The playing field for the NL MVP Award is a lot more leveled.
First, there is Joey Votto, who is having the best statistical season of anyone in the league and has once again been the leader for the Reds, who are currently one game behind the Pirates.
Speaking of the Pirates, their centerfielder, Andrew McCutchen, has recently been thrown into the discussion and is a very worthy candidate as well, with the numbers and he has put up and the leadership he has shown for a Pirates team that has not been to the postseason since 1992.
Another candidate is Melky Cabrera of the Giants, who has been one of the biggest offensive surprises this year and has given his pitching-heavy team some much needed offensive support.
But no player in the National League has meant more to his team than David Wright of the Mets. Wright got off to a very hot start and was still batting over .400 at early May. His batting average of course has since fallen to .351, which is third in the league. He also is fifth in the league with 59 RBI, tied for fifth in runs scored with 56, fourth in hits with 106, tied for second with 27 doubles and third in OPS at a 1.004 mark. In addition, Wright leads the league in wins above replacement at 4.7, which shows how significant he has been to the Mets' success.
As far as his power goes, Wright may only have 11 home runs, but he is due to go on a big power streak in the second half. Thus, he will likely get to around 25 home runs at the end of the season.
Unlike Hamilton, Wright may not be the runaway statistical leader for the National League right now, but again, words do not fully describe how valuable he has been to the Mets, a team that was widely expected to lost over 100 games. Instead, the Mets go into the All-Star break with a 46-40 record and have a great shot at making the postseason for the first time since 2006.
With Ike Davis and Jason Bay in particular having poor seasons, Wright has been the consistent offensive force for a Mets lineup that really lacks another superstar hitter besides him. He is also one of the few veteran players on the Mets' young team, and with that being said, the whole team looks at him as the leader. He sparks energy into his teammates and makes them perform better every day.
This race is going to be very close throughout the season, but with the way things are shaping up, Wright will become the first Mets player to ever win the NL MVP Award. Two former Mets have finished second in NL MVP voting. Keith Hernandez finished second in 1984 and teammate Darryl Strawberry finished second in 1988.
Honorable Mentions: Votto, McCutchen, Cabrera, Carlos Beltran