On Monday, I took a look at how things were shaping up in the race for the American League Most Valuable Player Award and today I'm going to do more of the same, this time turning my attention to the National League.
Like Monday, we'll first take a look at the position players in the mix for the award and later include starting pitchers and relief pitchers:
To my surprise, I wasn't able to find another positional player in the National League that had a higher WARP1 than Albert Pujols of the Cardinals.
Not that I don't expect big numbers from Pujols, but the guy hit "only" .250/.343/.489 in April and he's currently posting his lowest OPS+ (160) since 2002.
He's currently seventh in the N.L. in VORP, but he's played very strong defense at first base (113 Rate) and he might be the best pick for the award thus far into the year.
It's tough to pick a sleeper in the N.L., but if Chipper Jones remains healthy throughout the rest of the season, continues to rake (.347/.440/.606) and the Braves make the playoffs, he's going to draw a lot of attention.
By the way, has anyone noticed Milwaukee's Ryan Braun is currently fourteenth in VORP among N.L. position players (34.0 runs) despite having taken a mere 232 plate appearances? Imagine if the Brewers wouldn't have stuck with Craig Counsell (.239/.346/.323) and Tony Graffanino (.247/.324/.407) at third base to open up the season. Braun is a monster and if he were given more PA's, this race might be a whole new ballgame.
Let's add starters and relievers into the mix here:
Unlike in the American League, where Johan Santana and Alex Rodriguez were neck and neck in terms of WARP1, you can't find too many pitchers who can hold a candle to Pujols quite yet.
We still have more than two months of baseball ahead of us, but I think it's pretty darn unlikely a pitcher snags the MVP Award in the N.L.
If I voted for the N.L. MVP today, my vote would go toward Pujols, but something tells me the real voters would be leaning toward Jones or even Jose Reyes simply because they both play for playoff caliber teams.