2010 MLB MVP Race: Joey Votto, Josh Hamilton and the 10 Biggest Contenders

Denton Ramsey@DentonRamseySenior Analyst ISeptember 23, 2010

2010 MLB MVP Race: Joey Votto, Josh Hamilton and the 10 Biggest Contenders

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    ST. PETERSBURG - AUGUST 17:  Outfielder Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers clowns around behing manager Ron Washington #38 during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on August 17, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The 2010 Major League Baseball season is quickly winding down to the final 10-plus games, and the race for postseason play—and postseason awards—is in full swing.

    And with those final two weeks of races coming down to the wire, it’s time to take a quick look at the 10 biggest contenders for one of baseball’s most prestigious awards: Most Valuable Player.

    So, from the likes of Cincinnati’s Joey Votto to Texas’ Josh Hamilton, who are the 10 players with the highest probability of bringing home the 2010 MVP hardware?

    Let’s begin…

AL, No. 5: Paul Konerko, CHW, 1B

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 29: Paul Konerko #14 of the Chicago White Sox hits the ball against the New York Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field on August 29, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Yankees defeated the White Sox 2-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    First baseman Paul Konerko, batting .315 this season with the Chicago White Sox, has been very impressive in 2010.

    In addition to his notable batting average, Konerko has 37 home runs and has driven in 105 runs this year for Chicago’s American League club—drawing 70 walks as well.

    Through 520 at-bats and counting, look for Konerko to finish in the top tier of votes in this season’s MVP race.

NL, No. 5: Adrian Gonzalez, SD, 1B

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 19: Adrian Gonzalez #23 of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on September 19, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Padres 4-1.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Im
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has done nearly everything in his power to make sure the Padres remain contenders in 2010.

    Gonzalez, who is batting .307 this season with San Diego, has 29 home runs and 97 runs batted in—along with 86 walks.

    With the Padres battling things out in the final two weeks for postseason positioning, look for Gonzalez to put in 110 percent effort down the stretch.

AL, No. 4: Robinson Cano, NYY, 2B

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano has absolutely been the super star for New York during the 2010 MLB season.

    Batting .322 with 28 home runs, Cano has also driven in 104 runs while drawing 54 walks.

    And with the Yankees appearing to be postseason bound once again, don’t be surprised when Cano finishing amongst the leaders of the pack in the MVP voting.

NL, No. 4: Matt Holliday, STL, LF

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Matt Holliday, a left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, has been putting up some remarkable numbers during his 2010 campaign.

    In addition to a .313 batting average, Holliday has driven in 99 runs while hitting 27 home runs.

    And although the Cards may be on the outside looking in come mid-October, Holliday has done just about everything possible to keep St. Louis in the hunt.

AL, No. 3: Jose Bautista, TOR, RF

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    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista has been a welcome sight for Toronto fans this season, and they have every reason to be excited about his future with the team.

    Bautista has blasted 49 home runs in 2010, along with driving in 114 runs with a .265 batting average.

    In addition, Bautista has 34 doubles and 95 walks this year with the Blue Jays—swiping eight stolen bases as well.

NL, No. 3: Carlos Gonzalez, COL, LF

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez likely has reasons to argue that he should be considered a higher contender in the MVP race than a No. 3 slot in the National League.

    Regardless, Gonzalez is still a possibility for taking home the MVP hardware—batting .339 in 2010 with 32 home runs.

    Gonzalez has also driven in 107 runs this season for the Rockies, stealing 23 bases along the way.

AL, No. 2: Miguel Cabrera, DET, 1B

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Now we’re getting to the fun part: Breaking down the top two leaders for both the American League and the National League.

    For the AL, some may argue that Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera should be the front-runner for the MVP hardware—and one could easily make that point.

    However, despite where Cabrera ultimately finishes in MVP voting, no one can argue against his phenomenal numbers in 2010.

    Cabrera is batting .326 this season with the Tigers, belting 35 home runs and driving in a major league-leading 120 runs—drawing 86 walks as well.

    In addition, the All-Star Detroit first baseman has garnered 45 doubles this year.

NL, No. 2: Albert Pujols, STL, 1B

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    As mentioned with Cabrera, the same could easily ring true with longtime St. Louis icon Albert Pujols—a guarantee to finish amongst the leaders in this season’s MVP race.

    Pujols, batting .307 in 2010 with 39 home runs and 109 runs batted in, has stolen 12 bases this year for the Cardinals while drawing 91 walks.

    The extraordinary thing about Pujols is the fact that the All-Star St. Louis first baseman consistently puts up solid numbers year-in and year-out.

    And just as in years past, don’t be surprised when Pujols finishes near the top—if not taking home another crown—in the 2010 MLB MVP race.

AL, No. 1: Josh Hamilton, TEX, LF

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    SEATTLE - AUGUST 03:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 3, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The Rangers have to be damn happy about Josh Hamilton’s production this season, as the All-Star left fielder is batting .361 in 2010 for Texas.

    Hamilton also has 31 home runs and 97 runs batted in this year, garnering 40 doubles and a trio of triples along the way.

    Not to mention that the Rangers appears to be a legitimate World Series contender for the first time in ages.

    Although Hamilton has been unable to continue playing lately due to a rib injury, the Texas left fielder is hopeful to return for the final five games of the season.

    And with the Rangers’ ticket to postseason play pretty much a guarantee, don’t be surprised if Hamilton takes home the MVP hardware this season.

NL, No. 1: Joey Votto, CIN, 1B

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto has been nothing short of incredible in 2010 for the NL Central-leading Reds.

    Batting .323 with 35 home runs and 106 runs batted in this season, Votto is definitely on his way to MVP-caliber numbers.

    In addition, Votto has 35 doubles while stealing 15 bases this year with Cincinnati—as the Reds appear to have a legitimate chance at postseason play with just under two weeks remaining in the regular season.

    And don’t be surprised if Votto takes home the MLB MVP hardware come season’s end in mid-October…

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    Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at denton.ramsey@gmail.com