The rest of the field competing for the National League Most Valuable Player award had its chance to take over the top spot from Andrew McCutchen in August.
But now that the calendar has turned to September, the Pittsburgh Pirates' center fielder appears to have beaten whatever was bringing him down during the past month. It's very early in September, of course, but signs seem to indicate that McCutchen is swinging the bat well again. If he starts hitting for power as well, his grasp on the MVP trophy will only get stronger.
The top five didn't change very much from last week, though some players, such as the Cincinnati Reds' Jay Bruce, Atlanta Braves' Jason Heyward, Colorado Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez and Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, are all making a push to break in.
Personally, I like Adam LaRoche as the Washington Nationals' top MVP candidate, too, though he's just not hitting well enough from an average standpoint to be considered.
It still looks like a two-man race between McCutchen and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants through September. But the Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun might have something to say about that if he keeps launching baseballs out of the park.
These look like the top-five top contenders for the NL MVP award this week. All the statistics mentioned here are current before play began on Sept. 5.
Please share your responses and suggestions for this week's top five in the comments. We had a great discussion last week. You can also reply to me on Twitter. My address is at the end of this article. That feedback can influence how these rankings are assembled from week to week.