The National League has had a hotbed of hitters lately which will make for a very intriguing MVP race down the line, but for right now let’s take a look at the players that are leading the charge thus far.
Pete Alonso, New York Mets
So Alonso’s raking again. What’s new? Well, his batting average currently sits at .282, which is 20 points higher than it’s ever been for a full season and he’s leading the MLB in RBI with 54. Alonso has been the Mets’ best hitter, however, the question is “how long can he keep this up?”
The Mets currently have the best record in the National League and that’s without two-time Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom throwing a pitch for them this season. With injuries to pitchers Max Scherzer and deGrom, the Mets’ offense will need to keep producing to stay on top. They’ve been one of the best run-producing teams so far with the third highest run differential in the league at +75 with Alonso leading the charge.
Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
It’s been a roller coaster of emotions for Phillie fans the last few days after the organization decided to let go of general manager Joe Girari after another slow start to the season. However, the slow start has not affected reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper one bit.
Harpers’ current batting average is identical to the one he had during his MVP campaign last season at .309, meanwhile he’s upped his slugging percentage to .628
One issue that some voters may have with Harper, is that he’s mostly been used as a designated hitter since he has an ulnar collateral ligament injury in his throwing arm. The reason that this is noteworthy is because a player who has been primarily used as a designated hitter has never won the MVP award.
Paul Goldschimdt, St. Louis Cardinals
All that really needs to be said here is that Goldschimdt is currently on a 43 game on-base streak and his hitting streak just came to an end at 25 games. Goldschimdt has been one of the hottest hitters this season, batting .343 with 70 hits and a 1.028 OPS that leads the National League.
His teammate, Nolan Arenado, was the hottest Cardinal to start the year, but his production at the plate has dipped in comparison to the beginning of the season. Even with the small dip in production the combo of Arenado and Goldschimdt has been instrumental in leading the Cardinals to a 32-24 record.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
For Betts, the start of the season was a forgettable one, batting .232 while recording 19 hits in 82 at-bats. It appears a new Betts popped out of a cryo chamber after the unrecognizable start. Since May 4, he’s batting .349 with 13 home runs and has a 1.146 OPS in 129 at-bats.
Betts’ resurgence has helped an already loaded Dodgers roster to the second best record in the National League. Just a few weeks ago it seemed infathambale that Betts would be in the MVP conversation, but after a blazing hot May, his name is firmly etched in the conversation.
Manny Machado, San Diego Padres
What could have been a poor start to the season for the Padres with All-Star Fernando Tatis out for the start of the year with a wrist injury, turned into a Manny Machado masterclass. He has slashes of .327/.402/.540 and has 66 hits, which ranks fourth in the MLB. Not to mention he leads the league in WAR at 3.3.
Along with a pitching staff that has the sixth best ERA at 3.43 and Machado’s production at the plate, the Padres have put themselves in prime position to make a postseason run once Tatis returns from the IL.