Everyone knows Betts and Tatis are frontrunners for the MVP. But with a few weeks still left in the season we have 3 more players in the mix for MVP.
- Mookie Betts
.316/.393/.625, 32 R, 13 HR, 31 RBI, 6 SB, 3.0 WAR
He leads all of baseball in WAR. He sits atop the most potent offense in baseball. He’s one of the best hitters with RISP this year. He is the 2nd most valuable offensive bat and the 5th most valuable defensive player in the NL. And according to his expected Stats on statcast, he is performing almost exactly as expected.
Betts is looking to pull a back to back sweep after Bellinger with winning the MVP, a gold glove, and silver slugger. All he has to do is perform about as well as Tatis for the rest of the year and it’s his. (Plus even if he slumps, he still creates elite value in the field). It’s also worth noting that Betts may just be the most clutch batter in baseball this year.
2. Fernando Tatis Jr.
.314/.405/.663, 43 R, 15 HR, 39 RBI, 8 SB, 2.8 WAR
El Niño may be the most exciting player in the MLB as a 21 year old. And make no mistake, the Padres rebuild is finished and it’s centered around Tatis. He leads all of baseball in Exit Velocity and Hard Hit %. He’s at least in the Top 3% as far as expected batting stats across the board while also being in the 98th percentile in sprint speed
But he also strikes out and whiffs way more than Mookie. He’ll need to tighten up at the plate, or have a spectacular defensive month to climb over Mookie. Or of course, stay hot while Mookie slumps.
3. Freddie Freeman
.317/.446/.570, 33 R, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 1.5 WAR
If you asked us which Brave has the best shot at MVP at the beginning of the year, we probably would’ve said Acuna or Albies. But both of the young phenoms have missed significant time in this shortened season. Meanwhile Freddie is once again doing Freddie things and possibly better than ever before. And he’s actually never finished higher than 4th in MVP voting.
And the Braves owe their 1st place standing in the NL East, largely due to his dependency. His advantage comes from his expected stats being better than what he’s done. His production stats should surge once Albies/Acuna fandom begins getting on base in front of him. He’s more like Mookie at the plate which helps him against Tatis, but he doesn’t have much room to contribute to his value defensively. He’s only made one error at first this year, but has almost no defensive WAR. But his biggest obstacle is being under appreciated again.
4. Ian Happ
.304/.420/.659, 22 R, 12 HR, 24 RBI, 1 SB, 1.5 WAR
Happ has somehow stayed relatively under the radar as he’s finally shown his 1st round, 9th pick overall potential. He’s hitting the ball about as well as anyone this year, and he’s doing it from both sides of the plate. It also helps that he’s leading off on a division champs hopeful team.
He started the year at the very bottom of the lineup which stunted his stats. But beyond that, Happ also faces the issue of not being as good defensively as a CF, and not stealing bases even though he has the speed capability. His best hope is by smashing his way to the end of the season. (He’s Slugging .808 in his last 7 games)
If he can compete in the HR crown it will up his stats and should get enough attention to be in MVP talks.
5. Corey Seager
.331/.377/.634, 26 R, 11 HR, 31 RBI, 1 SB, 1.4 WAR
Seager is quietly reminding the entire world why he was a first round pick, number 1 overall prospect, ROY, and a MVP finalist. Unfortunately for him, Betts is having just as good of a season and didn’t go on the IL for the same team. According to statcast he should be hitting closer to .372/.482/.765. He literally has the highest Expected OPS in all of baseball. He’s hitting the ball about as hard and often as Tatis, just in less at bats.
And therein lies Seager’s greatest obstacle in winning MVP. Every game is magnified this year and he can’t make up games, other players can only miss more. All he can do is stay healthy. He’s 22 days removed from his week on the IL. Giving him a week to get back in to form, and he’s slashing .377/.418/.705 in his last 15 games. He’s also currently riding a 9 game hit streak and 15 game on base streak.
He’d become the 25th player to win ROY and MVP if he wins. And if we had to pick one guy on this list to climb his way to the top over Betts and Tatis, it’s Seager. He can’t do much more than he’s already doing at the plate. He could definitely benefit from a strong defensive stretch, but per game he is already in line with the best offensively.
6. Juan Soto
7. Mike Yastrzemski
8. Michael Conforto
9. Yu Darvish
10. Trea Turner