Joey Votto Wins NL MVP

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) has been named the 2010 National League MVP as voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Votto joins Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.), who won the National League MVP in 1997 and Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.), winner of the 2006 American League MVP as the only Canadians to win the prestigious award.

“We are extremely happy for Joey as he has worked exceptionally hard to get to this stage of his career,” says Greg Hamilton, Director of National Teams with Baseball Canada. “This is a great day for Canadian baseball, but especially for Joey and his family.”

Votto received 31 out of a possible 32 first-place votes and 433 points to beat out reigning National League MVP Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals and Carols Gonzales of the Colorado Rockies for the award.

The 27 year-old Votto had a tremendous season at the plate as he led the Reds to National League Central crown and thus their first post-season appearance since 1995. He also becomes the first Reds player to win the award since Barry Larkin did so, also in 1995.

Votto finished the 2010 season at or near the top of several offensive categories in the National League. His .336 batting average was good for second place in the National League while he placed third in both homeruns (37) and RBI’s (113). Votto placed first in the National League in OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) at 1.024 and also slugging percentage (.600).

Votto, who recently competed for Canada at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, was also awarded the Hank Aaron Award earlier this month, which goes to the top offensive performer in each league as voted by the fans.

Originally drafted in the 2nd round (44th overall) of the 2002 MLB Draft, Votto has spent his entire nine-year professional career in the Reds organization. His memorable big-league debut came on September 4th, 2007 where he homered in his second at-bat. His progression to NL MVP has been a steady climb as he took over the full-time first base duties for the Reds early in the 2008 season.