As of today, there are two tight races in the National League involving Cincinnati and St. Louis.
The Cardinals are chasing the Reds to be champs of the Central.
And Votto is chasing Pujols for National League MVP.
The Reds have been consistent. The Cardinals have been consistently inconsistent. And, as much as I hate to say it, I think that’s likely going to lead to a division championship for the Reds. The Cardinals best hope may be to eek out a Wild Card win by coming on strong in the coming weeks (and their schedule should allow for it).
Meanwhile, Pujols has been having what many consider to be a “down year”. While Votto is having, well, a career-year.
Check out their stats so far for 2010 (from rototimes.com):
2010 Year-To-Date Comparison
|2010 Year-To-Date Comparison|
Certainly what makes an “MVP” is debatable. And, it seems the arguments change based on players and situations. Some claim an MVP must come from a playoff team. And while it typically ends up being based on offensive production numbers, there are those who would claim it should really be about more than just offensive production.
Based on these numbers so far for 2010, it could easily be a toss-up. Pujols and Votto have nearly identical numbers.
One could certainly argue that Pujols is a better all-around player (I would). His defensive numbers seem to indicate that. And then there are the intangibles …. Pujols gets intentionally walked significantly more, gets far fewer pitches to hit, is a right-handed hitter, and plays in a less-friendly park for hitters than does Votto.
In other words … I think Pujols is better than Votto, and I think he’s more valuable than Votto. But, it would not surprise me in the least to see Votto win the MVP. It wouldn’t be the first time Albert was robbed of the award.
In fact, it will be interesting to see if the “MVP needs to be on a playoff team” argument rises again. If so, the National League MVP could very well go to the player whose team wins the Division.
And that’s looking more and more like it could be Votto and the Reds.