice than the winner, JRoll. Out of the candidates I'd say only Hanley Ramirez and Wright clearly deserved it over him.

2008: MVP the second.

So that's 5 theoretical MVPs in his first 8 seasons, with 2 close calls and a top 5 finish in the other years. With so many years of consistent greatness, it's a possibility that his typical MVP type performance doesn't get as much attention as it should. Given the last several years of voting it seems Pujols has been handicapped by past levels of excellence. I hope this stops because it's a travesty not recognizing fully exactly what Prince Albert is accomplishing so far.