Winning a MVP in the majors puts a player into an elite fraternity that solidifies them as truly a head above their peers in the league. The Most Valuable Player does not only put up great numbers, but (with the exception of A-Rod in Texas) elevates their team to playoff contention. It is truly the pinnacle of awards in Major League Baseball. Here are my three picks for the NL MVP.
Albert Pujols. It looks like the machine does not have an off switch so far this season. The reigning MVP is hitting a cool .365, has nine homers, and has driven in 29 (the two latter he leads the league in). The Cards are reaping the benefits of his strong start with the second best record in baseball (only adding to Pujols MVP stock). Unless Albert gets stricken by the injury bug, look for Pujuls to run away with this one.
Chase Utley. The Philadelphia second baseman looked to be a strong contender last year for the crown, but was banged up late in the season. His numbers fell pushing him out of the race, but this year Utley is back to his old ways. With a .342 average, eight homeruns, and 21 runs driven in, Utley is a force to be reckoned with. If he can play the entire season, Utley should be there until the end in the MVP race.
Hanley Ramirez. It seems like everyone started off hot for the Marlins this season except for Ramirez, but the Florida short stop still comes in at number three on my list. It is only a matter of time before Hanley starts to heat up. When he does watch out. Ramirez has averaged 26 homeruns, nearly 46 stolen bases, and 123 runs scored over his first three seasons (not to mention he has a career batting average of .307). With the young and extremely talented Marlins, it is only a matter of time until Ramirez gets back on track.
There is a great deal of factors that could hurt one or all of these guy’s chances of obtaining the Most Valuable Player trophy. Injures, their team falling out of the race, or even a bit of a slump could cause them to fall out of contention at the drop of a hat. The MVP could also come out of the proverbial left field (as often the case in the unpredictable MLB). Dustin Pedroia can attest to that.