Monday, June 22, 2009

Not quite mid-season awards: N.L. MVP

Over the weekend, I began the process of selecting my Cy Youngs and MVPs in both leagues by making my N.L. Cy Young pick based on production thus far.

Obviously, a lot can change between now and October, but today I will pick my National League MVP through June 22nd.

After his 6-for-12 performance this weekend with three home runs and ten RBI, the NL MVP race is the most clear-cut of the four award races.

The award goes to Albert Pujols, who becomes only the third player to begin a career with nine consecutive 25-home run seasons. Despite my personal bias (Pujols is my favorite player), it's hard to argue with this pick.

Pujols leads the N.L. in runs scored (56), home runs (26), runs batted in (68), OBP (.448) and OPS (1.169). He is also hitting .329 on the season. He nearly has as many home runs (26) as he has strikeouts (27).

As an added bonus, he's on pace to steal 21 bases. In fact, his nine steals lead the majors for first baseman. And the Cardinals currently lead the N.L. Central.

So, the real battle is for runner-up.

Runner-up: Raul Ibanez, Phillies - For me, it came down to Prince Fielder and Ibanez, who is on the 15-day DL. Ibanez, who is off to a torrid start excluding being placed on the DL, is in the top three in the N.L. in runs (51), home runs (22), runs batted in (59) and OPS (1.027).

In addition, Ibanez is hitting .312 for the Phillies, who currently lead the N.L. East.

Honorable Mention (not necessarily in order): Prince Fielder (Brewers), Matt Kemp (Dodgers), David Wright (Mets), Adrian Gonzalez (Padres) and Ryan Braun (Brewers).