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#pounditThursday, October 6, 2022

Top 10 MLB MVP candidates

NATIONAL LEAGUE

5) Matt Carpenter, Cardinals

Carpenter went on a truly astonishing run in mid-July, homering in six consecutive contests, including a three-homer day against the Chicago Cubs. That hot streak helped vault him into the NL home run lead. He’s continued to consistently produce since then, raising his average to .277 after a very slow start to the season. If finishing strong is a factor, Carpenter looks set to do so, and he’s capable of playing three defensive positions well, too.

4) Freddie Freeman, Braves

Long one of the NL’s more underappreciated first basemen, Freeman finally has a contending team around him to bring some attention to his excellent all-around game. He’s a .300-hitter and an excellent defender. While his power numbers may lag behind the NL’s best, he has a good chance of topping the .400 mark in OBP for a third consecutive season. His numbers and style aren’t flashy, which may hurt him in a crowded field, but he’s one of the steadiest players in the league.

3) Nolan Arenado, Rockies

Arenado is a dynamic player who continues to rise in stature year after year. Arguably the sport’s finest defender at third base, he’s also a consistent .300 hitter with power. He’s tied for second in home runs behind Carpenter, but he hits for a better average and plays better defense. Voters will have to sort through the Coors Field factor and how much that matters for his offense. As has been the case in his career, he’s a much better hitter at home than he is on the road.

2) Jacob deGrom, Mets

Usually for a pitcher to win an MVP award, it requires a phenomenal season on their part coupled with a lack of obvious, standout candidates among the ranks of position players. That looks to be the case this year, and deGrom may be the beneficiary. Throw the win-loss record out the window; deGrom has received a historic lack of support from the Mets’ offense. His ERA is 1.85, he barely walks anyone, maintains a WHIP of 0.97, and strikes out over ten batters per nine innings. He’s having a historically great season, and he deserves heavy consideration, and maybe even to win it.

1) Javier Baez, Cubs

Baez certainly has the resume for the award. First, he has the scorching hot form, as he’s hitting .326 with nine home runs since the start of July and looks poised to finish strong. He’s a flashy and versatile defender at three key infield positions. He can also steal a base, as he has 19 for the season. He doesn’t walk much at all, and on a team as talented as the Cubs, one can make an argument that he’s not quite as vital to their success as some of the other MVP candidates are to theirs, but the buzz is around him right now, and he’s an exciting and worthy candidate.

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