Last year we all marveled and raved over the incredible impact Manny Ramirez made on the Dodgers, and with good reason. The Modern Savant tore the National League up from the time he arrived until the time his Dodgers were ousted at the hands of the Matt Stairs and the Phillies. With much less fan fare, Matt Holliday has come to St Louis and put up very comparable numbers. To wit:
Matt Holliday - 50 games: 216 PA , 68 Hits, 14 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, 49 RBI, .354/.407/.651 &mdash 1.058 OPS
Manny Ramirez - 53 games: 229 PA, 74 Hits, 14 2B, 0 3B, 17 HR, 53 RBI, .396/.489/.743 &mdash 1.232
Holliday is putting up incredible numbers even after a brief cooling period over the last couple weeks. That Manny was able to sustain his incredible 1.200 OPS pace is testament to the incredible strength of his stretch run.
In the aftermath of Holliday's dramatic (as dramatic as any game versus the 2009 Cubs can be) walkoff homer in last night's game, I started to wonder if Holliday might get any MVP consideration. His numbers aren't as good as Manny's but still very, very strong. After all, Manny Ramirez finished fouth in NL MVP voting last year. Will Holliday get anywhere near that consideration? No. No he will not.
Despite the copious information available to us, I don't think there is a stat to quantify Manny's value to the Dodgers last year. He bolstered a team desperate for offense (this was pre-Matt Kemp breakout) and served as the talisman for an &mdash at times &mdash lethargic fanbase. Matt Holliday is an excellent baseball player who provides an invaluable service: Pujolsproofing.
That Albert Pujols is the runaway favorite for NL MVP will (and should) invalidate any case for Matt Holliday to pick up a few pity votes here and there. That doesn't mean he won't, but when a player's real value is serving as an offensive enabler for tot junkie Pujols, you can't consider him the most valuable player on his own team. Invaluable yes. Most valuable no.
Just yesterday, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs wrote an excellent piece on the folly of labeling Matt Holliday a creation of Coors Field. That he put up strong numbers an American League pitcher's park and superlative numbers in National League pitcher's park. Holliday is going to make some fanbase very happy this offseason as well as being the early favorite for Scott Boras's Most Valuable Contributor to his new Gulfstream fund.
AP photo courtesy of Daylife