Saturday, October 2, 2010

Who should win the NL MVP Award?

There's a very good chance that Albert Pujols will not win the NL MVP Award for the for time since 2007.  It's probably going to be Joey Votto, and it will be well-deserved. 

Jayson Stark picked Votto in his recent year-end awards article, and after going through all of his excellent stats, put that one of the key reasons is that Votto has carried the Reds to the playoffs.  The Reds, as in the franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since 1995 and shocked the baseball world by winning the NL Central this year.

Despite a relatively low batting average (for him), Albert Pujols leads the NL in R, RBI and HR, and he would be the first NL player to do that since Mike Schmidt in 1981.

Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) has amazing numbers too, but in a year when it's this close, it's probably going to someone on a playoff team.  That's not entirely fair (a team could falter down the stretch because of pitching while the MVP candidate is scorching), but it's a factor. 

               Votto    Pujols    Gonzalez
BA        #2 (NL)    6              1
OPS          1          2              3
OBP          1          2              14
SLG          1          1              1
HR            3          1              4
RBI           3          1              2
R               4          1              2
H               6          5             1
BB            3           2             79
RC            2           1             3 
TB             3          2              1
SB             26        29           11
RISP         2           4             3
BA: RO     1          14            6     

It could go to any one of these three players and be deserved, but it's probably going to be Votto.  He'll be seen as the key player in resurrecting one of baseball's great franchises, and he's the only one of the three that will be heading to the playoffs. 

Should he win? All three of them have the numbers, but Votto was also in the right place at the right time and took advantage.  It'll be tough for Pujols to lose if he leads the NL in R, HR and RBI, but he'll still be the favorite to win it next year.

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