The mystery is over.  No need to even have a vote.  We now know who the Most Valuable Player in the National League is.

It isn’t Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, or Ubaldo Jimenez.  He plays in the National League East, but he isn’t Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Jason Heyward, or Ryan Zimmerman.  

The 2010 NL MVP plays for the Philadelphia Phillies, but he isn’t Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, or Roy Halladay.

The 2010 National League Most Valuable Player is none other than Jimmy Rollins.

Not on board with that idea yet?  No matter–I would not have been either if I had not seen it with my own eyes.  But the evidence is overwhelming.

The Phillies started the 2010 season with six wins in their first seven games, and frankly they were not close wins.  Only a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros in the sixth game was decided by less than three runs.

Then Jimmy got hurt.  During the one month that Rollins was out–from April 12th through May 16–the Phillies went 17-12 and briefly fell out of first place in the NL East.

Jimmy returned on May 17th, with the Phillies getting the win in his first game back by a score of 12-2.  But J-Roll’s return was brief, as he went back on the disabled list after only five games back.

And that’s when things got bad.

The Phillies were without Rollins from May 22nd to June 21st–exactly one month’s worth of games–and history will remember it as the most brutal streak that the current incarnation of the Phillies has endured.

For the record: The Phillies went 9-17 during the time that Jimmy was out.  They were shut out six times, and scored only one run in four other games.  Out of nine total series during the time that Rollins was out, the Phillies won only two of them.  And, they went from 5.0 games up in the division to 5.5 games out of the lead in the division.

That ain’t the stuff that World Series teams are made of.

J-Roll returned to the Phillies lineup on June 22nd, and the Phillies have yet to lose.  More importantly, they are scoring again–after a 2-1 victory on Tuesday, the Phillies scored seven runs on Wednesday, 12 runs on Thursday, and (as of this writing) have nine runs in the eighth inning against Toronto.

Perhaps the most important statistic is this:

Assuming tonight’s game against the Blue Jays holds up, the Phillies will move to 12-3 with Rollins in the lineup, and 27-29 without.

At the end of the day, the picture these stats paint is too clear to ignore: with Jimmy Rollins in the lineup, the Phillies are a World Series team.  Without him, they struggle to stay about .500.

I don’t know who is going to come out on top in the NL MVP voting at the end of the year, but I can tell you right now who the Most Valuable Player in the National League is.

He plays shortstop for the Phillies, and he’s got them back on a roll.

A J-Roll.


Asher B. Chancey lives in Philadelphia and is a co-founder of .

Read more MLB news on