NL MVP: Ranking the Top Five Preseason Favorites
Spring Training starts up in less than a week and the upcoming baseball season should be a great one. The NL MVP is most prestigious individual award in National League.
The National League MVP is awarded annually to the player who has the most value to his respected team. Recent winners of the NL MVP include names such as Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, and other greats.
In follow-up of my AL list I have decided to make an NL version of the preseason prediction.
Hanley Ramirez: Shortstop/Florida Marlins
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Hanley Ramirez has been one of the best players in National League over the past few years, but is team has never had too much success, so he has not gotten the MVP publicity he deserves.
Last year, Ramirez did not have his best year, but he still hit .300 with 76 RBI’s while scoring 92 runs and stealing 32 bases. Ramirez’s numbers should only improve since he is just hitting his prime at age 27. Hanley has proven to be one of the most dynamic players in the National League.
The key to Hanley’s MVP chances are whether or not the Florida Marlins make the playoffs. The Marlins are not great, but they do have a Cy Young caliber pitcher in Josh Johnson and a young line-up.
Hanley may be a long-shot, but if the Florida Marlins sneak into the playoffs, they will need to be led by Hanley and if they make the playoffs hey will almost be a lock for the MVP.
Ryan Braun: Outfield/Milwaukee Brewers
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The Hebrew Hammer has developed into one of the more premier hitters in the National League. The Brewers have not been very good the last few years, but they added some good talent in the offseason and should be set for a playoff run.
In 2010 Ryan Braun .304 while driving in 103 and crossing the plate 101 times. Braun is only 27 and is still developing and should be prime for a huge season in the middle of an improving Brewers lineup. Braun should have plenty of opportunities to drive in and score runs.
Like many of the candidates, the key to the Braun’s chances of an MVP award is based upon whether or not the Brewers can make an effective run to the playoffs. The Brewers will need to get past Pujols’ cardinals.
Ryan Braun is one of the best hitters and the National League and has a great chance to become the NL’s MVP winner.
Joey Votto: First Baseman/Cincinnati Reds
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The defending National League MVP is set to repeat his outstanding performance. Joey Votto clearly established himself as a top player in the National League.
In Votto’s MVP performance he hit .324 with 113 RBI’s and scored a 106 runs. Votto should definitely be able to repeat his incredible performance and at age 27 is just entering his prime. The Reds have placed him in the middle of a solid lineup.
The Cincinnati Reds should have a decent chance to repeat in the National League Central. Votto will need to keep up his top-level performance to keep the NL Central title.
Votto is a great young player coming off the best season of his career and should be ready to repeat his performance of last year.
Albert Pujols: First Baseman/ St. Louis Cardinals
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Albert Pujols is undoubtedly one of the best hitters of his generation. If he manages to stay on the Cardinals throughout the whole year and not let the contract distract him, he should add another great season to his already impressive résumé.
Pujols in 2010 batted .312 while driving in 118 runs and scoring 115 times. Pujols is aging a little bit, but at age 31 should still be able to put up great numbers. The Cardinals surrounded Pujols with a fairly talented lineup that should allow him to excel.
Like other NL Central MVP candidates it’s going to come down to whether or not the Cardinals can make the playoffs. The thing that might hurt Pujols the most is the season ending injury to co-ace Adam Wainwright, which severely hurts the Cards chances at the playoffs.
Pujols is considered a modern legend of the game and should continue to put up prolific numbers through 2011 and into the future.
Carlos Gonzalez: Outfield/Colorado Rockies
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Cargo is coming off by far the best year of career, nearly snagging the National League Triple Crown. Carlos should be able to repeat the crazy numbers he produced last year.
Last year Cargo hit .336 with 117 RBI’s and 111 runs. Carlos Gonzalez at the young age of 25 might be the best young player in the Big Leagues and plays in a ball park that heavily favors the hitter. He also plays for team that has an excellent playoff shot in a west that is filled with teams that are just slightly above average.
Cargo has a chance to put up the best numbers in Rockies’ franchise history. Colorado’s lineup is not the greatest, but he does have Troy Tulowitzki to support him in the middle of the order. If the Rockies win the division like they should, Cargo should be the Nation League’s MVP.