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MLB Awards: National League MVP Race Heating Up

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As October fast approaches MLB Awards season is right around the corner. Teams are now jostling for positions for the playoffs with a couple of weeks left in the season. While we have already discussed the situation with the NL Pitchers that are up for the Cy Young, there are still many other awards up for grabs. There are five legitimate contenders for the National League MVP with each player making their case for the prestigious award. It will be interesting to see what happens by the end of the year, and who could claim the title at the MLB Awards.

Honorable Mention: Francisco Lindor  

In 2021, Lindor was a shell of his himself not performing the way he and the team wanted to. In 2022, he reverted to his old self when he was in Cleveland. He has batted .264 with 21 home runs and 86 runs batted in this season. Compared to his 2021 season where he batted .230, with 20 home runs, and 63 runs batted in. This has been a mass improvement which has shown in their team’s record being first in the national league east right now. It has also helped that he has played more games this year by being less injured this season. To make a real case to be the National League MVP he will have to lead the Mets to win the National League East and have more dominant stats.

5. Austin Riley

Riley has had an insane season so far for the Braves this year. In his fourth season with the team this year, he has become one of the leaders of this team as Freddie Freeman left. This year he has hit 35 home runs, and 88 runs batted in, with a .290 batting average. This is on par with his season last year, the difference is he has had to be the offensive catalyst this season. The most significant improvement to his season is the slugging percentage jumping from .531 to .572. The biggest thing that Riley needs to do to have a chance to win the MVP is to lead his team to the NL East title. It would also help if he consistently put these great stats to make an even better chance. While it is not likely that he can snag the MVP title this year, he may find himself claiming victory at the MLB Awards in the near future.

4. Freddie Freeman

Freeman has a solid season with the Dodgers moving from the Braves this season. With a .326 batting average ranks second in the major leagues and leads the league with 43 doubles this year. With a .908 on-base percentage which is top ten in the MLB. With the star-studded lineup in Los Angeles, he has not had to carry the team’s offense this year with his all-star teammates. One of the negatives to this season has been his power numbers with only 16 home runs. But that has not affected his chances to his MVP odds. Being one of the leaders of World Series contenders gives him a great chance to win his second MVP.

3. Mookie Betts

Betts is having another stunning season with the Dodgers. Since getting traded to the Dodgers in 2020 the MLB world thought the Red Sox were crazy for trading a future Hall of Famer. In his third season with the Dodgers, he has a chance to win the second MVP of his career. If he could pull off the feat, he would be only the second player to win an MVP in both leagues. Frank Robinson was the only other player to do both winning the MVP with the Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds. This year he makes a great case with a .281 batting average, 33 home runs, and 73 runs batted in so far. He also leads the National League with 104 runs this season.

2. Nolan Arenado

Arenado is having one of his best career seasons, especially in St. Louis. His hitting a slash of .305/.368/.933 is one of his best seasons to date. He has 28 home runs, 89 runs batted in, with 43 walks on the season. He has been on an absolute tear this year that has been able to carry the Cardinals to be a playoff contender this year. In all of these statistical categories, he is in the top ten which makes him a great chance to win the MVP. But he also backs it up defensively with a 97.1 fielding percentage which ranks 7th among all third basemen and 1st in the national league. He would be the front-runner for the MVP if it was not for his teammate in St. Louis that may snub him at the MLB Awards.

1. Paul Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt is a seven-time all-star, four-time gold clove, and four-time silver slugger and is now the front runner to be the national league MVP. He is leading the Cardinals in all offensive categories and has been the catalyst for the offense. To make this season even more impressive is that he is in a position to win the triple crown leading the National League. With a .331 batting average, he ranks first in the National League, third in home runs with 34, and first in runs batted in with 107. If he can win the triple crown, he would be the first player to win it in the national league since Joe Medwick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1937. This would a monumental achievement for Goldschmidt giving him the best chance to win the National League MVP come the MLB Awards in October.

The National League MVP is just about wrapped up with Goldschmidt having an insane year. But these other players have a chance to make a case for themselves as September begins to heat up. With some hot offense Lindor, Riley, Freeman, Betts, and Arenado can have a chance to jump Goldschmidt by leading their teams to the playoffs and may find themselves claiming this coveted prize at the MLB Awards ceremony.

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Justin Oosterwyk has been a writer for Overtime Heroics for the past year. He has been focusing on the Los Angeles Angels but has also written other Major League baseball articles. His favorite team is the New York Yankees, and his favorite player of all time is Mark Teixeira.