MLB National League MVP Candidates – An Early Look at the Race

MVP de la Liga Nacional
St. Louis Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt (46) watches his two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, May 15, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

The MLB wraps up its second month of regular-round action and several players have begun putting their names on the race for the MVP title of the National League thanks to strong performances throughout the season: a level of performance that must be maintained if they wish to qualify for this distinction at the end of the season.

Here we’ll give you an early look at the main candidates after the action of the month of May.

5. National League MVP: Pete Alonso

National League MVP

Pete Alonso has been instrumental in making the New York Mets one of the best teams in the Major Leagues this season.

The “Polar Bear” is on pace for a strong offensive season, as he leads the National League in RBIs with 51, is tied for second in home runs with 13 (12 in May), and has a 149 wRC+, which ranks seventh in the league.

4. National League MVP: Bryce Harper

National League MVP

The current MVP of the National League, Bryce Harper, has to be one of the candidates for this season, despite his offensive slump during last week. The Philadelphia Phillies outfielder was out of action for a few days after suffering a ligament injury in his right elbow, but the role of designated hitter has kept him active on offense.

Harper has not only buoyed the Phillies’ weak offense a bit, but in several categories he is in the TOP 10 by averaging .303, with 10 home runs, 32 RBIs and one of the best OPS with .943.

3. National League MVP: Mookie Betts

National League MVP

While everyone was slamming Mookie Betts after a forgettable April, the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder had plans to put everyone to shame with a fantastic month of May.

The 2018 American League MVP is keen to win the National League trophy this year after leading the old circuit in home runs (15) and runs scored (50) in all of baseball. According to Fangraphs, Betts is second in WAR at 3.3, third in OPS (.988) and wRC+ (177), sixth in OBP (.387) and seventh in RBIs (33).

2. National League MVP: Manny Machado

National League MVP

Manny Machado was set to win the National League MVP if the season had finished before the last week of May. However, the San Diego Padres third baseman lost a bit of ground to Paul Goldschmidt despite still putting on a good performance

According to Fangraphs, Machado leads the NL in 3.4 WAR and .426 OBP, while he ranks second in 177 wRC+, .988 OPS and .347 average. What about home runs and RBIs? Although he is not among the leaders, his quota of eight home runs and 28 RBI is quite impressive.

1. National League MVP: Paul Goldschmidt

National League MVP

If you want to see impressive numbers in May, you have to see Paul Goldschmidt’s:

The first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals hit .408 with a 1.270 OPS during the month of May: good enough numbers to overtake Machado in the race for NL MVP. Goldschmidt leads the old circuit in hits, batting average (352), SLG (.626), OPS (1,049) and wRC+ (195) ; second in RBIs (43) and OBP (.422); third in WAR (2.6) and sixth in home runs (11).

Plus, he guided the Cardinals’ sweep of the Padres this week, winning the battle against Machado.

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