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MLB MVP watch: Who holds edge in Bryce Harper vs. Fernando Tatis Jr. battle?

We at the moment are lower than two weeks away from 2021 playoff baseball. There’s nonetheless loads of jockeying to be executed within the standings and we observe that on a daily basis here. We have additionally been operating a weekly MVP watch to verify in on the race for baseball’s most-coveted particular person {hardware}. 

Final week, we took a better take a look at the AL facet and the way it’s attainable Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. is having one of many best offensive seasons in historical past for somebody who will possible not win MVP. I am nonetheless holding robust on the assumption that Shohei Ohtani takes the glory with Guerrero ending second. I do not anticipate both one at this price to get any votes beneath second place. They’re that far forward of the remainder of the sector. 

Final week I additionally promised we have take a deep dive on the NL facet on this model, so off we go.

For a bit, this seemed prefer it was merely going to be Fernando Tatis, Jr. taking the honors with everybody else enjoying for second. As soon as he was on the injured record together with his third left shoulder illness, I really ran by way of who may win the award if he would not come again. However he did. He may need one of the best case, however the Padres have completely collapsed and Tatis and Manny Machado obtained right into a shouting match within the dugout this previous weekend. Does all this matter in MVP voting? I am undecided it ought to, however I’ve little doubt some voters will probably be much less inclined to vote for Tatis if issues proceed on this path.

I nonetheless, nevertheless, consider Tatis is the chief within the clubhouse right here. Let us take a look at his case and people of different gamers who may make a push for the trophy.

Tatis

Regardless of having performed in solely 118 video games, Tatis leads in residence runs, is second in WAR, second in slugging, third in OPS, tied for third in runs, tied for sixth in RBI and third in steals. Some will be predisposed to punish Tatis right here, however the reality of the matter is that would not be the case if the Padres wins and losses had been sequenced otherwise. He’s hitting .270/.355/.533 in his final 31 video games — by which the Padres have gone 10-21 — and was hitting .292/.373/.651 earlier than that, for these curious. 

Ought to a person participant be punished for a staff collapse? If the voters elect to go elsewhere, it is a powerful determination.   

The NL chief in OPS (1.050) is the one participant within the league with an OPS in 4 digits. Harper can be fourth in WAR, third in common, second in on-base proportion, first in slugging, tied for third in runs, fourth in whole bases, second in doubles, tied for fifth in homers, second in walks, first in OPS+, first in extra-base hits, third in instances on base and leads in win probability added

If we’re apprehensive in regards to the staff part, the Phillies are contending, however they’ve solely gained six of their final 14. 

As for Harper’s comparatively low 80 RBI, he is hitting .325/.474/.530 with runners in scoring place, .335/.468/.576 with males on base and .328/.523/.466 in high-leverage conditions. There’s solely a lot one participant can do. 

The Dodgers have endured a pitiful season from Cody Bellinger together with myriad necessary accidents, akin to these to Mookie Betts and Corey Seager. And so they’ve nonetheless been among the best groups in baseball all through the season. Muncy has been such an necessary piece to the offense. He is eighth in WAR, sixth in slugging, seventh in OPS, tied for seventh in runs, tied for third in residence runs and fourth in OPS+. 

To choose up proper the place we left off, Turner got here to the Dodgers by way of commerce when Betts was damage. In his 41 video games with the Dodgers, they’ve gained 31. He leads the league in batting common, hits and stolen bases, making this , old-school case. On the new-school entrance, he is third in WAR, too. He is additionally tied for third in runs and seventh in whole bases. 

If Turner is ready to shut the season sizzling whereas the Dodgers take the NL West, which might nearly actually imply they’d have one of the best file in baseball, I ponder if we’ll see our first-ever MVP who was traded through the season. 

For now, although, one of the best file in baseball belongs to the Giants. If you have not gotten to see a lot of them — first off, I provide my condolences, as they’re a pleasure — you might be lacking out on Crawford’s nonetheless outstanding protection at a premium place. He is introduced a profession yr on offense together with it, this time round. He is sixth within the league in WAR, ninth in common, tenth in on-base proportion and eighth in OPS+. He has 21 homers, 82 RBI and 10 steals. 

The NL hasn’t had back-to-back MVP winners since Albert Pujols in 2008-09. Might Freeman pull it off? The Braves have taken management of the NL East with out the providers of injured celebrity Ronald Acuña, Jr. Freeman has executed his half to choose up the slack, hitting a sturdy .341/.405/.539 for the reason that All-Star break. The sturdy Freeman leads the league in video games performed and plate appearances. He additionally leads in runs scored and whole bases. He is seventh in common, fourth in OBP, eighth in OPS, second in hits and tied for ninth in homers. He isn’t, nevertheless, within the high 10 in WAR, OPS+ or RBI. 

Gamers have gained the MVP from last-place groups earlier than, even going again many years. If we’re OK with this taking place once more, Soto has an aggressive case. He leads the league in WAR and on-base proportion. He is second in common, seventh in slugging, second in OPS, second in OPS+, second in runs and leads in walks by 38. On a sure degree, is not the participant who has been walked 128 instances, together with an MLB-best 20 instances deliberately, the very definition of probably the most priceless to his staff? There is a case to be made there. 

I am as near sure as I can presumably be (99 %?) that the NL MVP goes to return from the above group of seven. There are down-ballot candidates lingering, although. 

The Cardinals? Nolan Arenado? Paul Goldschmidt? Tyler O’Neill? – If the Cardinals proceed their surge, maybe somebody from this trio separates himself. Arenado nonetheless has the slick glove together with the gaudy residence run and RBI totals. Goldschmidt really leads the staff in WAR and is not far off the NL leaders (he is eleventh). O’Neill has one of the best triple slash and OPS+ (he is fifth within the NL). 

Bryan Reynolds, Pirates – He is slumped a bit these previous a number of weeks, however he is nonetheless a lot worthy of getting just a few top-10 votes. He is fifth in WAR and sixth in OPS+. 

The Reds? Nick Castellanos? – Joey Votto and Jesse Winker are additionally prominently featured on the NL rate-stat leaderboards. They need to in all probability cease shedding to the Pirates, although. 

Will Smith and Mookie Betts, Dodgers – The Dodgers are loaded with big-name stars and each Betts and Smith are having seasons worthy of grabbing a top-10 vote or two. 

Manny Machado, Padres – Some may not have favored the way it seemed, however the dugout shouting match with Tatis was Machado exhibiting veteran management. He is additionally nonetheless enjoying a superb third base and is tenth in WAR and fourth in RBI. If the Padres one way or the other pull themselves again into the playoff image, Machado will not be too far behind Tatis. 

Willy Adames, Brewers – It is solely been 88 video games and the harm now prevents him from making a extra critical push, however Adames must be talked about. The Brewers traded for him on Might 21. They had been 21-23 and hitting .213/.298/.354 as a staff on the time. He performed the function of spark on the staff’s run to the NL Central title. In his 88 video games with the Brewers, he has 25 doubles, 17 homers, 51 RBI, 52 runs and a 140 OPS+. 

Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies, Braves – I consider Freeman will get probably the most assist on this staff, however each Riley and Albies have racked up some high quality counting stats. Riley is second in whole bases and Albies is third. Albies is third in RBI and Riley is fifth. 

Any of the pitchers? – Max Scherzer, Corbin Burnes, Walker Buehler and Zack Wheeler all have compelling circumstances to win the Cy Younger, so I suppose any of the 4 may garner some MVP votes as properly. 

We’ll be again subsequent Wednesday to present one closing take a look at each races. Keep tuned.



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