This is the problem with the MVP vote ...
A year ago, Joey Votto was a terrific story: He made the cover of Sports Illustrated, he helped the Reds reach the postseason for the first time since 1995, he had great numbers. It was the perfect storm of plot, statistics and team. Votto was a landslide MVP winner, collecting 31 of 32 first-place votes.
Votto's numbers in 2011 are similar to last year:
They're not quite as awesome -- a few less home runs means the slugging percentage is down a bit -- but Votto leads the NL in on-base percentage and walks. He's second to Ryan Braun in OPS, but edges out Braun and Matt Kemp in runs created. Like last season, he also leads the NL in something called Win Probability Added -- a statistics which weighs all your hits and outs based on the time and score of the game, so a game-winning hit in the ninth is worth more than an RBI single while leading 7-0 in the fifth. Votto's WPA according to Baseball-Reference is 7.1 wins, ahead of Prince Fielder's 6.3 and the 5.4 of Braun and Kemp. There's certainly a case to be made that Votto has been the best hitter in the NL in 2011.
Now, I'm not saying he's the MVP. My point is this: Votto isn't even in the discussion. He won't receive a single first-place vote, and he probably won't finish any higher than seventh or eighth in the final vote. Why? His teammates aren't as good.
Last year, the Reds won 91 games. This year, they're three games under .500. So last year Votto had good teammates and he became the NL MVP. This year he's an afterthought.
And that's the problem with the MVP voting. And it's why Kemp -- who probably has the best all-around numbers in the NL in 2011 -- won't win. His teammates aren't as good as Braun's or Fielder's.
Follow David Schoenfield on Twitter @dschoenfield.