Heading his list of National League MVP contenders were none other than Joey Votto. Meanwhile, teammate Johnny Cueto came in at no. 4 in Verducci's top five ballot for NL Cy Young honors.
Here's how Verducci justified his selection of Votto:
It doesn't get any easier than picking Votto: the best hitter in the league (tops in on-base and slugging percentages) getting it done for a first place team without much of a supporting cast. (David Wright has hit with 30 more runners on base than has Votto.)
The record for doubles has stood since 1931, when otherwise non-descript Earl Webb gerrymandered his way to 67 of them. (He never hit more than 30 otherwise.) Votto, with 33 two-baggers already, could break one of the oldest records in the game -- and one of the few hitting records to survive The Steroid Era.
Verducci also made mention of Zack Cozart and Dusty Baker for NL Rookie of the Year and NL Manager of the Year honors, respectively. Given the hype of fellow rookie Bryce Harper's arrival to the big leagues and the high preseason expectations people had for the Reds, I doubt either one comes away with the award their clamoring for. I hope I'm wrong though.