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NL MVP Race Power Rankings for Week of Sept. 16

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers stands at first base with Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets after his base hit in the second inning at Citi Field on September 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The NL MVP chase, long a two-horse race between Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger and Brewers outfielder and 2018 MVP Christian Yelich, has now welcomed a few more challengers into the fold, and the winner of this award remains fuzzy just weeks away from the conclusion of the season.

10. Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 15: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts after hitting a solo home run off of Zac Gallen #59 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning at Chase Field on September 15, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks | Norm Hall/Getty Images

Suarez has taken the mantle of best player on the Reds away from Joey Votto by clubbing 47 home runs this season, which ties Andres Galarraga's record for a player born in Venezuela. As long as he can challenge for the MLB lead in home runs, Suarez should be considered one of the top contenders for the top prize in the senior circuit.

9. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the third inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets | Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

While his ERA has finally risen over 2, Ryu remains the favorite for the Cy Young award on arguably the best team in baseball. His 2.35 ERA is still the best in the major leagues, and has been an invaluable part of the Dodgers decimating the rest of the NL. He's not going to win the MVP, but a Top-10 finish is likely.

8. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 13: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies circles the bases after hitting a 2 RBI home run in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on September 13, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies | Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Another year, another season of video game-like production from Arenado. The Rockies third baseman is in the middle of his fifth straight season with 37+ home runs (40) and 110 or more RBIs (117). Colorado is destined for another season without playoff baseball, but that shouldn't overshadow the excellent year that arguably the best corner infielder in baseball has put together.

7. Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 06: Centerfielder Ronald Acuna, Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves runs to first base in the first inning during the game against the Washington Nationals at SunTrust Park on September 06, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves | Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Acuña is inching closer to the 40-40 club, having smacked 39 home runs this year while stealing 37 bases for the NL East-best Braves. While sabermetrics might not be as kind to the free-swinging Acuña, he has a chance to become only the fifth player ever to join that exclusive club, which will earn him some brownie points from the writers.

6. Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 27:  Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the San Francisco Giants  at Oracle Park on August 27, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Who saw this one coming? Marte, a light-hitting utility player that was more valuable as a defender and base stealer, has exploded offensively for the Diamondbacks, hitting .329 with 32 home runs (he came into the year with 22 home runs in five years), an NL-best 187 hits, an OPS+ of 149, and a WAR of 6.9. The Diamondbacks are nowhere close to the Wild Card spot without Marte's presence at the top of the lineup.

5. Pete Alonso, New York Mets

DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 17: Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets circles the bases after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 17, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
New York Mets v Colorado Rockies | Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It looks like the Mets have their franchise cornerstone. Alonso is currently pacing the major leagues with 48 home runs, and "Polar Bear" has run away with the NL Rookie of the Year award. Winning the MVP outright will be difficult given the fact the Mets might miss the playoffs, but Alonso should at least be in the hunt after one of the greatest rookie seasons in MLB history.

4. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves hits a RBI single in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at SunTrust Park on September 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Even with Acuña, Josh Donaldson and Ozzie Albies, there is no questioning who makes this Braves team go. Freeman is batting .301 with 38 home runs and 117 RBIs while hitting third just about every day for the NL East-best Braves. Freeman has made the transition from star to superstar this year, and could come away with a few MVP votes on the back of his career year.

3. Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 04: Anthony Rendon #6 of the Washington Nationals looks on from second base against the New York Mets at Nationals Park on September 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
New York Mets v Washington Nationals | Rob Carr/Getty Images

Man, did he ever pick a good time to break out. Ahead of free agency, Rendon has emerged as a legit contender for the MVP, leading the Nationals to a likely playoff spot while hitting and NL-best .332 while also leading the senior circuit in doubles (44) and RBIs (119). With a 1.040 OPS and 34 home runs, Rendon should be in line for a Top 3 finish and a mind-numbing contract at the end of the season, be it with Washington or elsewhere.

2. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 10: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers follows through on a swing in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 10, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Milwaukee Brewers v Miami Marlins | Mark Brown/Getty Images

Yelich was considered by many to be the favorite for the MVP given his .329 average, 44 home runs, 178 OPS+, an d 1.100 OPS before a fractured kneecap ended his 2019 season. He has the edge over his contemporaries in several key categories, but it remains to be seen if the writers will give him leeway and make allowance for him missing the last few weeks of the season.

1. Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 11, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers v Baltimore Orioles | Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Given his combination of offensive dominance, defensive stardom and value to a team that will challenge for a World Series title, Bellinger is the odds-on favorite to win his first MVP award in 2019. With 44 home runs, 109 RBIs, and a WAR of 8.3, Bellinger has put together a season for the ages in his age-24 campaign. The hardware should go to Bellinger when it's all said and done given the Yelich injury.