As we approach the All-star break, let’s get updated on the N.L MVP race.
Joey Votto, Cinncinati Reds
Joey Votto is looking like the Joey Votto of 2010 where he beat out Albert Pujols for the National League MVP award. In 2010, he won the MVP award because he was the most consistent hitter on the planet throughout the 162 games marathon and out of all 30 major league teams, you probably couldn’t find a more consistent hitter than Votto right now.
Each hitter has a toolbox. The best hitters have the most tools, and Votto’s box is packed. He’s patient, hits for power, hits for an average, and is consistently getting on base. He is hitting (.354) which ranks fifth in all of baseball but what’s even more impressive is his major league leading OBP of (.477).
However, the most stunning of Votto’s abilities as a hitter has yet to be mentioned. This ability that Votto boasts is having a patient approach in every at bat he takes. The slugger has the rare aptitude to consistently take walks as his (19.1) walk percentage is tops among all hitters in baseball, and his prowess to not chase bad pitches is a big reason why he’s having so much success in almost every aspect of hitting.
To cap it off, his WAR of (3.6) is just a tick behind David Wright’s (3.7) for baseball’s top spot. Not to mention that Votto is arguably the best defensive first basemen in the National League.
Can you say MVP?
Here is a table comparing all of the players. The leaders of each stat are in bold.
David Wright, New York Mets
There’s a reason why the Mets haven’t completely fallen off the ship yet, and the reason is David Wright’s resurgence. Coming into the 2012 campaign, Met’s fans just assumed that Wright would be shipped out of Queens by the trade deadline. However, 60 games into the season, that assumption appears to be far from the truth.
After spending the majority of the past couple season’s on the DL, Wright seemed destined for a change of scenery, but as of now he seems like the piece the Mets want to build their future team around because they are winning.
Wright is hitting (.362), a batting average good enough for second in the National League behind the Giants’ Melky Cabrera. And if that’s not enough to convince you that he is a legitimate MVP candidate, there’s more.
Wright leads the major league in probably the most important stat when judging a player’s success, WAR. He has a 3.7 WAR average, which leads the majors, but Wright has also hit seven home runs on 33 runs batted in. He’s practically carrying the Mets’ offense on his back, and so far it’s working as the Mets remain in contention in the National League and Wright remains in good company for the MVP award.
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
Other than Josh Hamilton, Carlos Gonzalez might have the best left-handed power swing in the league. Granted, Cargo plays half of his games at the hitter friendly Coors field, he still deserves a great deal of credit for what he’s doing in a rather weak Rockies’ lineup.
Gonzalez owns the second best slugging percentage in the National League at (.606), trailing none other than Joey Votto for the lead. Despite trailing Votto at the moment, don’t be surprised if Cargo finishes the year with a higher slugging percentage seeing that he has a swing built for power, unlike Votto who has a swing built for more consistency rather than home runs.
The only reason why Gonzalez might fall out of contention for the award is the team he plays on. The Rockies are 12 games behind the N.L West leading Dodgers, and with Troy Tulowitzki out for a couple more weeks, that number could soon creep towards 20. The Rockies struggles most likely explains why their star has such a low WAR (1.7), but voters won’t over look his average (.319) and how many runs he has driven in (45).