We’ve reached the end of the end of the first batch of award contenders–the NL Most Valuable Player. Last year, it was phenom Bryce Harper over Paul Goldschmidt. During the preseason, Harper was an overwhelming favorite to defend this year’s MVP. Let’s take a look at the 2016 NL MVP field.
Bryce Harper: Harper hasn’t slowed down this year as he attempts to defend his NL MVP designation. With 1.5 WAR already, Harper is third in the NL with 10 long balls and fourth with 27 RBIs. He’s also batting .260 with a .434 OBP (due to getting walked 32 times already) and a .620 SLG.
Nolan Arenado: The Rockies’ third baseman leads all NL hitters with 2.1 WAR with just over a month into the season. Arenado is second in the NL with 29 RBIs, first in the NL with 12 HRs, and is batting .317. Arenado also has 6 doubles, 1 triple, and 14 walks to bring his OBP to .390 and SLG to .667 (third best in the NL).
Yoenis Cespedes: Cespedes led the Mets all the way to the World Series following his trade there and he’s carrying the team once again this year. Along with the 1.4 WAR, Cespedes is second in the NL with 11 home runs, first with 31 RBIs, and is batting .290. His OBP stands at .372 and SLG at .680, second best in the NL.
Anthony Rizzo: The Cubs first baseman is continuing his heroics from last year as he attempts to push his team to the World Series. Rizzo is third in the NL with 10 HRs, third in RBIs with 28, and is batting .270. His OBP is at .413 and SLG at .631, sixth in the NL. Rizzo also has 1.5 WAR this year.
Jake Arrieta: Arrieta leads all of the NL with 2.3 WAR so far. Arrieta is 6-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 48 IP. He has 44 Ks and 0.88 WHIP. He leads the NL in ERA, wins, and is eighth in strikeouts. He’s also second in WHIP and first in opponent batting average with .159 clip. He has also thrown his second no-hitter in as many years.
Clayton Kershaw: The 3-time Cy Young winner is 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA in 53 IP this year. He has 64 strikeouts and a stellar 0.77 WHIP. He’s sixth in ERA, third in wins, and first in strikeouts unsurprisingly. He also leads the NL in WHIP and IP. Kershaw is tied for the second-most WAR in the NL this year, only trailing Arrieta.
Others of Note:
Daniel Murphy: An offseason acquisition for the Nationals, Murphy leads all of the major leagues with a .398 batting average. He also has the third-most WAR for any NL position player with 1.9. Murphy also has 5 home runs and 20 RBIs this year.
Giancarlo Stanton: Stanton has absolutely crushed the ball this year. Stanton is batting .250 but he has 10 HRs and 24 RBIs this year including several 450 ft+ shots.
That’s a wrap! There are several worthy candidates for this year’s NL MVP crown but who will it be come November?