2010 National League MVP: Joey Votto or Carlos Gonzalez?

Eric Ball@@BigLeagueEballFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2010

2010 National League MVP: Joey Votto Or Carlos Gonzalez?

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 10:  Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds participates in batting practice before the start of  Game 3 of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies  at Great American Ball Park on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by And
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The 2010 MLB season had plenty of tremendous individual stories.

    People were still talking about a potential Triple Crown bid by three different players in the National League in mid August.

    As it turned out, Albert Pujols ran away with the home run crown with 42 and killed the intrigue.

    But Joey Votto and Carlos Gonzalez put together some of the most impressive individual numbers of any player in recent memory.

    Pujols didn't sport the batting average of the other two, the Cardinals were a big disappointment as a team, and Pujols is always in the mix for MVP. Pujols is out.

    So let's take a look at the two leading candidates for the most valuable player in the National League; Joey Votto and Carlos Gonzalez.

Batting Average

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 25:  Carlos Gonzalez #5 and Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies celebrate in the dugout after scoring on a Melvin Mora single to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead over the San Francisco Giants in the first inning at Coors Field on Sept
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Gonzalez won the N.L batting title with a .336 average. Votto finished second with a .324 mark.

    Was Cargo aided by the friendly confines of Coors Field? He hit .380 at home and .320 on the road.

    Gonzalez gets bonus points for his scorching-hot month of September. He hit a video game like .393 in the month.

    This came at the most crucial time of the season for the Rockies. With the help of Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies almost made another miracle September run into the postseason.

    Gonzo ended up with 197 total hits to Votto's 177.

    Votto's best month was July when he hit .362.

RBI

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 10: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds participates in batting practice before the start of  Game 3 of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies  at Great American Ball Park on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Gonzalez barely beat out Votto in this category, knocking in 117 to Votto's 114.

    Both players had three months of knocking in over 20 runs.

    Gonzalez collected 28 ribbies with men in scoring position and two outs. In the same scenario Votto had 26.

    The duo were the heart and soul of each team's respective lineup, but Cargo had the better protection batting clean-up. Troy Tulowitzki hit in the four-spot for most of the season while Votto had Scott Rolen hitting behind him.

    It should be noted that Gonzalez had 193 ABs in the lead-off sport, hitting .290 in that postion, while hitting .358 in 363 ABs. 

Home Runs

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    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 19:  Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnatti Reds doubles in the third inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 19, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Another close battle, Votto ended up with 37 to Gonzalez's 34.

    Each player hit 20 solo homers and one grand slam.

    But the Coors Field factor may play a big part in this match-up. Gonzalez only hit eight home runs at visiting parks while Votto actually hit more on the road (19) than at home (18).

Advanced Stats

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 27:  Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies warms up on deck as he prepares to take an at bat against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on September 25, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Dodgers defeated the Rockies 3-1.  (Photo by
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    OPB, Slug, OPS

    Votto:

    .424 .600 1.024

    Gonzalez:

    .376 .598 .974

    Essential this means that Votto was able to get on base at a higher rate than Cargo. The difference is in the amount of times each player drew a walk. Votto had 90 free passes while Gonzalez only had 45.

    This is a key stat to look at.

    Votto was able to get on base 45 more times than Gonzalez via the walk. Many of Votto's walks were either intentional or in an attempt to pitch around him. So how much better would Votto's stats be if he didn't have so many walks?

    This is also known as the Barry Bonds "what if" question.

Fielding Percentage

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 06:  Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies looks on as he takes the field against the Cincinnati Reds at Coors Field on September 6, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Gonzalez went 3 for 5 and increased his average to .340 as the Rockies d
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Votto had a .996 fielding percentage at first base, which means he had five errors in 1,265 total chances. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera credits Votto's stellar play as a major reason the Reds infield was widely considered the best not only in the National League, but possibly in all of baseball.

    Gonzalez played all three outfield positions. He didn't commit a single error as a right fielder or a center fielder, and committed one error in left on 83 total chances for a .988 percentage.

    Cargo's range was very impressive and I can still remember the diving Willie Mays like catch to finish a 12-11 10 run comeback win over the Braves.

    He is one of the most versatile players as well, not every player has the ability to play all three spots in the outfield.

Team Success

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    CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 11:  Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds waves to the crowd during the game against the Pittsburg Pirates at Great American Ball Park on September 11, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    This one is pretty easy.

    The Reds finished 91-71, winning the National League Central and earning their first playoff birth since 1995.

    The Rockies made it very interesting in September, but ultimately failed to make the postseason, finishing 83-79 and third in the National League West.

Votes By The Rest Of Baseball

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 14:  Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies connects for a base hit as catcher Nick Hundley #4 of the San Diego Padres backs up the plate and umpire Jeff Nelson oversees the action at Coors Field on September 14, 2010 in Denver, Col
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Gonzalez won the Players Choice Award for MVP of the NL.

    The poll was taken by all of the players in baseball. So according to his peers, Cargo was the best in '10.

Verdict

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    CINCINNATI - AUGUST 29:  Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds is at bat during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The difference between the two is essentially a few base hits and homers. Both players have emerged as premier players in all of baseball. The future of both franchises is in good hands with Votto and Gonzalez.

    For me the deciding factors are the difference in road/home splits and team success.

    Certainly the offensive numbers of Coors have gone down dramatically since the introduction of the humidor, but hitting only eight home runs on the road compared to 26 at home? And he hit .380 at Coors and only .320 on the road.

    That's a substantial difference.

    Critics will bring up Great American "Small Park".

    Yet Votto hit more homers on the road than at home, and had almost even splits across the board. He also had the higher OPS.

    The biggest factor is team success. Votto was able to do something that Griffey Jr, Dunn and plenty of others in the last 15 years of the Reds organization couldn't do.

    The Reds would have finished below .500 without Votto. He was by far the most valuable player on his team, and in the National League.

    National League MVP: Joey Votto