The National League currently has 5 players that are vying for the MVP this season. With 4 of them playing for contenders, this could be a tight race as we head into the final 2 months of the season. Who steps up? Who bows out?
Freddie Freeman: BA .313, OBP .397, SLG .527, OPS .924, HR 17, RBI 66. Freddie Freeman is one of the premier firstbasemen in the game today. He is the spark in the Atlanta Braves lineup and has been a key factor in keeping them in contention. With good hitters around him, it’s hard to pitch around him too.
Nolan Arenado: BA .309, OBP .393, SLG .599, OPS .992, HR 27, RBI 75. Like Freeman, Arenado is one of the top players at his position. He cranks out numbers like this every season. Yes, he’s playing at a high altitude, but his numbers translate to any kind of situation. He is the primary reason the Colorado Rockies are where they are.
Matt Kemp: BA .307, OBP .356, SLG .521, OPS .877, HR 17, RBI 64. Matt Kemp is having a great bounce back season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It seems he has turned back the clock and channeled the results and stats from his earlier years when he was MVP runner-up to a juiced up Ryan Braun. With Machado in the lineup with him now, these numbers could get even better.
Eugenio Suarez: BA .301, OBP .387, SLG .581, OPS .968, HR 24, RBI 80. Suarez has put up these numbers, including an NL leading 80 RBI, despite missing 16 games to injury. He’s almost knocking in runs at the rate of an RBI per game. Playing for a last place team isn’t doing him any favors though. Andre Dawson won the award in 1987 for a last place Cubs team, but it’s rare.
Javy Baez: BA .296, OBP .327, SLG .562, OPS .889, HR 21, RBI 77, SB 19. Javy Baez is one of the most exciting players in the game today. He may well be the face of MLB in the years to come; he’s that good. In a lineup that has Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, he’s become the guy that Chicago Cubs fans have come to rely upon. The ceiling is unlimited for Baez.
This is wide open right now. We can play the ‘What If’ game and wonder how it would look if Suarez played for a winning team and didn’t miss 16 games, but it would do no good. Right now, I give a slight lean to Arenado. But Baez and Kemp could definitely make a strong run down the stretch. Freeman is on the outside looking in, but never count this guy out. At the end of the day, we’re fortunate to be able to watch these guys play.