Predicting the 2019 National League MVP Race

MARYVALE, FL - MARCH 14: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers makes some contact at the plate during the Spring Training game against the Angels of Anaheim at Maryvale Baseball Park on March 14, 2019 in Maryvale, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

The 2019 season marks an exciting time for Major League Baseball! In an off-season defined by a record amount of spending, there are plenty of story lines to watch. One exciting storyline to keep an eye on is the rae for the 2019 National League MVP.

2019 National League MVP Race

The Contenders

As with any season, the awards race will be interesting to track through all the twists and turns of a 162-game baseball season. In 2019, the National League MVP award will be particularly interesting. Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt both changed teams, but both remain in the NL. Manny Machado also elected to stay in the NL after several years in the American League. These stars join reigning MVP Christian Yelich, Nolan Arenado, and several other dangerous candidates. Let’s take an in-depth look at the race.

The Odds:

Bryce Harper, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Chance to win: 20%

Fresh off a record 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies, Harper is primed for an MVP caliber season. Harper’s combination of elite production and newsworthy personality have cemented him as the most famous athlete in baseball. All eyes will be on the outfielder as he attempts to win his second NL MVP (his first came in 2015). As usual, Harper is off to a quick start, posting two homers in his first nine games.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Chance to win: 18%

A longtime member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Goldschmidt begins the season in a different shade of red. After an off-season trade to the St. Louis Cardinals, the six-time All-Star has his sights set on the postseason. The two-time MVP runner up will attempt to capture his first ever award along the way. His three home run game against the Brewers shows that he is fitting in with his new team.

Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Chance to win: 17%

The reigning NL MVP has quickly developed into one of the most feared hitters in MLB. Yelich began the season by tying an MLB record with a home run in four consecutive games. If the Brewers are able to return to the postseason this year, there may very well be a back-to-back MVP in Milwaukee.

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
Chance to win: 11%

The only thing standing in Arenado’s way of an MVP is his team’s success. After a surprising postseason berth in 2018, the Rockies are projected to finish the season on the outside looking in. Arenado has proven he can provide a near .300 batting average and 35-40 home runs. He is also a perennial Gold Glove third baseman. If he can lead his team on another postseason run, his MVP chances will increase dramatically.

Manny Machado, 3B, San Diego Padres
Chance to win: 10%

Like Harper, Machado is also joining a new team on an historic contact. His 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres will put Machado in a position to lead and grow with a young roster. If he can turn the Padres into postseason contenders in his first season, he may very well find himself as a top MVP candidate.

Javier Baez, 2B, Chicago Cubs
Chance to win: 7%

Baez was the runner up in NL MVP voting last season. He dominated in every facet of the game. In fact, he posted career highs in home runs (34), RBI (111), stolen bases (21), and batting average (.304). He also established himself as one of the games best utility players logging time at first, second, third, and shortstop. It will be interesting to see if 2018 was an example of Baez overachieving or if this will be his new normal rate of production. If he is able to pick up where he left off, he will be worthy of an MVP.

The Second Tier

Ronald Acuna Jr. OF, Atlanta Braves
Chance to win: 5%

Just a few games into the season, the Braves awarded their young star with an eight-year, $100 million contract extension. The 2018 NL Rookie of the Year will attempt to enter the MVP discussion for the first time. Like many on this list, team success will be crucial to his chances. Atlanta is coming off a 90-win season in which they captured the NL East crown. However, this season the young Braves will have to hold off a stacked Phillies team, the dangerous Nationals, and the new-look Mets. It will be the most competitive division race in baseball.

Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cub
Chance to win: 5%

Just three years ago, the Chicago Cubs were the most feared young team in the league. In 2016, Bryant was also named NL MVP in his second season. While both the Cubs and Bryant have lost some of their momentum, both are in a position for a major run in 2019. If Bryant can hit 35+ homers and lead his team back to top postseason seeding, he may be able to recapture some of his MVP glory.

Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies
Chance to win: 3%

Much like Baez, Story enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2018. He hit for a career-high 37 HR, 108 RBI, and 27 steals. He also posted an efficient .291 BA and proved that he belongs in the conversation for best shortstop in baseball. Story, like Arenado, will be judged on overall success of his team. He will also have the advantage of playing his home games in the thin air at Coors Field.

Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Mets
Chance to win: 2%

Cano is the ultimate dark horse candidate. At age 36, he is entering his 15th season as a major league player. The eight-time All-Star is clearly on the tail end of a great career. However, there is a chance the former Yankees great could recapture some of his momentum as he returns to New York City as a member of the Mets. If the Mets are able to shock the world and claim the NL East title, he just may have a chance. Cano began his Mets career with a bang by hitting a home run in his first at bat and driving in both runs in an Opening Day victory.

Other Candidates
Chance to win: 2%

Who do you think is the favorite to win the National League MVP award in 2019?

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

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