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Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Awards: Who should win?

Use the dropdown box below to read the arguments for each of the major end-of-the-season awards (except for NL and AL Manager of the Year).


The Atlanta Braves clinched their 14th consecutive division title despite facing more adversity than just about any other team. So how did they thrive? Because Andruw Jones put the Braves on his shoulders and carried them. When the Braves were at their most desperate, Jones delivered the most. He led the NL in home runs (51), RBI (128) and game-winning RBI. Get this: He has only 26 more hits than RBI. His hits counted. Oh, by the way, he won his eighth consecutive Gold Glove for his outstanding play in center field. The Braves were 35-26 in 61 games without Chipper Jones. Andruw played in all 61 and hit .309 with 24 home runs and 57 RBI. Those numbers also came when Tim Hudson, Mike Hampton and John Thomson were injured and unable to pitch. From June 6 to July 17 without four key cogs of their team, the Braves went 22-15 because Jones hit .311 with 15 homers and 37 RBI. Albert Pujols had a great season, and he is one of my all-time favorite players, but no player meant more to his team's success in the NL than Jones. If Pujols didn't play for the Cards this season, they still would have had a shot at the division title, but without Jones the Braves had no chance whatsoever.
-- Steve Phillips

I know the argument for Andruw Jones as MVP is that, when the Braves were crumbling around him, he became a human tow truck, dragging them into first place. But did anyone outside of St. Louis notice that the Cardinals weren't exactly the coverboys for Health Magazine? Did anyone notice Scott Rolen, Larry Walker, Reggie Sanders and Yadier Molina were missing in action for weeks, for months? Did anyone notice that this team spent nearly 10 percent of this season with Molina, Mark Grudzielanek, So Taguchi, John Gall, John Rodriguez or John Mabry hitting in that cleanup hole behind Pujols? Did anyone notice that Pujols was the metronome in an offense that otherwise never found that 2004 rhythm? Did anyone notice that outside of home runs, Pujols blew away Jones in every major statistical category except RBI? And did anyone notice that RBI gap might have had something to do with the fact that Jones got 44 more at-bats with runners in scoring position than Pujols (yep, 44) -- and it's a good thing, since Pujols hit .329 with men in scoring position, compared to Jones' (yikes) .207. I know that teams like the Cardinals rarely produce MVPs. But they produced one this year -- a fellow named Albert Pujols.
-- Jayson Stark
Third-party candidate: Derrek Lee
Too bad he plays for the Cubs. If not, we'd be talking about Lee as the hands-down MVP, even with Pujols and Jones in the mix. All Lee did was lead the majors in OPS (1.080) and batting average (.335). His slugging percentage was 52 points better than the next guy ... in the majors. And Lee, not Pujols, won the NL's Gold Glove at first base. He may have to settle for third in the NL MVP voting this year, but Lee would be a lock for Player of the Year, if such an award existed.
-- ESPN staff