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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.