This isn't as disastrous as the 2006 NL MVP vote, in which Ryan Howard won the MVP Award despite playing defense like Ryan Howard and having a lower batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage than reigning MVP Albert Pujols, but it's mildly unfortunate: Joey Votto was named NL MVP this afternoon almost unanimously despite being in a statistical dead heat with Albert Pujols, proving that, when in doubt, voters will always pick the more novel player.â†µ
But I can't get pissed about that. Votto had the best season of his career, Pujols had the third worst, and Fangraphs—if not Baseball-Reference—gave Votto a 0.1 WAR lead, even if it was based on single-season UZR numbers. Albert Pujols should certainly have received more than one first place vote—he got mine in the SB Nation contest, which ended the same way—but Votto's a deserving candidate, and he had an outstanding season.â†µ
If you want to get pissed about something, though, allow me to assist you: Ryan Howard not only got some votes, he got a second-place vote, which means that some member of the BBWAA needs to be fired immediately. The best thing about the BBWAA's Ryan Howard fandom is that he's rarely the best player on his own team, but this year was especially fruitful in that regard—by Baseball-Reference's count, his .276/.353/.505 season (worst of his career) was worth 2.1 WAR, which makes him a useful regular and nothing more. It makes him, say, David Freese without the ankle explosions.â†µ
It also makes him the eighth most valuable player on the Phillies, behind: Roy Halladay; Jayson Werth; Cole Hamels; Carlos Ruiz; Chase Utley; Shane Victorino; and the 83 innings Roy Oswalt pitched after being traded from Houston. If you think Joey Votto was the MVP of the National League, well, I can't blame you. If you think Ryan Howard was the second-most valuable player in the National League, you have no idea as to how baseball games are won and lost, and should move to some other section of the newspaper.