…. MVP

OK, so everyone knows that I think Barry’s the MVP. Just for the hell of it, I thought I’d try and add some goodies to the argument. As of this morning, Barry Bonds is completing one of the greatest seasons of all time.

The walks, on-base percentage, and OPS would all represent new single-season records, of which Barry now owns the following; home runs, walks, intentional walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and about a half-dozen other OPS-related marks.

OK, on to the MVP debate. Barry’s two main competitors for the award seem to be Albert Pujols, and Adrian Beltre. A side by side would be helpful:

Bonds 356 AB 123 R 132 H 27 2B 44 HR 100 RBI 221 BB 38 SO .371/.615/.834 1.449 OPS
Beltre 570 AB 101 R 195 H 32 2B 47 HR 117 RBI 49 BB 84 SO .342/.394/.646 1.039 OPS
Pujols 565 AB 127 R 184 H 43 2B 45 HR 116 RBI 81 BB 49 SO .326/.411/.648 1.059 OPS

Obviously, all three ballplayers have had superstar seasons. All would be deserving of the award in most seasons, but head to head, there is no doubt whose season has been the most impressive. Barry’s giving 200 at-bats to the two sluggers, and they have essentially no statistical advantages other than total hits. In other words, with each player well above .300, the 200 extra at-bats Pujols and Beltre have over Bonds turn out to be something like 60 singles. Bonds has 74 extra base hits, Pujols has 90, and Beltre has 79. But if Barry had only, say, 121 walks instead of 221, the comparison would look something like this:

Bonds 456 AB 160 R 169 H 37 2B 56 HR 128 RBI
Beltre 570 AB 101 R 195 H 32 2B 47 HR 117 RBI
Pujols 565 AB 127 R 184 H 43 2B 45 HR 116 RBI

And if Bonds had roughly the same number of at-bats as the two sluggers…..

Bonds 556 AB 196 R 206 H 48 2B 68 HR 156 RBI
Beltre 570 AB 101 R 195 H 32 2B 47 HR 117 RBI
Pujols 565 AB 127 R 184 H 43 2B 45 HR 116 RBI

If Pujols and Beltre had roughly the same number of at-bats as Bonds…..

Bonds 356 AB 123 R 132 H 27 2B 44 HR 100 RBI
Beltre 356 AB 90 R 121 H 20 2B 29 HR 72 RBI
Pujols 356 AB 90 R 116 H 27 2B 29 HR 72 RBI

I’m sure Pujols and Beltre would score 100 runs if they were walked 200 times, but the rest of the rate stats would be directly affected by the reduced opportunities, perhaps even more. The difficulty of hitting 40 home runs while being routinely walked two, three times a game, ten, fifteen times a week, can hardly be overstated. Bonds’ ability to continue to dominate while being avoided so often is testament to his greatness.

Another way to look at it is to consider how many outs each player has made on their way to forty-something home runs, etc.. Bonds has made approximately 230 outs while reaching base over 360 times (he could break the Ruth’s record of 379 with a monster finish). Beltre has made something like 370 outs while reaching base 240 times, and Pujols has made something like 380 outs while reaching base some 280 times.

I could go on and on. Barry Bonds is the MVP.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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