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Matt Holliday is emerging as an NL MVP candidate

Aug 26, 2012, 9:27 PM EDT

Matt Holliday Getty Images

It’s time Matt Holliday starts getting his due as one of the game’s very best hitters.

Holliday went 4-for-5 with a double, a triple and four RBI as the Cardinals topped the Reds 8-2 today to move within six games of the NL Central lead. The Cardinals are currently in position as the No. 2 wild card, with the Dodgers and Pirates nipping at their heels.

Holliday upped his RBI total to 89, wrestling the NL lead away from teammate Carlos Beltran and the Brewers’ Ryan Braun. With an average 37 points higher that Beltran’s, he’s probably going to be recognized as the Cardinals’ best MVP candidate at season’s end. Yadier Molina also has a case, but even though he’s the league’s premier defensive catcher, it’s going to be hard for him to catch the voters’ attention when his power numbers are likely to come in well below Holliday’s and fellow catcher Buster Posey‘s.

Holliday is currently batting .309/.384/.527. If the season ended today, he’d be the only player in baseball to post a .900+ OPS in each of the last seven years. Albert Pujols has also done it six in a row and may well make it seven, but he’s sitting at .877 right now. Miguel Cabrera has done it every year but one: he barely missed in 2008, coming in at .887.

Holliday did go to a sixth All-Star Game this year, but he’s finished in the thick of the MVP race just once; a 2007 season in which he hit .340-36-137 for the Rockies and ended up in second place. If he leads the league in RBI, he’s destined for a top-five finish this year, and rightly or wrongly, he’ll probably have a good chance of winning it if his Cardinals reach the postseason and Andrew McCutchen and Posey stay home.

  1. jonrox - Aug 26, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    He certainly doesn’t deserve it this year. Barely .900 ops and no defense, and he’s not even the best batter on his team (Craig, this year). Yadier deserves it over him if anyone on the Cardinals does. I’d give it to Cueto

    • dondada10 - Aug 26, 2012 at 10:25 PM

      The MVP to Cueto? He’s not even the runaway Cy Young.

      • jonrox - Aug 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM

        He’s been the best player on one of the top teams consistently all year. Check out the WAR list and you’ll find Cueto near the top and Holliday not on at all. Even after missing 1/3 of the season, Votto has produced more WAR than Holliday.

        If I had my druthers, I would ignore the traditional line of thinking that the MVP has to go to a playoff-bound player and just hand it to McCutchen today.

        Point is, Holliday hasn’t done anything to earn the league MVP; he hasn’t even been the Cardinal’s MVP.

      • paperlions - Aug 26, 2012 at 11:37 PM

        Yeah, McCutcheon is the MVP at this point.

      • dondada10 - Aug 26, 2012 at 11:39 PM

        There’s 15 position players with a higher WAR than Cueto (4.4) and 3 pitchers (Verlander, King Felix and Kershaw) with higher numbers.

        Matt Holliday, BTW, is one of those position players at 4.5.

      • jonrox - Aug 27, 2012 at 12:17 AM

        Baseball-reference is higher on Cueto and relatively less high on Holliday. Among pitchers, only Verlander has a better WAR than Cueto’s 5.6 and among all NL players only D Wright an McCutch have better WAR (5.9 each) on b-r. And, again, Votto still has better WAR by both b-r and fangraphs than Holliday with only 2/3 of the appearances.

        Plus, even if Holliday is deserving, Yadier is more so.

      • dondada10 - Aug 27, 2012 at 12:39 AM

        The Reds are in a similar situation to the Cards in the sense that guys are gonna lose MVP votes to teammates.

        If the Giants make the playoffs and he finishes strong, I think Posey gets the award.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 27, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      Joanie? Hahaha! You would give it to Joanie? Right now? Take a look at the work R.A. Dickey has done and get back to us. Take a look at the work Clayton Kershaw has done and get back to us. Hell…take a look at the work KYLE LOHSE has done and get back to us.
      No “runaway” in this award Stymie.

  2. crillbill - Aug 26, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    Hebrew Hammer 2 years in a row

    • christos99 - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:08 AM

      Since you mentioned the steroid failing, procedural passing Braun, your boy Bud Selig sticks to his old Milwaukee Brewers roots…. God I hate Braun/Selig. And more that the Brewers are in the National League. Give the NL MVP to anyone else. No beef (kosher) from me.

  3. scatterbrian - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    Pujols has had a .900+ OPS every season he’s played, or 11 in a row.

    • ajcardsfan - Aug 27, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      Yeah, you’re right, checked Baseball Reference and Rotoworld, since he entered the majors in 2001, every season has been .900+ (excluding right now)

  4. jonirocit - Aug 27, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    I think buster posey has a war of like 8.4 …MVPish for sure

  5. chumthumper - Aug 27, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    Not gonna happen, but at least this is news out of St. Louis that doesn’t involve the DL.

  6. tmohr - Aug 27, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    Since MVP voters like RBI, I can see where Matthew’s coming from.

    Still, if any Cardinal should be MVP, it’s Yadier Molina. Who here thought he’d go from being Jim Sundberg to the new Gabby Hartnett?

  7. okwhitefalcon - Aug 27, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Molina and Holliday will split the any Cardinal-centric vote, it’s McCutcheon or Posey as we head to September.

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