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Now that we’ve had few days to deal with the disappointing end of the St. Louis Cardinals season in the World Series, it’s time to look at the big picture of 2013. A team doesn’t win 106 games from April through October without a a variety of key contributors. Some, of course, are more valuable than others.
Who was the Cardinals Most Valuable Player this year, taking into account both the regular season and postseason?
Carlos Beltran: Led the team with 24 regular season home runs, hit .296/.339/.491 with 84 RBI. In October, had 15 RBI and hit .268/.388/.464.
Matt Carpenter: Had the most hits in the National League with 199, most doubles in MLB with 55 and most runs scored in MLB with 126 while overall hitting .318/.392/.481 and often being mentioned in the NL MVP conversation. In October, things changed considerably as he only hit .217/.263/.290 with three doubles and four RBI. However, he did hit .296 in the World Series.
Matt Holliday: One of four Cardinals to hit .300 or better in the regular season, he led the team in OPS with .879 and hit .300/.389/.490 with 22 homers and a team-high 94 RBI. In October he hit .246/.268/.507 overall and hit four homers with 10 RBI. He was the only Cardinal to homer during the World Series, as he hit two, and he led the team with five RBI in the Series.
Yadier Molina: The Cardinals other NL MVP candidate, Yadi finished the regular season with the third-highest batting average in the National League as he hit .319/.359/.477 with 12 homers and a career-high 80 RBI. Last week, he won his sixth straight Gold Glove for his performance this season. In October, Yadi hit .274/.348/.355 with one homer and four RBI, and he hit .304 in the World Series. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, he guided the pitching staff — with all of its rookie contributors in particular — with his leadership behind the plate.
Trevor Rosenthal: He didn’t earn his first save of the season until Sept. 23 (although many would argue he should have taken over as closer before then) and, until that point, owned the eighth inning in his first full year in the majors. He ended the regular season with 108 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings pitched, with a save in each of the three games against the Washington Nationals in late September. Then came October. His ERA was 0.00 through 10 appearances and he struck out 18 in 11 2/3 innings pitched. He earned four saves with perhaps his most impressive performance in the Cards 1-0 win in Game Two of the NLCS, when he struck out Yasiel Puig, Juan Uribe and Andre Ethier in the ninth. His one blown save, in Game Three of the World Series, resulted in him earning the win on the walk-off obstruction play.
Adam Wainwright: The team ace won 19 games in the regular season, which tied for the NL lead, and he finished with a 2.94 ERA. He led the Cards starters in strikeouts with 219 plus only had 35 walks, not walking a batter at all until his fifth start of the season. When he was on, he really was on — he had two shutouts and five complete games. In October, he was outstanding against the Pirates in the NLDS. He only allowed one earned run each in two starts, including a complete game in the deciding Game Five. And though he ended up with three straight losses in the NLCS and World Series, he never allowed more than three earned runs in any start and struck out 10 in his final game.
Vote now — who’s your Cardinals MVP?