There are now less than 10 games left in the marathon that is the Major League Baseball season. There were many lessons taught this year: One of which is that 2010 was the year of the pitcher, with so many pitchers throwing absolute gems.
We learned that even though its been three years, somebody can reach the 50 home run mark again (even though Jose Bautista only had 59 total HR for his career. Suspicious? Kind of. I like to give him the benefit of the doubt though).
I personally learned that every year I keep telling myself that this fantasy baseball year will be more fun, and every year its just as boring/frustrating as ever.
What we didn't learn however is who will be this years National League MVP? It's been a while since an MVP race has been so close. Usually, it's only between two, or at the max three people who have a legitimate shot at wining the title. This year it seems that nobody wanted to take control and pull away, so five players can now win it. The real question now is: Who wants it more? Let's take a look at the five trying to take home the MVP award.
Why he will win: Always an MVP contender, this year is no different. He leads the NL in home runs with 41 and is second in RBI with 112, not to mention he is hitting .310. If he ends up leading in two of the three NL triple crown statistics, won't it be hard NOT to give him the award?
Why he won't win: Well, as good as his .310 batting average is, his career is mark is .331, so he isn't living up to his machine-like expectations. Also, the Cardinals faded big time down the stretch even though they are gifted with Pujols, Holiday, Wainwright, and Carpenter. With the Cards struggling and Pujols always winning the award, the voters might take into consideration and hold it against him.
Why he will win: A few weeks ago, I would have said CarGo was a lock for the MVP award. Then, his teammate, TULO, started going ballistic with the bat. However, CarGo has the best numbers in the NL hands down. He is hitting .342 which is first, has 34 HR's, and leads the NL with 113 RBI. So, as of right now he leads in two of the three triple crown numbers. Did I also mention that he has 25 stolen bases and is two triples shy of completing the quadruple double? (Quadruple double: 10+ HR, 10+2B, 10+3B and 10+SB; only Shane Victorino has that in the NL right now.)
Why he won't win: The four game losing streak the Rockies just experienced, making their run to the playoffs that much more unlikely, certainly did not help. Also not helping CarGo's cause is Tulo. Tulowitzki is getting so much attention for his September hot streak that it is taking away from CarGo's amazing year. The last negative you can see is that CarGo's home stats are so much more gaudy than his away stats, also known as the benefits of playing at Coors Field.
Why he will win: TULOOO is on a Ruthian like tear in September, hitting home run after home run. He and Carlos carried their team to a long win streak in September, which put the Rockies right back in the race for the Wild Card and pennant. While his numbers don't equal the others, because of his injuries, it really is his late surge that has everyone talking. If he can bash another five home runs in these last nine games and help Colorado make the playoffs, you could be looking at the new MVP.
Why he won't win: Just like with CarGo and Pujols, his team not making the playoffs is really going to hurt. Also, like I mentioned, he does not have the yearly numbers the other candidates have because of his injuries. Two other questions to think about: how much will CarGo and Tulo steal each others votes, thus hurting the others cause, and how much does playing at Coors Field inflate their numbers?
Why he will win: At one time he was the runaway favorite to win this award, especially when everyone thought he could win the triple crown. While he doesn't lead in any, he is in the top three in all the categories. The other aspect really helping Votto out, is that he led his team into winning the division, even though they might not have the most talent. Votto is hitting .323 with 35 HR's and 106 RBI. That with the remaining nine games to add on, equals an MVP-like year for me and has my vote.
Why he won't win: His numbers aren't as good as Pujols and CarGo, and he has had a relatively bland September unlike Tulo. Either Pujols or CarGo, will win two of the three triple crown stats, with RBI being up for grabs. There should be an asterisk here because Howard would have easily won the RBI race if he didn't get hurt for those 2 1/2 weeks. Can Votto win the award if CarGo or Pujols have two of the three triple crown requirements under their belt?
Why he will win: He is in the dark horse in this race. With the Cardinals fading, the Rockies looking like non-playoff contenders, and Votto having a weak September, Roy has stepped into the picture. He, most likely will win the Cy Young. He is the leader of the Phillies, who are the best team in the NL, and while all the Phillies have been hurt this year or struggled from time to time, Roy has been the rock who has held steady. He's the leader in the NL in Wins, CG, SO, IP, K's, and is third in ERA. Not to mention his K's to BB ratio is by far the best. Oh yeah, he also threw a perfect game this year. Roy only has two maybe three starts left, so he has to be outstanding in those starts to prove it.
Why he won't win: It's rare for a pitcher to win an MVP. I'm a big proponent to pitchers only winning Cy Young's because that is basically their MVP award and leave the MVP for the everyday players. Can a pitcher who only plays 38 games total really win the Most Valuable Player award over players who played 150+?
If the players can't decide who wants the MVP more, then it is up to you (Actually it's up to the sports writers).
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