​While everyone is talking about how amazing ​Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich have been to start the year, Javier Baez is taking strides to prove to people that his second-place finish in the MVP voting in 2018 was no fluke. 

​​Baez, on the season, is hitting .327/.358/.673 for a total 1.032 OPS, with nine home runs and 22 runs batted in. So where does he rank in all of these totals? In the National League, he's currently ninth in batting average, fourth in home runs, third in runs batted in, and fourth in runs scored, slugging, and total hits. 

In most of these categories, he's sitting just behind Yelich and Bellinger, who have gotten off to absolutely torrid starts. 

So how much has Baez improved off what we perceived to be a hot start last year, too? Well, through 24 games in 2018, he had a line of .304/.360/.685 (1.045 OPS), with seven home runs and 26 RBI. He finished the year hitting .290 with 34 home runs and 111 runs batted in. 

Through 24 games in 2019, he currently has a line of .327/.358/.673 (1.031 OPS) with two additional dingers. Same old, same old at this point for El Mago.

​​Though Baez will certainly fall off the pace a bit, there is a significant chance that he could hit at least 40 home runs and get 120+ runs batted in on the year, which is a sure fire MVP-caliber season.

It won't be easy, but if the Chicago Cubs continue to turn things around and track down Yelich's Brew Crew and the Cardinals to take the NL Central, the Cubs star shortstop could have a legitimate case to win his first MVP of his career. It'll be difficult, but at the very least, it's clear there was nothing fluky about the campaign we watched last season.

Baez is a bonafide MVP candidate. Annually.