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Midseason Awards: NL & AL Most Valuable Player

July 14, 2010

Each of my previous two posts each took a look at who I feel is most deserving of the National League and American League Cy Young Awards at the midpoint to the 2010 season. My thoughts on the NL award can be found here, while my AL choice can be found here. Up next, the Most Valuable Player from each league.

Any discussion about the NL MVP has revolved around St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols for the past few years. It’s certainly a deserved honor – he is the best hitter in the Majors. While this season has seen Pujols continue the trend his career has followed – this will be his 10th consecutive season to start his career with a batting average above .300, 30+ HRs, 100+ RBIs, 30+ doubles, and an All Star selection – he isn’t quite the most valuable player in the league through the first half of the season.

That distinct honor will go to Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto. While he compares neck-and-neck with Pujols from a statistical standpoint, the difference is the fact that Votto has put the Reds on his back and carried that team through the first half of the season. Yes, he’s gotten some help from a revitalized Scott Rolen and a pitching staff that shows some serious depth going into the second half of the season, but Votto has been the key.  He’s emerged as a leader on that team and not only has he lead them to a respectable record but the Reds currently sit atop the NL Central at the midpoint of the season. Pujols’ Cardinals are in second.

Worthy of consideration here – and third in my voting – is Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies. Gonzalez has started to develop into the player scouts have seen coming for years and he is proving to be a compatible star to Troy Tulowitski. Lately, with Tulo’s injury, Gonzalez has stepped up right when the team needed someone to step up. He’s going to be vital for the team to stay in the pennant race in the second half – at least until either Tulo returns or the organization goes out and trades for another bat.

Over in the American League, most of the talk around the break seemed to focus on Miguel Cabrera’s first half and his potential pursuit of the Triple Crown. Cabrera is tied for the league lead in average, second in HRs, and first in RBIs. There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner in nearly 50 years, so the excitement is justifiable but a little premature. If Cabrera is still in striking distance as August comes to a close then I say it’s time to start “counting down to the Triple Crown”.

While Cabrera does come out on top of this discussion, Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton doesn’t finish far behind. He’s currently tied with Cabrera in average and HRs. The Rangers currently sit on top of the AL West and are making a strong push for the postseason while Cabrera’s Tigers have largely disappointed thus far.

New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano has cooled a bit from his torrid start to the season but still sits right near the top of most statistical leader boards. The Yankees are currently the best team in MLB. Cano has been the catalyst of the Yankee lineup so far and comes in third on my list.

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