A couple of weeks ago, we took a look at some of the leaders in the AL MVP race. With playoff positioning still up for grabs, the NL race isn’t as clear cut. Here are some of the favorites.
McCutchen, the reigning NL MVP, was having another phenomenal season before going down with a umrib injury that has bothered him for several weeks. Should McCutchen stay in the lineup and lead his team to another playoff berth, the Pirates’ star centerfielder will be on track to garner his second straight MVP.
Stanton takes over Mike Trout’s spot as “Guy That Should Still Win MVP Even Though His Teammates Suck.” He leads the league in home runs, walks, intentional walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, extra-base hits, and murdered baseballs that result in free beer. Stanton won’t win the award because his team isn’t winning games, but it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t been the most valuable hitter in the National League.
The Brewers currently sit a game and a half ahead of the Braves for the second NL wildcard spot, and the play of Lucroy bears a great deal of the responsibility for that success. His 46 doubles lead the league, and his WAR of 5.6 is good for sixth in the National League. If you’re looking for the best player on a playoff team, Lucroy is a dark horse candidate to win the MVP.
Kershaw is making a strong case to win both MVP and Cy Young. He has been the most dominant play in both leagues by a long shot – his 7.8 WAR is nearly one and a half wins better than his closest competitor. He leads the league in wins, ERA, strikeouts per nine innings, and strikeout/walk ratio, and is on pace to finish with a sub-2.00 ERA for the second straight season.
Posey has come on strong during the Giants’ recent push towards the top of the standings. The 2012 MVP hit .336 in August, slugging .579 and has upped his average and slugging percentage by nearly one hundred points each since the All-Star Break with a slash line of .481/.491/.963 in the last two weeks. Posey sits just twelve points out of winning his second batting title, and should he stay hot and lead the Giants to a division title, he may be the prime contender to Kershaw for this year’s honors.