Go ahead and say that Pujols or Rolen should get the MVP because of their numbers and because their team is in first place.... I will only laugh. Thats because you have missed something very interesting. To set this up, lets compare the Giants' and the Cards' lineups:
Giants: Cardinals:
Durham Womack
Grissom Walker
Snow Pujols
Bonds Rolen
Alfonzo Renteria
Tucker Edmonds
Pierzynski Sanders
Cruz Matheny
Now, which is the better lineup? I think we can all agree that the Cardinals have the far superior lineup. Now, who do you think has scored more runs this year? Looking at those lineups, I think we can all agree that the Cardinals should have scored more runs this year. Does anybody see where I am going yet? Then here we go.....
It turns out that we were all wrong about who scored the most runs. In fact, the Giants have scored 642 runs to the Cards' 636. Not a big difference, but shouldnt St. Louis have way more runs scored on the year than the Giants, especially when they have 2 MVP caliber players on their team, AND three other amazing hitters? Based on talent alone, definitely yes. But based on the Bonds factor, no.
The Cardinals have a better team average than the Giants, but all stat buffs know that OBP is a much better ratio to use, so lets look at that: the Giants have the second highest team OBP at .357, while the Cardinals only have a .344 OBP. We all know that Bonds' .600 OBP is the difference here.
Now is the time for those of you Bonds haters to say that his OBP is bogus and not representitive of his talent because he gets walked intentionally so much....Go on, say it.....WRONG! THAT DEOSNT MATTER! Let me ask you this, how many more HRs and RBI would Bonds have if he was walked the same amount as Pujols. Lets do the math: Bonds has 174 walks, and Pujols has 61. If we give Bonds 113 more ABs, he would have, according to his HR/AB average, 14 more HRs. If we give Bonds 113 more ABs, he would have, according to his RBI/AB average, 31 more RBI. But that number is low, because he mostly gets walked when there are men on base. If we gave Bonds 113 more ABs, he would be leading the majors in HRs by 11, be leading the majors in RBI, and he still would be leading the NL in hitting. Thats a Triple Crown season right there!
If that is not proof enough that he should be the MVP, I dont know what is. However, some may say that the MVP should go to the player who is "most valuable to his team," not the best player in the league. I agree, but I dont think that means that the MVP's team has to be in first place. If we take Bonds away from the Giants lineup, what happens? Dustin Mohr goes into left field, and the giants best hitter this year becomes JT Snow, who, without the protection he gets from Bonds, would not be hitting nearly as well. If we take Pujols or Rolen away from the Cardinals, they are still left with on of them, Walker, Renteria, and Edmonds, all great hitters. While losing Bonds would be absolutely devastating to the Giants, losing Pujols or Rolen, though not a good thing, would be only minor inconvenience, as the rest of that stacked lineup could easily pick up the slack.
Once again, though, some of you may bring up the defense that Rolen brings to the table. But how many runs do you think Rolen prevents with his defense? I am not sure how many, but I am pretty sure that that number, plus the number of runs he creates for the Cardinals, is close to the number of runs Bonds creates for the Giants.
If somebody wants to challenge this argument, bring it on!