The 40-year-old outfielder from Minnesota has shown no signs of slowing down at all. Last year Cruz hit .308 with 41 HRs and 108 RBI’s. If some guy named Mike Trout didn’t exist, those numbers would probably be good enough for an MVP, yet they simply went under the radar. Cruz leads the MLB in HRs since 2010 with 346 and has impressively hit .281 during that time too. Cruz has never been in the Top 5 regarding the MVP race, but with how loaded this Twins team is (101 wins last year) and arguably being their best player? Nelson Cruz definitely has a shot at winning an MVP this year and nobody is talking about it. In this shortened 60 game season, expect 20ish HRs and a high batting average from Nelly.
- Yoan Moncada
Moncada is a very interesting player. He was widely regarded as the best prospect In baseball for years while in the Red Sox organization. He was then traded to Chicago for Chris Sale. Last year, Moncada really broke out by batting .315 with 25 HRs and 79 RBI’s in 132 games. He’s done nothing but improves in his 2nd full year in the majors, and I expect him to keep doing so at only 25 years old. With the offseason additions of Grandal, Encarnacion, Mazara, etc. He’s going to have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs from the 3rd spot in the order. He’s ready to be the star on this up and coming White Sox team.
- Matt Olsen
What can’t Matt Olsen do? Well, there’s not a lot. On an Oakland team where he’s overshadowed by the amazing 3B Matt Chapman, Olsen has been very impressive himself. He’s a 2x Gold Glove winner at 1B, and hit 36 HR’s last year, while also missing 35 games. His batting average is a little low as it sits around the .260-.270 mark, but he makes up for it by his amazing defense at 1B and his power up at the plate. If Oakland makes another playoff run this year and Olsen has around a .265-40-110 campaign while winning another Gold Glove? His name will definitely be in the MVP race and could possibly surpass Chapman as the best player in Oakland by some.
- Giancarlo Stanton
Wait…Giancarlo Stanton? As in 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton? Yes, that would be him. Stanton’s only played in 54% of the Yankees games since he joined the club in 2018 and he’s only hit 44 HR’s over those 2 years. It appears he’s finally healthy this year and in only 60 games? He can put up some numbers. He hit 59 HRs playing at Marlins Park, then just imagine what he can do at the short-fenced Yankee Stadium. People tend to forgot what he can do when he’s playing, but he’s still a top player in the game. I look forward to seeing Giancarlo MASH some long bombs at Yankee Stadium this year, en route to possibly leading the Yankees to the World Series?
- Rafael Devers
Rafael Devers is such a fun player to watch. He broke out last year, batting .332 with 32 HRs and 115 RBI’s. He bats from the left side of the plate and kills LHP just as much as RHP. Another beautiful thing about Devers is that he drives the ball to all parts of the field so well. After the recent departure of Mookie Betts, Devers is the next Boston star in the making. He had a whopping 54!! 2B’s last year, which was enough to lead the league. To make things better, that was only Devers’ 2nd MLB season and he’s only 23 years old. Devers is just getting started in Boston and is already putting up amazing numbers. Opposing pitchers should be worried for years to come.
- Corey Seager
Corey Seager Is another case of the “I’ve been injured so people forget how good I am” group. It wasn’t too long ago where Seager was arguably the best SS in baseball and was one of the stars that lead the Dodgers to back-to-back World Series. He finished 3rd in MVP voting the same year he won Rookie Of The Year (2016). He’s a career .294 hitter and is very productive when healthy. His last “full” year in the majors, he batted .275 with 19 HRs and 87 RBI’s. Seager is one of the few players that can hit any pitch you give him near the strike zone. He doesn’t have a “cold zone” as he also can drive the ball anywhere. He gets lost behind players like Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, and other solid players on this great Dodgers team but don’t forget about Seager. He’s more than ready to re-emerge as a star and help the Dodgers overcome their postseason woes.
- Paul Goldschmidt
It wasn’t too long ago when “Goldy” was widely regarded at the best 1B in the MLB. He had a 6 year stretch in ARI where he batted .301 and averaged 30 HRs and 100 RBI’s. Since signing a big deal with St. Louis in 2019, he had an underwhelming year. He had the lowest batting average of his career (.260) but still hit 34 HR’s and finished just south of 100 RBI’s. Goldschmidt has finished 2nd in MVP voting 2x in his career and finished in 3rd once. Maybe this is the year Goldy gets over the hump by returning into his old self. He might be nearing the end of his run though as he turns 33 this year.
- Trea Turner
Fresh off of a World Series win in Washington, Trea Turner is ready to become the new leader of the club. After back-to-back years of losing stars in free agency with Bryce Harper in 2019, and Anthony Rendon in 2020, it’s Turner’s time to shine. Turner’s flown under the radar for pretty much most of his career, as he’s been overshadowed by the two men mentioned above, but he’s always been a solid player. Turner’s never been a big power guy and doesn’t drive in a ton of runs but there’s two things he does really well: Get on base and steal them. He’s a lifetime .291 hitter and has stolen 159 bases in 4 full MLB seasons. His power numbers have improved every single year and so has his RBI’s, so if he continues to improve in every category this year? Watch out for Trea Turner. Is the 40/40 club a stretch? Probably, but he has a very good opportunity to join the exclusive 30/50 club (30 HR’s and 50 SB’s). If he can improve like his track record suggests, and he takes Washington deep into the playoffs once again? This very well could be his year.
- Fernando Tatis Jr.
Arguably the MLB’s hottest young star is this man. Fernando Tatis Jr. He stepped onto the scene last year with big expectations and boy did he exceed them. Tatis JR has shown flashes of brilliance on both sides of the ball that already solidified him as a Top 10 SS in baseball at only 21 years of age. He only played in 84 of the Padres’ games last year, but he showed out by hitting .317 with 22 HR’s and 53 RBI’s from the leadoff spot. It’s only a matter of time before Tatis becomes the best SS in baseball, and one of the best players in the sport period. So why not now? He’s put up one of the best rookie years in recent memory and has proven that he’s ready for the spotlight. He could become the 2nd youngest MLB MVP ever (Vida Blue) if he won the award this year. Is it likely? Not necessarily, but could it happen? Absolutely. San Diego is a very lucky ball club for years to come.
- Eugenio Suarez
Did you know Eugenio Suarez hit 49 HRs last year? No? Well not many people did. Usually, when someone hits 49 HRs you can just hand them the MVP or be in the running for it, but Suarez didn’t even finish Top 10 in MVP voting. With the additions of Nicholas Castellanos and Mike Moustakas, pitchers can’t just pitch around Suarez anymore. He’s averaged 36 HRs the last 3 years while having around a .275 batting average. The Reds have vastly improved this year and if Suarez can hit around 45 HR’S and lead Cincy to the playoffs for the first time since 2013? Why doesn’t he deserve some love in the baseball world? Eugenio Suarez can flat out rake and he’s ready to show the world this year.
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