2010 NL Most Valuable Player: B/R Columnists Pick Reds' Joey Votto for MVP
Over the last four weeks, Bleacher Report's Featured Columnists have released the results of our mock vote for every significant MLB award, from Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers to Rookies of the Year and Cy Youngs.
Yesterday, we reached the apex of our American League awards with the announcement of Josh Hamilton as our AL MVP. Today, our series comes to a close with our choice for the National League Most Valuable Player.
This time, the top 10 vote-getters are featured here, with commentary from the writers who chose them. The full list of results—featuring 41 players who were picked on our ballots—is after the No. 1 pick.
Thank you to all the writers who voted and contributed commentary. I hope it's been as fun for all of you to read these as it's been for me to write them. If you missed one of the previous 15 slideshows, the full list with links is at the end.
So read on, see how we did, and be sure to tell us what we got wrong!
No. 10: Aubrey Huff, Giants
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Featured writer: Dan Hartel
Last January, when the Giants signed Aubrey Huff, no one thought much of it. However, Huff exceeded everyone’s expectations, putting up 26 HRs, 86 RBI, 100 Runs, a .290 average, and an .891 OBP in 157 games.
Huff was a constant fixture in the middle of the San Francisco Giants’ lineup, and his contributions throughout the season were one of the main reasons the Giants were in position to overcome the San Diego Padres and win the National League West crown.
While Huff’s total statistics may be overwhelmed by the likes of Albert Pujols and Joey Votto, the original intention of the MVP was to award the player who contributed most to their team’s success.
Huff was the Giants’ main offensive fixture in 2010, and one could argue that he contributed more to the Giants' success than those players with higher statistics contributed to their teams.
No. 9: Jayson Werth, Phillies
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Featured writer: Dan Tylicki
One of the key members of the 2011 free agent market also happens to be someone who should get some MVP votes: Jayson Werth.
After breaking through last year and becoming a great player for the Phillies, he had continued that this year.
His batting average hovers around .300, his OPS is up, his doubles were through the roof, and while his power numbers were down a bit, he was actually a better hitter this year, evidence both by the above and his fewer strikeouts.
The player who brought the Phillies to the NLCS when Utley and Rollins were injured no doubt deserves some MVP votes.
No. 8: Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
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Featured writer: Lewie Pollis
Who is the best third baseman in baseball? A casual fan might name Alex Rodriguez or David Wright. A more informed spectator might choose Evan Longoria or Adrian Beltre.
Not many people would name Ryan Zimmerman. But even if he’s not a household name, Magnum Z.I. is arguably the best hot cornersman in the game.
There was no single aspect of the game at which Zimmerman dominated; he was simply an all-around great player. He combined a .307/.388/.510 slashline—good for a .389 wOBA—with 25 homers and 85 RBI. He also had another Gold Glove-caliber season on defense, posting a 13.9 UZR.
But Zimm’s best statistic was his 7.2 Wins Above Replacement—the third-best in the league, behind only Joey Votto and Albert Pujols. That’s why he deserves strong consideration for NL MVP.
No. 7: Matt Holliday, Cardinals
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Featured writer: Matt Trueblood
Holliday’s first full season in tandem with Albert Pujols was not enough to propel the Cardinals past the Reds, but the left fielder had his best-ever all-around season in 2010.
He batted .312/.390/.532 with 28 homers and 103 RBI despite taking up full-time residence in what has generally played as a pitcher’s park. He cut down on his strikeouts (93, his fewest ever over a full season) and added 45 doubles to his 28 bombs.
The real reinvention for Holliday, though, was in the outfield. Holliday, who once struggled to play average defense in left field, was the best left fielder in the NL by a wide margin in 2010.
Depending on your metric of choice, he was worth either three or five runs better than his nearest competitor in that category.
No. 6: Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
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Featured writer: Asher Chancey
Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn…the list of big-named first basemen in the National League in 2010 was a long one. But one of them stood apart from all the others, and that was Adrian Gonzalez.
The essence of Adrian is Petco Park; in 2010 he hit 20 home runs with a .315 average and a .980 OPS. If Adrian didn’t play in such a pitcher's paradise, he’d be the unanimous pick for best hitter in baseball.
And he is the reason this team won 90 games.
No. 5: Roy Halladay, Phillies
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Featured writer: Matt Goldberg
Very few pitchers and even fewer starting pitchers are even in the running for MVP awards, but Roy “Doc” Halladay certainly deserves some consideration, if not an MVP to bookend his Cy Young Award.
In a season where the Phillies lineup was not as steady or potent as in years past, Doc was the workhorse for a team that had the best record in all of baseball. He was the clear ace among three aces, allowing Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt (in whichever order) to be dominant “2” and “3” starters.
Halladay led the NL in wins, complete games, shutouts and innings pitched, and even clinched the NL East with a two-hit shutout—a dominant first season in the Senior Circuit, for which he merits some MVP consideration.
No. 4: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
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Featured writer: Bob Warja
Joey Votto will win the award, and deservedly so, but you can’t ignore the contributions of Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowirzki—especially down the stretch, when he was simply on fire.
The man was possessed just when his team needed him the most, and if that isn’t a sign of value, then what is? Don’t get me wrong, Votto had a great year and his team won the division.
