The three finalists for the NL MVP were announced last night, and it's no surprise Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado and Cubs infielder Javy Baez are the last men standing in the Senior Circuit. Yelich is the odds on favorite, especially after an amazing last couple months, but here are three reasons Baez deserves the MVP.
3. Elite Base Runner
Base running is not something we put too much stock in when deciding MVPs, but it's hard to ignore Javy Baez's brilliance on the base paths. He's an aggressive base runner, always looking to make a play and put his team in a better position to get runs on the board. Whether it's stealing a bag, aggressively advancing on a throw, or busting it from first to third, Javy does it all.
2. Defensive Versatility
Baez began the season as Chicago's everyday second baseman, but with Kris Bryant missing most of the season due to injury and Addison Russell missing time because of injury and his suspension at the end of the season, it was Baez who moved around the infield and played each one of those positions at a Gold Glove level. How many guys can do that?
1. More Valuable to His Team
Baez's 83 extra-base hits (34 home runs) and 111 RBI are a big reason why he's in the discussion. So it's real simple; how good would the Cubs have been without Baez? On paper they have a ton of talent, but Anthony Rizzo didn't do much for the first couple months of the season, Bryant was hurt, Willson Contreras didn't take a step forward, Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber didn't bring much to the table, and their pitching staff outside of Jon Lester was nothing to write home about.
Baez was the constant and quickly became irreplaceable. The Cubs wouldn't have won 95 games without him and probably wouldn't have made the playoffs. The totality of his game can't be overlooked, thus making him more deserving of the NL MVP.