Baseball is back. Like actually, baseball is back. The MLB MVP award may come with an asterisk in 2020, but there will be two Most Valuable Players this year. Here are the best candidates to win the award:
Arizona Diamondbacks: Ketel Marte
I don’t think Marte is going to put up the same numbers as he did last year, but he’s still going to be the best hitter on this team. Shoutout to Carson Kelly though; if the Diamondbacks somehow find a way to face all lefties this year, he has a chance.
Atlanta Braves: Ronald Acuña, Jr.
Fortunately, Freddie Freeman seems to be okay after fighting a really hard battle against the novel Coronavirus. However, he’s probably going to need some time to adjust to facing Major League pitching again, and in a 60-game schedule, he won’t have the time. Therefore, Acuña is the guy.
Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis
He looked great in Spring Training four months ago. Who knows? Maybe he has a really good two weeks and hits twenty home runs in 60 games. He’s getting paid enough to.
Boston Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts
Xander Bogaerts is one of the most underrated players in the game. Don’t believe me? Look up his numbers. J.D. Martinez is really good too, but make no mistake about it, Boston is Xander’s team now that Mookie Betts is gone.
Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant
I feel like people forget that Kris Bryant is one of the best players in baseball sometimes. If he can stay healthy, which was the issue the past couple years, he’s going to be in the thick of any MVP discussion.
Chicago White Sox: Yoan Moncada
Did he get lucky last year? Yes, slightly so. However, Yoan Moncada was close to being a six WAR player last year, and even with a slight regression, is still going to be one of the American League’s best hitters, and the best on a loaded White Sox lineup.
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Cincinnati Reds: Eugenio Suarez
For a team that’s so good, they really don’t have many, if any, stars. Suarez is probably their best player though, assuming he gets at least one of his hot stretches in 2020.
Cleveland Indians: Francisco Lindor
I have no clue what to think of this team; one that has a lot of guys that should be good but haven’t been able to put it together, and one that shouldn’t be good, but has. Lindor is the only one who that didn’t apply to in 2019, so he’s your MVP candidate.
Colorado Rockies: Trevor Story
Trevor Story was just as good, if not better, than Nolan Arenado last year. Why? Ironically, his defense. He’s a slightly worse hitter, but he plays the premium position at an elite level, and that makes up the difference.
Detroit Tigers: Matthew Boyd
Matthew Boyd isn’t going to win MVP. However, the Detroit Tigers are somehow still considered a Major League franchise, so they needed a representative. Brian Lahair would be proud.
Houston Astros: Alex Bregman
Bregman’s the second best player in the American League. Don’t see anyway around it after the blockbuster Mookie Betts trade that seems like four years ago at this point.
Kansas City Royals: Adalberto Mondesi
It’s going to look great on an MVP resume when Mondesi has 50 stolen bases in 60 games for the Royals this year. Probably the only reason to watch, but he should be fun.
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout
Ok this obvious, so here’s a joke instead: What do you call someone who gets inspired catching trout? A fishionary!
Los Angeles Dodgers: Cody Bellinger
Mookie Betts is also a correct answer to this question. However, the coin I flipped landed on heads, so Cody Bellinger is going to be the best player on the team this year. Wow this team is amazing.
Miami Marlins: Brian Anderson
I’ll give Miami this: they aren’t going to be a complete laughingstock anymore. They have some fun players and they have some talented youngsters. Just give them a couple years, I believe this front office at least has a semblance of a plan.
Milwaukee Brewers: Keston Hiura
Ok, hear me out. Only one player in the National League hit the ball 95+ MPH at a better rate than Hiura last year. That was Kyle Schwarber, not Christian Yelich. He didn’t get lucky, he was actually just that good. Hiura’s full season last year was the 40th best 60-game stretch of anyone at anytime in 2019 in terms of wRC+. That doesn’t sound impressive on the surface, but think about it for a second. He didn’t get the cold stretch everyone else did, it wasn’t cherrypicked like literally every one of the other 39. He’s a good one, folks.
Minnesota Twins: Josh Donaldson
That hard hit balls stat I just mentioned? Josh Donaldson was third in the NL last year. And now he joins the lineup most notorious around the league for hitting bomb after bomb after bomb. Yeah, he’s certainly going to be in the thick of things in this race.
New York Yankees: Gleyber Torres
I’ve been highly critical of Gleyber Torres. I think he’s a slightly above-average player with overinflated stats because he killed the Orioles in 2019. Who does he face for 1/6 of the season this year? Exactly.
New York Mets: Pete Alonso
How does 25 home runs in 60 games sound? Does he get there? Maybe not, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility, which is why Alonso has to be near the top of any MVP list.
Oakland Athletics: Matt Olson
Again, flip a coin between Olson and Matt Chapman. Can’t really go wrong either way here. Give me Olson to make 2020 the year he finally isn’t criminally underrated, however.
Philadelphia Phillies: Bryce Harper
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled on baseball twitter was convincing people Bryce Harper isn’t elite. 2020 is going to be the fourth year of his career that people take a step back and realize that, hey, maybe this guy is pretty good.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Bryan Reynolds
There’s going to be two ways to win MVP this year: slug or hit near .400. Does Reynolds hit near .400? Probably not, but unless you think Josh Bell is going to top the best stretch in his career for the whole season this year, it’s the most likely scenario that a Pirate comes close to MVP.
San Diego Padres: Manny Machado
A.J. Preller is probably so happy with the White Sox and the Reds because he has finally shed the “Champion Of The Offseason” label for the first time in half a decade. That being said, Tommy Pham is a Padre now! Anyways, Machado is still the best player on the team.
San Francisco Giants: Mike Yastrzemski
His grandfather won AL MVP (and triple crown) in 1967. Imagine how cool it would be for his grandson to win the award 53 years later. Anyways, he won’t, but I can dream.
Seattle Mariners: Daniel Vogelbach
Remember when the Mariners started last year 13-2? And Daniel Vogelbach was the MVP frontrunner? That would be a quarter of the season in 2020. It’s not going to happen again but what if it does?
St. Louis Cardinals: Jack Flaherty
The Cardinals might make the playoffs this year despite not having one player who would make the Reds’ starting lineup. That’s a testament to how good their defense and pitching, specifically their ace here, is. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Flaherty may be the NL Cy Young frontrunner right now.
Tampa Bay Rays: Hunter Renfroe
Their pitching is so good, but someone is going to have to drive the runs in on a team full of contact hitters. I really like Renfroe as a player, and I think this was a great pickup for a Rays team that’s going to hang around in the division until the final days, at least.
Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo
Is there one player in the league that benefits more from the season being a sprint than Joey Gallo? I’d almost expect him to get to 20 home runs. That’s going to be the benchmark for MVP candidacy as a slugger.
Toronto Blue Jays: Bo Bichette
Bo Bichette’s swing makes your jaw drop. Whoa Bichette.
Washington Nationals: Juan Soto
For the life of me, I cannot understand why Soto isn’t going to be hitting in the top two of the Nationals’ lineup. He’s your best player by a mile, let him take as many plate appearances as possible.