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2007 National League MVP Candidates
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2007 National League MVP Candidates
by Asher B. Chancey,
November 9, 2007

Imagine that the 2007 National League were a magician at a kid's birthday party. Imagine that the 2007 National League has just pulled a rabbit out of a hat, sawed Kris Benson's wife in half, and allowed you to pick a card, any card, from a deck before accurately guessing what it was.

If the 2007 National League were a magician, I could imagine him (or her) saying the following:

For my next trick, I am going to attempt something that has never been done before, or at least not in the expansion era. To all of your shock, awe, and amazement, I will now, for the first time right here on this stage, present you with one legitimate, bona fide Most Valuable Player candidate for every team in the National League.

Please, hold your applause until the end.

Philadelphia Phillies Jimmy Rollins, Shortstop - The new single season record holder for at-bats and plate appearances was the rock upon which the Phillies relied as their pitching faltered, Chase Utley got injured, Ryan Howard struggled at the plate, and the team underachieved for much of the first half of the season. When the Phillies made their run at the division in the second half, Rollins was there too, and in the end, the Phillies and Rollins were able to back up Rollins' prediction that the Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East in 2007.

New York Mets David Wright, Third Base - At the end of July, the Mets had the NL East wrapped up, and Jose Reyes was headed for his first NL MVP. Then Reyes stopped hitting, and the Mets collapsed. But the Mets' third baseman had an incredible year at the plate, and was a defensive whiz to boot.

Atlanta Braves Chipper Jones, Third Base - If not for the fact that he only played 130-some odd games, 2007 may have been his finest season yet. No, really. If you haven't looked at the season he had, do so. Not only that, but props to him for stepping up after being called out by John Smoltz for taking too much time off for tick-tack injuries. Whereas other players may have railed against Smoltz and acted like hurt children, Jones took the criticism well and stepped up.

Washington Nationals Dmtri Young, First Base - On a team full of re-treads, someone is bound to come out of no where and have a big season. Young did just that.

Florida Marlins - Hanley Ramirez, Shortstop - At one point, after about 60 games, Ramirez had scored about a run per game. He ended up with 125, but that says more about the Marlins than Ramirez. Han-Ram put up a .332/.386/.562, struck out less than 100 times (when did that become noteworthy, by the way?), hit 29 homeruns, stole 51 bases, and collected 212 hits, 48 of which were doubles. The kid is off to a better first two years to his career than Barry Bonds got off to, which is an appropriate comparison, because as a shortstop, he would make a good leftfielder.

Chicago Cubs Alfonso Soriano, Left Field - One of the huge differences between this year's Cubs and the Cubs of recent years past was solid production from the leadoff spot. Soriano hit 33 homeruns and scored 97 runs in only 135 games, and continued his emergence as one of the premier defensive left fielders in all of baseball.

Milwaukee Brewers Prince Fielder, First Base - "Cecil's kid" hit 50 homeruns and was the offensive leader of a group of young hotshots who came within about three weeks of going to the playoffs. If he continues to hit homeruns this way, eventually we'll call Cecil Fielder "Prince's dad."

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols, First Base - Despite an uncharacteristically rough (for him) start to the season, Pujols turned in another Hall of Fame caliber season and almost single handedly kept the Cardinals in playoff contention into September.

Houston Astros Lance Berkman, First Base - What down year? On an absolutely anemic offense, with a guy who should have retired two years ago batting leadoff, Berkman still managed to keep his OPS almost at .900, with 30-plus homeruns and 100-plus RBI.

Cincinnati Reds Brandon Phillips, Second Base - Can you say "electric?" Phillips went 30/30 with a low (for him) strikeout total (109), while scoring 107 runs and playing stellar middle infield defense for a pitching staff that needs all the help it can get.

Arizona Diamondbacks Eric Byrnes, Left Field - How did the Arizona Diamondbacks win the NL West this season? With gritty, blue collar, white knuckle, gutsy offense and defense that never gave up supporting its pitching staff. Eric Byrnes personified his team this year, playing good defense in left field, scoring 100 runs, hitting 20 homeruns and stealing 50 bases, and being the only offensive player to play more than 150 games.

San Diego Padres Jake Peavy, Pitcher - Padres pitchers only succeed at home. Except for Peavy, who was actually better on the road for most of the season. The 2007 NL Triple Crown winner dominated the National League, and on a team with very little offense, was big part of what was almost a playoff caliber season.

Los Angeles Dodgers Russ Martin, Catcher - Lots of "bests" are used to describe Russ Martin best offensive catcher in the league, best defensive catcher in the league, best offensive player on the Dodgers. Martin had the best catcher's ERA in the NL this season. The Dodgers were in the playoff race until the last couple of weeks of the season, and Russ Martin was a big reason for that.

Colorado Rockies Matt Holliday, Left Field - Matt Holliday had MVP numbers, unless you look at his home/road splits. Nevertheless, Holliday was the face of the electric, improbable Colorado Rockies 2007 Wild Card team. In addition to his offense, Holliday is also a rare capable defensive leftfielder.

San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds, Left Field - Not only did Barry surpass Hank Aaron's homerun total this season, he also had one of the most underrated, under-heralded seasons of all time. Bonds led the league in walks, on-base percentage, and intentional walks despite playing only 126 games. He also posted an OPS over 1.000, which is par for the course for Bonds, but outstanding for mere mortals. His 170 OPS+ was also tasty.

Pittsburgh Pirates -

Okay, you got me. I can do magic, but even I, the Great National League 2007 Season, can not work miracles!

Questions? Concerns? Comments? Asher lives in Philadelphia, PA, and can be reached at

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