Lining up NL MVPs (minus Tulo)

There are four favorites now, but several others could make a run

Updated: August 15, 2014, 11:56 AM ET
By Mike Petriello | ESPN Insider

Andrew McCutchen, Clayton KershawAP PhotosMVP candidates Clayton Kershaw and Andrew McCutchen have both missed time due to injury.

By just about any measure you care to use, Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has been the best player in the National League this year. Before he dropped off the leaderboards earlier this week, he was leading the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. You can say "yeah, but Coors Field ..." because those stats are not park-adjusted, but wRC+ is, and his 173 mark was still the best. Add in some very good defense at an important position, and Tulowitzki was worth every bit of the league-leading 5.1 WAR that FanGraphs has him down for.

You'd think that such credentials would make him an easy MVP leader, but it isn't going to happen. Even if a disappointingly high percentage of voters didn't still cling to the outdated notion that MVPs can come only from winning teams -- the Rockies are, of course, awful again this year -- the recent news of Tulowitzki's season-ending hip surgery essentially ends his candidacy.

Now our attention turns to the other MVP options in the NL, and you realize ... wow, what a mess.