As exciting as the race for the National League Triple Crown is, it is very unlikely that Joey Votto will be leading the three offensive categories by the end of the season.
The Canadian slugger leads the league in RBIs with 100, and is five home runs behind St. Louis’s Albert Pujols in the long ball list (32). However, the Cincinnati Reds first baseman’s hardest task is going to be the average department.
Despite sitting in second place with .323, Votto is far from the leader Carlos Gonzalez (.337).
Gonzalez, who is also in the race for the Triple Crown, will be hard to reach —the Rockies’ outfielder has been hitting consistently and is playing the best season of his short three-year MLB career.
“There’s too much season left,” Votto told the New York Times. “Too much time for anything to happen.”
No one has won the National League Triple Crown since 1937 when Cardinals left fielder Joe Medwick completed the feat.
However, Votto does not need the Triple Crown to win the MVP award, and right now the Etobicoke native is the number one candidate. His stats are very similar to Pujols’s, but the Reds lead the Central Division by five games over St. Louis.
“He’s always been a great hitter and used the whole field,” Pujols said about Votto to Sports Illustrated. “Now he’s patient and looking for his pitch. You have to keep grinding, and that’s what I’ve seen.”
Larry Walker (1997) and Justin Morneau (2006) are the only Canadians that have won the award, and if Cincinnati finishes the season on top of the division with St. Louis and Colorado out of the playoffs, Votto could become the third Canuck with a MVP trophy.
Votto knows he is a strong candidate, but is also aware that you can never count out Pujols and any comparison between the two players would be disrespectful to the reigning NL MVP.
“It’s not fair to Albert considering all the things he’s accomplished and how good he is,” he told Sports Illustrated.
“I’m not saying I’m not talented enough or can’t perform at that level, but I’m saying he’s accomplished so many amazing things and there are so few players in the history of baseball who have his achievements.”
For the Canadian, who turned 27 Friday, the team goals come first, while the stats are just numbers.
“As far as the individual stuff, it gets taken care of by the team stuff,” he told the New York Times. “I don’t really have to do much more than come to the ballpark and try to win every day. That takes care of most of my numbers.”
Triple Crown Race