Top 10 MLB MVP candidates
1) Bryce Harper, Nationals
It’s somewhat remarkable that, despite all the success he’s had, Harper has only won NL MVP once. He wasn’t even a huge factor in 2017, finishing 12th despite a .319 average and 29 home runs. A lot of that was down to injuries, but maybe it’s also because we know he’s capable of so much more. As an added wrinkle, this is a contract year for Harper — not that he needs an MVP to bolster his value. It wouldn’t hurt, though.
2) Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
Goldschmidt is basically the NL’s perpetual MVP bridesmaid at this point. He finished third in 2017 after coming in second in both 2013 and 2015. This may be the year he gets over the hump. He’s pretty much guaranteed to hit 30 home runs and somewhere around .300, with the ability to steal bases and play excellent defense at first base factored in. A good season for the Diamondbacks would go a long way.
3) Kris Bryant, Cubs
The 2016 NL MVP posted similar numbers in 2017, but more competition and a Cubs team that was perceived as less dominant than the 2016 edition didn’t help his cause. The 26-year-old is only just entering his prime, and a .300 average with 30 home runs are well within his reach. His versatility — he played five positions last season — should work in his favor as well.
4) Joey Votto, Reds
Even with the Reds in the baseball abyss, Votto continues to be one of MLB’s best — and arguably most underappreciated — players. The MVP runner-up in 2017 hit for his usual high average at .320, but boosted his power, hitting 36 homers — the first time since 2010 he’d eclipsed the 30-homer mark. Then there’s that typical gaudy OBP of .454, owing to some of the best plate discipline in the game. Votto will be a factor in the MVP race even if the Reds aren’t contending.
5) Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Arenado’s MVP credentials are always hindered a bit by the fact that he plays half his games at Coors Field, which may or may not be inflating his offensive numbers. Does it matter that much, though, when the numbers are so good? He hit over .300 for the first time in 2017, though he just missed out on a third straight 40-homer season. What Coors Field can’t take away from him is that he’s one of the best defenders in the game. A Rockies playoff run would do wonders for his chances.