As it stands right now, the NL Central is host to the tightest division race in the MLB. The Pittsburgh Pirates currently lead the division with a 74-52 and are poised to make the playoffs for the first time in 20 years. The run scoring machine that is the St.Louis Cardinals are just a game behind them. If that wasn’t enough, coming from behind, the Cincinnati Reds are just 2 games behind the Cardinals. It seems like every year the Reds come out to play inspired baseball in August and September and sneak into the playoffs. Both the Cardinals and Reds are looking to return to the postseason in order to erase losses in the NLCS and NLDS.
It appears that the NL MVP will also come out of the Central. The two front runners are Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen and Cardinals’ Yadier Molina. McCutchen ranks in the top 10 in NL Batting Average, OBP, OPS, hits, runs, doubles, stolen bases, and extra base hits. He also leads the NL is WAR at 6.2. Molina on the other hand is the game’s best defensive catcher and manages every aspect of the Cardinals when they’re on the field. It doesn’t hurt that he’s hitting .330/.374/.479 with 30 doubles, eight homers and 54 RBI. The knee injury is a setback, but it doesn’t sound serious at this point. He’s a strong No. 2, with the scales tilted due to the Pirates factor and the injury being a concern
The Reds’ Joey Votto who won the award in 2010 is always a looming threat to make a late season push. Though his power numbers may be down, Votta still leads the NL with 98 walks, 14 IBB’s and an OBP of .435. Should the Reds be able to make a push, Votto’s vote will rise.
It may seem that McCutchen is the favourite to win the award due in large because of the Pirates being a terrible team without him. But with the Reds starting to heat up and Molina’s return from injury, anything can happen.