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Monday, September 20, 2010
Don't hand out NL MVP quite yet

Dave Cameron on his National League MVP pick:

That's exactly right.

Used to be, we would start with the easy stuff -- first the Triple Crown stats, then maybe OPS -- then drill deeper if necessary. But now we start with WAR (take your pick). But "we" do not suggest that's the end of the process. We look for the guys who are reasonably close to the top, and then see what else there is to see.

In this case, with the park effects and the difference between playing first base and shortstop and the impact on the pennant race (a tiebreaker in my mind, anyway), there's plenty more to see than just WAR.

Which isn't say I'm ready to simply dismiss the big difference in playing time between Votto and Tulowitzki. In a Tweet, Cameron writes, "Joe Mauer's 2009 = Troy Tulowitzki's 2010, in reverse. I don't remember the outcry over lack of playing time last year."

Except 1) there was at least some outcry (as I recall) and 2) Mauer led the American League in WAR despite playing in only 133 games. Which is, by the way, 10 more than Tulowitzki's going to play if he doesn't miss any time the rest of the way.

To me, the Mauer comparison isn't all that useful. What I want to know, in the end, is whether Troy Tulowitzki won more games for his team than Joey Votto and Ryan Zimmerman and Adrian Gonzalez and Albert Pujols and Ryan Zimmerman won for theirs. As near as we can figure, anyway. And we have a great number of tools to help us do the figuring.

Yes, life is short. But MVP Awards last forever. And Tulowitzki's been jobbed out of one big honor already.