6 of 7
- Bryce Harper, OF Washington Nationals – Harper leads the National League in OBP (.471), slugging (.714), wOBA (.491) and wRC+ (220), and there are numerous additional categories in which the 22-year-old (yes, he’s still 22) ranks among the top 5 players in baseball. Simply put, Bryce Harper has been the best player on earth this season. That isn’t to say that it will continue at this level, as he has already slowed down a touch from earlier in the year, but in the same breath, his MVP candidacy has been well established at this point.
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B Arizona Diamondbacks – It’s almost unfair that Goldschmidt has to be the runner-up at this point, but that is the price for being in the same league as Bryce Harper. His combination of power (20 HR) and speed (15 SB) is rare in a first baseman, and with a slash line of .348/.466/.622 (189 wRC+), it is impossible to disparage what he has been able to do. Arizona’s lack of team success is going to sting Goldschmidt with some voters, but he should be around all season.
- Max Scherzer, SP Washington Nationals – Yes, I’m making the leap with Scherzer. He is a rare breed in that his statistical profile aligns with an MVP chase as a starting pitcher (3rd in NL fWAR), and for good measure, the Nationals are almost assuredly going to run away with the division title in the NL East. Of course, it hurts Scherzer’s brand to be associated with the leader in Bryce Harper, but he is the perfect combination of dominance and consistency that MVP voters would look for in a pitcher.
Next: AL MVP