The Case for Carpenter and Pujols
The NL Cy Young will be awarded this afternoon. Of course I’m a bit biased but I think Carp will win his second Cy this year. While Brandon Webb of the Diamondbacks won one more game than Carpenter, Carpenter had a .01 ERA advantage and has the benefit of being the reigning Cy Young award winner. I’ve often said these awards are half about reputation any way and Carpenter wins in that department. And, despite my *slight* home town bias, I think you could make a fair case for either pitcher, so as long as one of those two win it, I’ll be happy.
That brings us to the NL MVP. Once again the Cardinals have the reigning champ in this award category. Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard are the top two choices for Most Valuable Player this year. Howard has the guady numbers on his site. He had 9 more home runs and 12 more RBI’s than Pujols. However, Pujols has an 18 point advantage in batting average, and if you look at the batting average with runners in scoring position, it’s not even close.
Howard batted .287 with runners on and only .256 with runners in scoring position. By contrast, Pujols batted .343 with runners on and an AMAZING .397 with runners in scoring position. That’s 141 points higher than Howard. To draw out the comparison even further, lets look at how each performed with runners in scoring position and two outs (the ultimate clutch situation). Ryan Howard’s average continues to drop and comes in at .247. Pujols on the other hand, actually improves his average to a simply unheard of .435! The Red Sox’s David Ortiz is widely regarded as perhaps the most "clutch" batter in the game. His average with runners in scoring position and two outs? .288. Pujols’ average in that situation is simply amazing.
When you throw in the fact that Howard had only 9 more RBIs but 38 more chances than Pujols with runners in scoring position, and the debate is over. We’re not even considering the fact that Howard’s team didn’t make the playoffs, the Cardinals’ record without Pujols, or the fact that Pujols played Gold Glove defense. If the writers look at anything besides HR and RBI totals (read as, if the writers do any sort of due dilligence) this vote should be a runnaway. Howard certainly had a fantastic offensive year, but there is simply no way he should keep Pujols from repeating as NL MVP.