2011 MLB Predictions Have Albert Pujols Once Again in Discussion as NL MVP

It’s not hard to make an argument for why St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols could be the 2011 National League MVP.

For one, he’s the best hitter in baseball.

On top of that, Pujols is in a contract year, and we all know how that can jump up players’ stats.

Pujols has won the NL MVP in three of the last six years and, as Yahoo! Contributor Bill Robbins notes, “The slugging Cardinals first basemen has already been labeled by some as one of the best hitters of all-time. It’s hard to argue that considering Albert has hit over 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his 10 MLB seasons, has been an All-Star nine times, and has already picked up three MVP awards.”

Although I do expect the Cincinnati Reds to beat out the Cardinals in the NL Central this season, something that certainly had a hand in Joey Votto winning the MVP award last season, keep in mind Pujols still won the MVP in 2008 when the Cardinals finished 11.5 games out of first place.

He’s one of the most respected players in the game, beyond being the best, and he’s already declared his contract situation with the Cardinals won’t affect his play.

And I believe him.

Pujols is more concerned with being one of the best hitters in baseball history to slow down in 2011.

His work ethic is ordinarily praised as possibly the best in Major League Baseball, and one only has to look at his physique and the way he studies pitchers to understand this assessment.

If he leads the Cardinals over the Reds this season, that only further demonstrates why he should win the award.

But he doesn’t need to.

He simply has to do what he has been doing all this time to force writers’ hands once again.

Votto had his moment in the sun, deservedly so, but it’s only a matter of time before people acknowledge Pujols for the hitter that he has become, a monster among those “other” sluggers in baseball.

For Joe Blair’s piece on the top five preseason favorites for the National League MVP, go here.