Value is hard to quantify. A lot goes into how much a player is valued by his organization. How much does a player contribute to winning? Do consistent bad performances accelerate losing? Does the player subscribe to the team’s culture?
A team’s most valuable player is essential in establishing its identity. Although success is dependent on the team as a whole, each MLB squad is led by an individual that stands out above the rest.
Let’s dive into the most valuable player to each National League team so far this season.
National League East
Mets (41-22): Pete Alonso
The Mets super-slugger is having a remarkable year. Every time he steps up to the plate, the baseball should get ready for takeoff. Alonso has been extremely durable, having only missed one game this season. Although he is limited at first-base, he is New York’s power engine and should be a candidate for a healthy extension during the off-season.
Braves (36-27): Kyle Wright
Wright has been that dude for the surging Braves. Atlanta has a serious 1-2 punch in Max Fried and the former top-five pick for the foreseeable future. To Atlanta’s gratification, it seems as though Wright is developing quickly, utilizing a dizzying five-pitch repertoire.
Phillies (31-31): Bryce Harper
A UCL tear has not stopped the two-time MVP from producing. Harper is the heart and soul of the Phillies. He is one of the best motivators in the game, a clubhouse leader, and inspires his teammates with unmatched ferocity.
Marlins: (28-32): Sandy Alcántara
The beastly young right-hander might start the All-Star Game. He has the second-lowest ERA (1.68) in the NL and leads the NL in innings pitched (91). Alcántara has figured it out, and the Marlins ace just might be the game’s Secretariat.
Nationals (23-41): Juan Soto
Soto is the Nationals. He is having a down year by his lofty standards, but he is a generational talent that can pick it up at any point. The future of the franchise will be determined by his staying or leaving.
National League Central
Cardinals (37-27): Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt has been the best hitter in the NL. He hit three home runs last night. The Cardinals masher leads the NL in WAR (3.6). There is nothing else to really say about his output. He should run away with the NL MVP.
Brewers (34-29): Josh Hader
It’s closing time. Hader has been the most dominant reliever in baseball. No one compares to Milwaukee’s serpent left-hander – he has given up only six hits and two runs on the season.
Pirates (24-37): Bryan Reynolds
Reynolds signed a two-year deal with the Pirates this week. The centerfielder would have been a valuable trade piece at the deadline, but Reynolds has been the team’s best player since he made his debut in 2019.
Cubs (23-38): Willson Contreras
Contreras leads NL backstops in batting average (.279), OBP (.403), SLG (.543), WAR (2.4), wRC+ (166), and xwOBA (.413).
Reds (23-39): Hunter Greene
The young firebreather has settled down in his last two starts, giving up only one run and three hits in 12 innings of work. He will be the Reds’ ace in the coming years.
National League West
Dodgers (38-23): Tony Gonsolin
It is time to talk about Tony Gonsolin. The Dodgers rotation is so littered with star-power that Gonsolin’s insane production is getting overshadowed. He has the lowest ERA in the Majors (1.42), an absurd, league-leading ERA+ (296), and yet no one seems to be talking about him.
Padres (39-24): Manny Machado
Machado has stepped up in the absence of Fernando Tatis Jr. The San Diego slugger gets it done with his glove, has one of the most extraordinary arms of all-time at third, and is halfway to 3,000 hits at 29 years old.
Giants (35-26): Carlos Rodón
A deep postseason run for the Giants will depend on the health and ability of their big free-agent signing. Rodón has slowed down after his hot start out of the gate, but a 1-2 punch of Logan Webb and Rodón could be intimidating come October.
Diamondbacks (29-35): Zac Gallen
Gallen has a sub-3.00 ERA (2.95) and has been the best pitcher for the D-Backs.
Rockies (27-35): C.J. Cron
Cron is in the midst of the best season of his career. It might be tough for him to get an All-Star nod with Goldschmidt and Alonso in the way, but the Rockies’ power threat is very much deserving of getting to Los Angeles.