Numbers can be crunched to come up with at least three answers to this question in each league. I stack the statistics — traditional and sabermetrics — against each other and see if one name jumps out. In the American League, one does: Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers.
He's top three in nearly every important offensive category, including leading the league in on-base percentage, runs created and RBIs. Plus, he's been intentionally walked 32 times, more than twice more often than any other A.L. hitter.
In Cabrera's case, I don't care that he's not on a contender. In the National League, however, that's my tiebreaker. A strong case can be made for Cincinnati's Joey Votto, St. Louis' Albert Pujols and Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez. None completely separates himself from the others; all had tremendous years. So I'll go with the guy who led his upstart team to the playoffs — Votto.
Hamilton and Votto
The Morning Call
Nobody's been more impressive in the American League than Texas' Josh Hamilton. On April 20, he was hitting just .205 with no home runs. A change to his batting stance did wonders, and since then he has hit .376 with 94 RBIs and 31 home runs. And he did it despite two stints on the disabled list.
Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez will get a lot of votes for National League MVP; he's been fabulous the last few weeks. But the winner should be Cincinnati's Joey Votto, who's been fabulous all season.
As the league's next Todd Helton, Votto is even better in pressure situations. With two outs and a runner on third, he's hitting .417. In late and close situations, he's at .371. For the season, he has a .325 batting average (second in the NL), 37 home runs, 111 RBIs and 88 walks.
Hamilton and Votto
Can one league get both Most Valuable Player awards? The reality is that Cincinnati's Joey Votto and Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez are both more deserving than anyone in the American League. Votto is an easy choice between the two, however, given the Reds' unexpected takedown of St. Louis.
That leaves the AL, and there's no automatic choice. Miguel Cabrera is Mr. Statistics, and Juan Bautista came out of nowhere to become the first man in three years to hit 50 homers. But with four playoff teams per league, we're not picking an MVP off a team that finishes up the track. He's missed a ton of games lately, but Josh Hamilton helped Texas take control of the AL West.
Cabrera and Votto
Los Angeles Times
In the National League, Philadelphia's Roy Halladay will get some well-deserved support after leading the majors in wins (21), complete games (9) and shutouts (4). But the Phillies won three division titles and a World Series without him.
You can't deny Joey Votto's impact in Cincinnati, where the Reds are going to the playoffs for the first time in 15 seasons thanks to a breakout summer by Votto.
The American League is much less clear, which could open the way for Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who has clearly had the best all-around season. He leads the majors in RBIs (126) while starting Wednesday second in the A.L. in homers (38) and third in batting (.328). The fact his team will be watching the playoffs from home will cost him votes, though.