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In the wake of Lance's recent slump, I think we'd all gotten the impression that he'd taken a step back from being a frontrunner in the MVP race. For example, even after a productive weekend, his RBI total no longer leads the league.

Not that anybody would vote the MVP based on anything so prehistoric as runs batted in.

With this in mind, I found Joe Sheehan's most recent article at Prospectus somewhat intiguing.

He assumes that most voters have the race down to Pujols-Beltran, and then introduces the "Stealth Candidate" of Miguel Cabrera to make that particular case.

Which is all fine; they're all great players, and I'd have no problem with any of them as MVP. Or Ryan Howard, either, since we're talking about it.

But since Sheehan had posted some of the deeper stats of the a priori MVP candidates, I thought it might be interesting to go ahead and see how Berkman compares:

Player AVG OBP SLG EqA VORP FRAR WARP1
Albert Pujols .323 .424 .665 .345 65.4 19 8.8
Carlos Beltran .286 .390 .633 .328 62.8 25 9.0
Miguel Cabrera .340 .429 .590 .338 66.0 18 9.0
Big Puma .308 .414 .614 .329 54.6 10 7.1

And here are some other numbers you won't see in a Prospectus article:

Player RBI 2B HR R
Phat Albert 107 26 38 94
Carlo$ 108 33 38 103
Miggy 97 44 33 92
Felvis 110 21 36 75

Sheehan says that Berkman is "about a win back" of the top three, and intuitively, I figure what with the slump, Bekman has ceded a place among the frontrunners. The alphabet soup stats suggest this as well.

But just going by the stats the newspaper guys are likely to use, you're tempted to say that Lance might just still have a chance at the hardware. But a strong September--both for him personally, and for the team as a whole--will be required.