An unfortunate addendum is that Votto’s NL MVP candidacy was indirectly strengthened this weekend. Ryan Howard, one of the slugging first basemen with legitimate MVP aspirations hurt his ankle and may miss some games. Howard was struggling a bit anyway and an ankle injury will make it even harder for him to excel down the stretch.
Even without injury, Howard would almost certainly have finished behind Votto in the key batting categories but the Phillies’ trade deadline moves seem to have put them in a great position to make the playoffs which would have raised Howard’s already outsized profile. Howard also has the credibility of being Rookie of the Year, MVP and a World Series champion. While some would shake their heads at a Votto MVP (as happened with Justin Morneau a couple seasons back), Howard and Albert Pujols would be safe choices this year. Votto may soon become the best choice.