But consider that Tulo played the more valuable defensive position. That increases his value relative to Votto, who played first base—and he played great to boot.
He is the finest defensive shortstop in the NL and when you combine that with his offense and the timely production of his historic tear, you have a strong candidate for the award in my opinion.
Tulowitzki hit 14 homers in 15 games and had 35 RBI during the span that launched the Rockies back into playoff contention. He almost single-handedly was the reason the Rockies battled to the end.
No. 3: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
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Featured writer: Dennis Schlossman
In just his third Major League season, Carlos Gonzalez has proven that he is among the best offensive weapons in the game.
In 2010, Gonzalez’s .336 batting average, 197 hits, and 351 total bases were all tops in the National League. His .598 slugging percentage and 117 RBI were good enough for second in the NL, while his 111 runs scored and 34 home runs placed him third and fourth, respectively.
The 25-year-old outfielder also proved his solid base running skills over the course of the season as he stole 26 bases and hit nine triples—both career highs.
Gonzalez certainly has the respect of his peers as well, which was evident when he was announced as the winner of the National League Outstanding Player, an award determined by the players.
No. 2: Albert Pujols, Cardinals
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Featured writer: Evan Bruschini
After winning the National League Most Valuable Player award two years in a row, running away with the award unanimously in 2009, Jose Alberto Pujols Alcantara finally got some competition this year.
Still, it’s not enough to unseat the reigning consensus best player in baseball. In what was considered a down year by his own standards, Pujols led the league in homers and RBI, while also being worth nearly one win more than any other player in the NL.
The phrase “valuable” is often scrutinized when talking about MVP awards, and in the case of Pujols, no player was more “valuable” to his team. Albert led the Cardinals in homers, RBI, slugging, on-base percentage, and total bases.
He tied Matt Holliday for the team league in batting, and was just three hits behind Holliday for the lead in hits, and six back in doubles, although both totals were good for fifth and eight in the league, respectively.
In this close race, the incumbent should be the favorite.
No. 1: Joey Votto, Reds
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Featured writer: Jeremiah Graves
Joey Votto was the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 2010, bar none. Realize I’m saying this about a guy who plays in the same league and even the same division as the almighty Albert Pujols. Yeah, his season was that freakin’ good.
Votto, 27, put up an incredible .324/.424/.600 battling line on the season. He led the league in on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He jacked 37 home runs, 36 doubles, 113 RBI, swiped 16 bases and 106 times, almost all career highs.
Votto began the season largely unknown to baseball fans outside of Cincinnati, but turned himself into a household name by the All-Star break. He did so by fueling a Cincinnati offense that was one of the best in the National League.
The biggest reason, however, that Votto is the Most Valuable Player in the National League is that he was the catalyst on a surprise team that landed in the playoffs years before anyone realistically expected the club to compete.
Votto came up big all season long and helped surge the Reds to the head of the pack in the NL Central and for that, the young Canadian deserves the 2010 NL MVP.
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1. Joey Votto, Reds—347 (21)
2. Albert Pujols, Cardinals—238 (4)
3. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies—200 (1)
4. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies—137
5. Roy Halladay, Phillies—114 (1)
6. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres—113
7. Matt Holliday, Cardinals—70
8. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals—40
9. Jayson Werth, Phillies—32
10. Aubrey Huff, Giants—23
11. Ryan Howard, Phillies—19
T12. Ryan Braun, Brewers—18
T12. Adam Dunn, Nationals—18
T12. Buster Posey, Giants—18
15. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals—16
16. Dan Uggla, Marlins—13
17. Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies—11
T18. Andres Torres, Giants—10
T18. Brian Wilson, Giants—10
20. Jason Heyward, Braves—9
21. Josh Johnson, Marlins—7
T22. Prince Fielder, Brewers—6
T22. Tim Hudson, Braves—6
T22. Colby Rasmus, Cardinals—6
T25. Mat Latos, Padres—5
T25. Billy Wagner, Braves—5
T25. Rickie Weeks, Brewers—5
T29. Brian McCann, Braves—4
T29. Scott Rolen, Reds—4
T31. Heath Bell, Padres—3
T31. Corey Hart, Brewers—3
T31. Martin Prado, Braves—3
T31. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins—3
35. Marlon Byrd, Cubs—2
T36. Jay Bruce, Reds—1
T36. Matt Cain, Giants—1
T36. Chase Headley, Padres—1
T36. Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks—1
T36. Angel Pagan, Mets—1
T36. Wilson Valdez, Phillies—1
Voting on a 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. First-place votes are in parentheses.
Schedule Of Results
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|AL Gold Gloves||October 25|
|NL Gold Gloves||October 26|
|AL Silver Sluggers||October 27|
|NL Silver Sluggers||October 28|
|AL Comeback Player of the Year||November 1|
|NL Comeback Player of the Year||November 2|
|AL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year||November 3|
|NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year||November 4|
|AL Rookie of the Year||November 8|
|NL Rookie of the Year||November 9|
|AL Manager of the Year||November 10|
|NL Manager of the Year||November 11|
|AL Cy Young||November 15|
|NL Cy Young||November 16|
|AL Most Valuable Player||November 17|
|NL Most Valuable Player||