With the season coming to a close and the playoff race brewing, questions start to heat up about who should become this year’s Most Valuable Players. In the American League, Alex Rodriguez has pretty much wrapped up the MVP with the year he is having at the plate. But the real question remains, who will become the National League MVP? While many people may lean toward New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes or Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, I feel that it is Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins who deserves the award this year.
In a time where Black shortstops are rare in baseball, Rollins has single-handedly kept the Phillies in the playoff race this season. With injuries to players on the pitching staff and other vital positions, Rollins has done nothing but have the Phillies six games out of the NL East Division lead and two games out of the Wild Card spot.
Rollins leads the National League in triples and total bases, and is second in hits. He has done all of this while keeping a .297 batting average.
Because of injuries, Rollins moved down in the batting order to protect his teammate Ryan Howard in a couple of games this season. The switch-hitting shortstop is no slouch on the defensive side of the ball either. He has a .986 fielding percentage on the season, which is the highest in his career since 2004.
If Rollins does win the MVP, it will be a couple of landmarks that will be made. It will be the first time that a Black shortstop has won the award since Barry Larkin in 1995 and the third time ever. (Ernie Banks won it in 1958 and 1959.)
It would also be the first time that two Black teammates have won the award in consecutive years. (Ryan Howard did it last year.).