Shortly, we will know the winner of the NL MVP award, the last of the regular-season awards to be announced this year. The pundits are all saying Jimmy Rollins or Matt Holliday, and that it will be close.
I am not going to try to estimate where either of these choices would rate among the all time worst selections for MVP, but I would maintain that either would be a contender for the worst in many years.
Rollins was only the fifth best hitter on his own team in 2007, and it is not as though he was particularly close to fourth best. Is his defense (or those “intangibles” that certain writers like to prattle on about) enough to boost him to best (er, “most valuable”) on his team–and in the league. In a word, no. In fact, the guy is only the third best hitter among the defensively valuable up-the-middle players on his own team. Some MVP.
As for Holliday, he was third in the league in OPS behind Chipper Jones (who gets not a mention in these discussions) and Prince Fielder (who gets mentioned, but won’t get the award). But I have to wonder, would a left fielder with an .859 OPS even be mentioned in these discussions? The answer is yes, because that is Holliday–away from the high altitude of Denver. Sure, 1.157 (his home OPS) is very valuable. But you do play 81 games away from home, and the Rockies were not very good away. Maybe if their best player had been a bit farther into the league’s upper quartile on the road, the team would have run away with the league’s best record, rather than barely managing to win the league’s wild card.
So, who should be the NL MVP? Beats me. Choose one from Jones, Fielder, Pujols, Utley, or Howard. Not Holliday or Rollins.