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-The Eastern League in Baseball: A Statistical History, 1923-2005

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November 20 2006

While I'm sure some of you are disappointed about the one that got away, I have two pieces of good news for you this morning.  One, at least it wasn't the Phillies that signed Soriano for eight years and $136 million to hit leadoff and play center field.  Had the Phillies done something close to that after trading Abreu away you would have really had to worry about the direction of the team.  And two:  at least the Phillies still have Ryan Howard.

The winner of the NL-MVP will be announced today and many expect the results to be the final showdown between the Phillies' Ryan Howard and the Cardinals' Albert Pujols.

Here's a look at what the two did offensively this season:

 

Player AB AVG OBP SLG OPS 2B HR RBI
Howard 581 313 425 659 1.084 25 58 149
Pujols 535 331 431 671 1.102 33 49 137

The two were one and two in the league in home runs and RBI with Howard coming out on top in both categories.  Pujols topped Howard in average, on-base percentage and slugging and led all of baseball with a 1.102 OPS.

Pujols is undeniably a better defensive player at first. 

Pujols led his team to first-place in the NL Central.  The voting for the award took place before the post-season, but Pujols' Cardinals went on to win the World Series.  Howard did everything he could for the Phils, but they ended the season three games out for the Wild Card behind the Dodgers. 

It's really difficult to guess what the voters will do.  Howard's 58 home runs puts him in some elite company, as do the 37 intentional walks he drew.  Virtually everything else seems to favor Pujols and the pair seems destined to finish one and two in the vote.

Pujols handled Howard rather handily in the voting in the Internet Baseball Awards, getting 800 first-place votes to Howard's 276.  Chase Utley finished sixth in that voting. 

New Jersey native and East Coast lover Joe Borowski has been contacted by Boston.

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