As the summer heats up, so has Major League Baseball’s award races. When looking at the current NL MVP candidates, there are plenty of deserving names in the running. These players have been at the top of their game this season and have a chance to be recognized as the Most Valuable Player for the National League.
Last season, the Philadelphia Phillies‘ star outfield Bryce Harper took home the award amidst a tight race with the Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto and the San Diego Padres’ shortstop Fernando Tatis. What’s surprising is that none of those names are even in the top ten according to Draft Kings:
In their stead, players such as Mookie Betts, Pete Alonso, and Tatis’ teammate Manny Machado have taken up the mantle. All three are in the midst of impressive seasons, but there’s one player who has topped them all so far.
It’s the Paul Goldschmidt show
So many players have played at an incredible level this season that one would think the choice would be difficult. At this moment, however, the NL MVP seems to be Paul Goldschmidt’s award to lose. “Goldy” is in the midst of a career season at the age of 34. Goldschmidt currently boasts 20 home runs, 64 runs, and 70 RBIs. Not only that, but he also is slashing .330/.425/.590, all of which are career highs.
Goldschmidt’s season has been nothing short of spectacular, and there seems to be no end in sight. For another player to catch him, it would take a herculean effort. Who could even potentially manage that feat? Perhaps one of the other current contenders?
Other NL MVP contenders
As mentioned previously, Mookie Betts, Pete Alonso, and Manny Machado are all in the heat of the race against Goldschmidt. Betts missed roughly two weeks of the season after an outfield collision with teammate Cody Bellinger, and yet, he’s still firmly in the mix. On the season, Betts has hit 20 home runs and 47 RBIs while scoring 63 runs. He’s currently slashing .265/.340/.524, which is respectable, but unless he is able to drive in significantly more runs, he won’t get it done.
Pete Alonso is another name often mentioned in the NL MVP race. He, along with Francisco Lindor, has been the driving force at the plate that has brought about the resurgence of the New York Mets. The power that Alonso has displayed this season (24 home runs, an MLB-leading 78 RBIs, and a .517 slugging percentage) is not surprising, but he’s managed to capitalize with runners in scoring position maintaining a .281 average with RISP. Still, Alonso would have to increase just about all of his numbers to overtake Goldschmidt. Perhaps a home run tear could seal the NL MVP?
Finally, there’s Manny Machado, who, earlier in the season, actually seemed to be the favorite. An ankle injury slowed down his impressive pace some, but he’s starting to trend back in the right direction. As he has more and more of an opportunity to regain health, expect Machado to improve even further. That is also the case regarding his fellow Padre, Fernando Tatis, who has missed the entire season so far. As Tatis returns and regains his form, it should allow more opportunity for Machado to potentially make up some ground on the NL MVP front.
Is Goldschmidt the bettors champion for NL MVP?
There is still much time between now and when the votes are counted, so while the race looks to be Paul Goldschmidt’s for now, that can certainly change. With Goldschmidt at +100, it’s clear many expect him to take home the award but is that good value? Not really when you compare both the risk/reward of placing the same wager a bit closer to the end of the season and the potential rise of other candidates.
Pete Alonso is still a strong candidate to win the NL MVP with great value moving forward at +700, and if you’re looking for a dark horse candidate, the Atlanta Braves Austin Riley might just be your man. Riley’s numbers have looked strong so far this season as he ranks just behind the Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber in home runs. Where Riley differs from Schwarber is that he’s also been able to make strong contact leading to a slash line of .285/.348/.575 in 92 games. If Riley can find another gear in the last 70 games, he could be an absolute steal at +1400.
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