In 2010, Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Carlos Gonzalez are in exactly that situation.
Many have called 2010 a down year for Pujols, who is batting just .313, his worst season mark ever. Still, he's leading the league in RBIs, is the runner up in home runs with 29 (Adam Dunn — 31), and his .313 average is good for fifth best, just 11 points behind the leader. In addition, Pujols is on a tear of late, hitting .442 in August.
The favorite for NL MVP, though, has to be Joey Votto. His .320 average has dipped since early in the season, but is still the second best in the league. In addition, he's just one bomb behind Pujols with 28, and third in RBIs at 79. Beyond the stats, he has to be considered the biggest reason for the Reds' surprise season. He is the clear leader of that team.
The biggest surprise in the NL? The answer has to be Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies, who is leading the league in batting at .324. His 25 homers put him sixth best in that category, and he is just one RBI behind Votto with 78, placing him fourth. Last season, he hit .284 and had 13 home runs. Clearly, he has taken the next step.
So, who has the best chance at the NL Triple Crown? Text 'SOX1' to 542542 for Albert Pujols. Text 'SOX2' to
542542 for Joey Votto, or text 'SOX3' to 542542 for Carlos Gonzalez.