Trophy Talk: Who Will Win the National League MVP?

Mike Murphy

Earlier this week we highlighted the American League MVP race and the conclusion was that Aaron Judge would take home the hardware if the season ended this week.

Now we transition over to the Senior Circut as this race comes down to four players instead of three for the AL. We’ll start with Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton who is the first player in the National League to hit 50-plus homers in a season since Prince Fielder did that with the Brewers in 2007.

It seems doubtful that Stanton will reach the 70-home run plateau with only two weeks left in the regular season. A feat that has not been accomplished since Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Had Staton reached that number he would have been a unanimous choice for the MVP, but instead, he will likely end up with around 60 home runs. Even with the 60 home runs, the Marlins will likely not make the postseason, hurting Stanton’s chances.

Remember, baseball writers take into account the candidates’ team success along with their individual numbers. It is rare to see them give the award to a player whose team was not in the postseason. These next three candidates will be either in the postseason or will play in the National League Wild-Card game.

If the National League gave out first-half MVP awards, then Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper would have been the recipient. At the All-Star break, Harper was batting .325 with 20 homers, 21 doubles, and 65 RBI. Unfortunately, Harper wouldn’t be able to duplicate those numbers in the second half as he suffered a knee injury on Agust 12th. And he wasn’t slowing down after the break. In 25 games after the break, Harper was hitting .330 with nine homers and 22 RBIs, but a knee injury may have cost him his second MVP award.

He could have easily duplicated his first-half numbers as he showed zero signs of a post-break slump. In 25 games after the break, Harper was hitting .330 with nine homers and 22 RBIs. That knee injury may have cost him the MVP as he was on pace to finish with around 40 home runs, over 100 RBIs and possibly the league-lead in batting average.

Both Nolan Arenado of the Rockies and Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks will likely finish with better numbers than Harper, on top of the fact they are powering their teams into the two NL Wild Card spots.

This is a very interesting battle which may come down to the NL Wild Card game if both the Rockies and Diamondbacks are in it. If you compare the numbers, Goldy and Arenado have nearly identical stats.

Goldschmidt: .309 average, 34 HR, 113 RBI, .417 OBP

Arenado: .306 average, 33 HR, 123 RBI, .369 OBP

Both are MVP-caliber numbers on potential playoff teams. These final two weeks and likely the Wild Card game will decide which of these two players takes home the MVP.

Unlike the American League race, there is no clear-cut winner if the season were to end today. Based off of prior MVP races it looks like it should come down to Goldschmidt and Arenado’s final two weeks of the season, capped off by the NL Wild Card game to see who’s team advances to the postseason.

And who knows, maybe the writers will throw us a curve ball and give the award to the mighty Giancarlo Stanton for his earth-shattering power numbers.

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