Towards the end of the Phillies season, I explained why JT Realmuto should garner NL MVP votes.
After Realmuto has been named the NL Gold Glove winner and NL Silver Slugger, it is clear that Realmuto will have some MVP votes. The first line of my previous piece still holds true.
JT Realmuto will not be in the top 5 in NL MVP voting. In fact, we now know who will be in the top 3. The announced finalists for NL MVP are, in no particular order, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, and Anthony Rendon.
Since the top 3 are no mystery, let’s speculate on the rest of the top 10.
Ronald Acuna Jr.
The obvious 4th place vote-getter will be Ronald Acuna Jr. This comes at about 85% certainty. The 21-year-old center fielder was an All-Star in 2019 and has been named the NL Silver Slugger for center field.
He slashed .280/.365/.518 and led the league in stolen bases (37) and runs scored (127). Acuna was a main reason why the Atlanta Braves won the NL East in 2019.
This is a man who, prior to 2019, hit just 22 home runs in 1399 at-bats. In 2019, Ketel Marte hit 32 HR in 569 AB. While that’s impressive, it isn’t the main reason for Marte getting MVP votes.
The 25-year-old center fielder/ second baseman was second in batting average (.329), 4th in slugging % (.592), 7th in OBP (.389), and 2nd in bWAR (6.9).
The Rockies star third baseman has been top-5 in MVP voting for the past 3 seasons. It would be a surprise if Arenado didn’t fall within the top 5 in NL MVP voting.
2019 has been one of his best years. His 41 homers were 1 off his career mark. His .315 batting average was the highest of his career and his .962 OPS was also the highest of his career.
Oh, and did I mention he won the Platinum Glove.
In 2018, Freeman finished 4th in MVP voting. In 2019, Freeman finished with the highest home run total (38) and RBI total (121) of his career.
Freeman tied Marte with a .389 OBP but finished just ahead of him at 6th in the league. It is also possible Freeman misses voting entirely. In 2017, he posted the highest OPS of his career with a .989 mark. That year he didn’t show up in MVP voting.
The Mets rookie star made the All-Star Game, won the Home Run Derby, and won Rookie of the Year.
Alonso was the powder keg of the Mets. He led the league in homers with 53. His .583 slugging % was 6th highest in the league. The voters love home runs, but his .260 batting average could prevent him from getting a lot of votes.
This is around where Realmuto will fall, anywhere between 7th-9th. There’s a reason Phillies fans know Realmuto as BCIB (Best Catcher In Baseball).
According to FanGraphs, Realmuto put up the 7th highest WAR in the NL for position players (5.7). Realmuto also got the hardware to back up that number as he won the Silver Slugger for an NL catcher and the Gold Glove.
For catchers, Realmuto led in RBI (83), runs (92), and stolen bases (9). Defensively, he threw out more baserunners than any other catcher and at a higher rate. He caught 43 would-be base stealers at a 47% rate.
MLB’s Most Valuable Player award will be announced at 6PM on Thursday on MLB Network. Full voting should come out soon after.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports