The month on June is now here, we approach closer to the mid-Summer classic All Star Game in the MLB and after that it is a sprint to the finish line of the regular season. Who are a couple guys that may take home the coveted MVP award after their success in the early part of the season though? Let’s look at three guys in both the AL and the NL who have a legitimate shot so far.
Summary: At this point in the season, it feels like a two man race between Ohtani and Guerrero Jr.. There are a few guys close behind and we may get a guy who explodes and puts his name into contention over the summer months, but as of right now, the only names that truly matter in this race are that of Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr..
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
Vladdy Jr. has been the best hitter in baseball all year. This shouldn’t be up for debate. He is tied for the league lead in homers and leads the league in on base percentage as well. His ability to smoke balls all over the field and into the bleachers as well as draw walks makes him a dangerous hitter and one of the best lineups in baseball. If the Blue Jays pitching comes around and he continues to rake, this team will be a tough team to beat in October. He should be the early favorite in the AL MVP race.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
The two-way phenom is undoubtedly baseball’s most talented player and has proved that in 2021. Ohtani has been sensational on the mound and in the batter’s box this season, though his bat has slightly cooled off as of late and he hasn’t gone very deep into starts due to some minor injury concerns. He should still have a great chance to take home the AL MVP award if he can stay healthy and keep up his hot start. We haven’t seen a player like Ohtani since George Herman Ruth, my friends. Enjoy it while it lasts, and know that his stellar play on both sides of the ball will surely garner MVP attention.
J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox
The bounce back of J.D. Martinez in 2021 has been quite enjoyable for Red Sox fans, who remember him as one of the elite and reliable hitters of the later half of this past decade. He played very poorly in 2020, and people wondered if his decline was only going to get worse as he aged, but he’s been a man on a mission in 2021. He’s worked his way to a .316 batting average and 12 homers, while knocking in 39 runs as well. While he may not be as likely to win the MVP award as the two names above him, it’s a safe bet to say that he currently sits third in the MVP race. His advantage may be his experience, as he may be more likely to make his production stay solid over 162 games than the two young stars above him. Only time will tell if Martinez can climb higher in the MVP conversation for a Red Sox team that is already surprising a lot of people this year.
Summary: The National League MVP race is way closer and more interesting than the American League race. There are probably about ten players who I considered putting in the top three for this list in the NL, and it’s a shame I had to narrow it down to three players. I’ll give the players who didn’t make it into the top three a shout-out now, so angry fans don’t attack me too viciously. Ronald Acuña Jr., Kris Bryant, Jesse Winker, Max Muncy, and Trea Turner were a few of the players who were very close to making this list in the NL, and any of them are close enough to jump into the top three with one solid game. That’s how close and exciting this NL MVP race is so far, and it’ll only get better as we enter the summer months of this MLB season.
Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
I mean, this is a given right? Tatis has been outstanding in 2021. He is quickly becoming one of the best players in the game and has outperformed everyone in the National League despite missing time with a shoulder injury. His 162 game pace this season is absolutely absurd, and he deserves the top spot on this list. He’s hitting .297 with 17 home runs and 39 RBIs, he’s also the spark plug for a Padres team that has lived up to the hype to start the season. They look like they may even be able to beat the Dodgers in a 7 game series, and that is quite a complement by the way. The MLB is doing their part in promoting Tatis as a superstar, so if he’s even close in this race, expect him to get some biased votes and snag the MVP award. Tatis is setting the MLB on fire, and he appears to be in the drivers seat in the NL MVP race, though it is still very close between him and a number of other star players.
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, that’s not a debate at this point anymore. He is. If you feel differently, you are simply incorrect. The only thing that could’ve kept him off this list is the injury that sidelined him for a few weeks already this season. It wasn’t quite enough to keep deGrom off for me though, because when he’s been on the field, he is more valuable than any player we’ve seen in quite a while. The last pitcher to win an MVP was Clayton Kershaw, and 2021 Jacob deGrom looks even better than Kershaw in the year that he took home the award. The Mets pitcher is only 4-2, though that’s more the fault of a Mets team that forgets how to play baseball when he’s on the mound. The stats that are the most spectacular for deGrom are the 0.71 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, and 82 strikeouts in only 51 innings. If you disagree with deGrom being on this list, I urge you to sit down and watch one Jacob deGrom start. I promise you that by the end of the game, you’ll agree with him being here.
Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds
Nick Castellanos barely beat out his teammate Jesse Winker and Kris Bryant for this last spot. The deciding factor in putting him here was his outstanding .367 batting average. That number leads the MLB by a good margin and he has swatted 12 homers and 31 RBIs to go along with it. In typical Reds fashion, the have two MVP contenders and a losing record though. The decreasing likelihood of him playing in October could be a death blow in his MVP campaign, but he is still very much alive right now in the race. He has been the outspoken engine that has driven the Reds offense to be among the league’s best a year after they were one of the worst offenses in league history. He is putting it all together in 2021, and he helps make the Reds a watchable team, even if the pitching staff is among the worst in the league.