MVP: Bryce Harper
Season Stats (Through all-star break): 3.5 WAR, .431 OBP, .590 SLG, 162 OPS+, .422 WOBA, 161 WRC+, .325 BA, 20 HR, 65 RBI
There is no clear-cut candidate for NL MVP. As I looked through the numbers, it was difficult to decide between Harper and Arizona Diamondback Paul Goldschmidt. Both are having fantastic seasons, and Goldschmidt’s WAR is slightly higher than Harper’s. What made me decide on Bryce, however, were the other numbers.
Of all the statistics listed above, Harper bests Goldschmidt in just about every category aside from WAR. Although Goldy is right on Harper’s tail in nearly every number imaginable, so far, Harper has posted superior numbers. Not only does Harper have better stats, but he also has the advantage of playing on a better team.
The Nationals are a lock to win the National League Eastern Division. Although Goldschmidt’s Diamondbacks are having an excellent year as well with a 53-36 record through the break, he does not get by on the “better team” principle which, rightly or wrongly, often decides individual awards. So far this season, Harper is a slightly better player playing on a marginally better team.
I’d like to see Goldy win an MVP award. It seems overdue, as he has been one of the best players in baseball this decade and could well have gotten the honor over Andrew McCutchen in 2013. With that said, the way things are going, Bryce Harper is set to walk away with his second such trophy in three years.