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Top 5 National League Most Valuable Player Candidates: June 2022

The end of June approaches, and the Most Valuable Player races are starting to take shape in both leagues. While injuries have shaken up the field in the National League, the American League has remained largely intact. This ranking does not factor in future projections; it is based solely on what the players have done so far this season.

5. Tommy Edman, STL

Tommy Edman just accumulates value. He has just a 116 wRC+ and .403 slugging percentage, but he ranks third in the National League with a 3.5 fWAR. He leads the league with 6.4 BsR and ranks second among NL shortstops with 6 OAA. He has established himself as the starting shortstop in Saint Louis and has played in 76 of their 78 games. He will not catch the traditional voter’s eye; he has just seven home runs and 32 RBI. Yet Edman has been one of the most valuable players in the league because of his success in all facets of the game. He probably will not actually win the MVP award, but his candidacy is very strong.

4. Sandy Alcantara, MIA

Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara is the surefire Cy Young Award winner in the National League if the season ended today, and he should be getting more respect in the MVP discussion as well. In 16 starts this season, Alcantara has thrown a league-leading 115.1 innings (nearly 20 more than second place Aaron Nola) to the tune of a 1.95 ERA and 3.04 FIP. His 2.9 fWAR places him first in the National League, and it is hard to argue that any pitcher has made more of an impact on their team than Alcantara through the first 74 games of the Marlins season.

3. Mookie Betts, LAD

Before Mookie Betts went down, he was arguably the leading candidate in this MVP vote. Since this is based on an if the season ended today scenario, his rib injury doesn’t dock him much. However, he will continue to fall down the list as he misses more time. When he went down, he was tied for the National League lead in home runs with 17. On the year, Betts has a .535 SLG, 148 wRC+, 2.4 BsR, 4 OAA, and 3.3 fWAR in 60 games played. He’s won an MVP before, and his name was surely in the running before he went down. Betts will be back before the season ends, and the Dodgers will need him once it comes time for the playoffs

2. Paul Goldschmidt, STL

Paul Goldschmidt has been the hottest hitter in the National League for over half the season. He has a 226 wRC+ while slashing .381/.458/.716 since April 22. The Cardinals have also gotten going in that span, closing the gap in the National League central in that span. He already has a 4.1 fWAR in his first 73 games this season. He is now the betting favorite to win the MVP while leading the National League in all three triple-slash stats, wOBA, and wRC+. He has even been above average on the bases, despite having an uncharacteristic -6 OAA.

1. Manny Machado, SDP

Before he went down with his scary injury, Manny Machado was having the best season of his career. He already has a career 43.5 fWAR and will have a strong Hall of Fame case, and winning an MVP Award would only strengthen his resume. He is making progress on returning from a scary injury that he suffered just a week and a half ago. He currently leads the National League in fWAR despite having 40-50 fewer plate appearances than the rest of the league leaders. He ranks fourth in the league in BsR and is tied for first among NL third basemen with 8 OAA. All in all, he has been the best player in the entire league this season, and he will only be out for another couple of weeks. If the season ended today, he would deserve the MVP Award not only for his bat but also for his glove and his legs.

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