The race for the Most Valuable Player race got a little easier in the offseason for National League stars. With Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder now in the American League and Ryan Braun's name being mentioned with performance enhancing drugs, now is the time for the surprise picks to have a chance at getting noticed. Who are the top dark horse candidates for the MVP race?
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
The former Mike Stanton has gone 0-8 through two games so far this season, but has the greatest potential of any player in the sport. He has such raw power that anything less than 40 home runs would be a disappointment in 2012. A year ago, he hit 34 home runs with 87 RBIs, but hit just .262. The only thing that could keep him back from winning the award is his batting average, so if he can find a way to get his average up to at least .280, he could get a lot more consideration than the one vote he got in 2011.
Posey is one of the most talented played to come into the league in the past five seasons. In 2010, Posey needed just 108 games to take the Rookie of the Year award away from Jason Heyward. A vicious home plate collision cut his season short after just 45 games in 2011, but now healthy, he could be the big reason why the Giants can withstand the pressure of the Arizona Diamondbacks. If Posey can play in 150 games, hit .310 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs and leads the Giants to the NL West division crown, he could get a lot of attention in this race.
In 2010, Uggla finished 17th in the NL MVP race after hitting .287 with 33 home runs with 105 RBIs. In the offseason, the Braves acquired the power-hitting second basemen to be the anchor in the center of their lineup. Instead, he struggled mightily in 2011. During the 2012 Spring Training schedule, Uggla had a great spring, giving many Atlanta fans hope for the future. If he can revert to his 2010 self for average, he will be a major player in their postseason run and could be a serious MVP candidate.
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Hobson Lopes has been a life-long Atlanta Braves fan, thanks to TBS, and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
- San Francisco Giants
- Atlanta Braves
- Prince Fielder
- Buster Posey
- Mike Stanton