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- Bryce Harper, OF Washington Nationals – Harper isn’t blowing away the competition in home runs (four-way tie for the MLB lead), but he is basically dominating every other category. The superstar outfielder leads MLB (not just the NL) in both OBP (.465) and slugging (.697) at this stage, and a 214 wRC+ tells the story of how dominant he has been with the bat. Some detractors will point to sub-par defensive metrics, but Harper is, at worst, a passable defender and the bat does plenty to overcome any potential shortcomings.
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B Arizona Diamondbacks – Goldschmidt has been the second-best hitter in baseball, trailing only Harper in OBP (.454) and wRC+ (181) with 21 home runs and 17 stolen bases in his own right. Arizona isn’t a factor in the playoff race, leaving Goldschmidt out of the limelight, but he is now the best first baseman in the league by any metric and a legitimate MVP candidate should Harper falter.
- Todd Frazier, 3B Cincinnati Reds – There is a wide gap between the top two and Frazier, but that doesn’t diminish his season. The Home Run Derby champion has 26 home runs and a .577 slugging percentage on the season, and he has put together MVP-caliber numbers despite a .275 BABIP. Frazier has been streaky in the past, leaving doubt about this pace continuing, but the talent is real.
Next: AL MVP