Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who is the Victoria Seals MVP now?

Just before the "blockbuster" trade with the Calgary Vipers, I posted a poll on the blog asking who the team MVP was. The two players with the most votes were Isaac Hess and Sergio Pedroza. Now that both players are gone, it's highly unlikely either of them will be named MVP of the Seals. So who is the next best choice?

From where I sit, there are three options: Wilver Perez, Josh Arhart and Jamar Hill.

Wilver Perez has been the team's leadoff hitter for the majority of the season and he leads the team in runs scored with 74. He's third on the team in batting average (.318) and on-base percentage and he leads the team with 24 stolen bases (which ties him for 5th place in the league). His play defensively has been spectacular at times, but he's been inconsistent and has committed 14 errors. Then there are the intangibles. Wilver is always keeping his teammates loose and joking around and he looks like a fun guy to be around. His hustle is second to none -- whether it's taking the extra base or running hard when he hits a routine grounder and causing the fielder to rush his throw. He'd be a good choice as team MVP.

But then there is Jamar Hill. All he is done is lead the league with 19 home runs. Jamar is also leading the team in RBIs with 63, although Sergio Pedroza would be leading if he didn't get traded to Calgary ten days ago. Jamar is 5th on the team in batting average (.292) and second on the team in on-base percentage, thanks to 48 walks. However, he has struck out a whopping 65 times, 5th highest in the league. On the negative side, he is weak defensively and a poor base runner. But he has also thrilled the fans with some of the most memorable moments of 2009 at RAP. He's hit four homers in a game and smashed that wonderful walk-off grand slam on Father's Day. He'd also be a good choice as team MVP.

But then there is Josh Arhart. Josh has earned his spot as the Seals' cleanup hitter. He hit seventh in the Seals' inaugural game back in May, but he gradually moved up in the order until Darrell Evans put him into the four hole. Arhart leads the team in batting average (.325) and on-base percentage (.416). His on-base percentage is aided by 26 walks and an impressive 15 hit-by-pitches (which is 5th highest in the league). Talk about taking one for the team. Arhart is also excellent defensively -- he has only committed four errors on the season, which is really quite remarkable. He is outstanding at blocking pitches in the dirt, which is something he has had to do a lot for a pitching staff that sports a team ERA of 5.95. I can remember a few nights when Arhart successfully blocked 8-10 pitches in the dirt. He calls a good game behind the plate and is clearly a team leader. And then there's the "Arrrrrrhart" phenomenon. The chanting of his name, and the ensuing eye patches and pirate music, makes him the original cult figure of the Victoria Seals franchise.

After weighing the three options, it becomes pretty clear. Josh Arhart is the MVP of the Victoria Seals. He's their heart and soul and let's hope that he returns to the team in 2010.