It’s time to size up the National League MVP race. Or what what I like to call the “Albert Pujols’ to lose” award. This year, Pujols is getting a run for his money by a couple of young studs.

Here is how I see the NL MVP race shaping up…

Best of the Rest

Adrian Gonzalez, Aubrey Huff, Scott Rolen

The Contenders


Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies: .320/.354/.569 with 26 HRs and 20 SBs. Very quietly, “CarGo” is sneaking up on the NL MVP race.

The 24-year-old is headed for a 30-30 season, and if the Rockies make a late run here, the support for CarGo will only grow amongst voters.

CarGo ranks in the top-five in five different offensive categories. CarGo has been certainly helped by playing his home games at Coors Field. Gonzalez is batting a Dante Bichette-like .377 at home.

Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals: .319/.411/.597 with 33 HRs and 12 SBs. Hard not to give a guy who might win the Triple Crown this award. But Pujols is going to get edged out by a guy in his own division.

Pujols has reached a level in his career where expectations are so high that even a great year isn’t great enough. Pujols might win the Triple Crown and there are some out there who will say he is having a “down year.”


The Winner

Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds: .326/.423/.603 with 31 HRs and 11 SBs. Votto gets my vote because the Reds are leading the NL Central and have really been one of biggest surprises in baseball. The best player on that surprise has been Votto.

Like Pujols, Votto could potentially win the Triple Crown award this year. Votto is also first in the NL in OBP and SLG.

Not only is Votto hitting the snot of out of the baseball, he also has 11 stolen bases this year. Who saw that coming before the season started? Not me.

Votto will win this award in a very, very close vote over Pujols.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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