We’re almost a month into the 2013 MLB season, but it’s never too early to make award predictions. With that said, here are my top three candidates to win NL MVP.
Buster Posey C-SF
Posey is the reigning NL MVP. And since he’s healthy, he earns an automatic entry to this party. Posey is the heart of the Giants’ lineup, and should be primed for another great offensive year. With three guys that can get on base hitting in front of him (Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, and Pablo Sandoval), Posey will have plenty of RBI opportunities as long as they stay healthy. And if Hunter Pence can provide quality support hitting behind Posey, Buster should see more driveable pitches.
Projected season line: .320/ 23 hr/ 105rbi/ 80runs/ 2 SB
Justin Upton OF-ATL
It’s hard to believe Upton is only 25. This is his seventh season in the bigs, but is just starting to hit his prime. He’s been a five-tool player from the start, and it’s easy to expect everything to come together this year. He desperately needed a change of scenery, and landed in a great spot. Upton sits nicely in between guys like Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, and his brother B.J. He’s already off to a quick start this season, and I fully expect him to be able to keep up with tremendous numbers. Expect a final season line of .300/40/115/100/20.
Bryce Harper OF- WAS
This is going to be the year of the young guns, and Harper is right in the thick of it. Harper burst on to the scene last season after being regarded as the top baseball prospect over the prior year and a half. Harper is one of the most well rounded players in baseball, providing raw power with great speed. Sitting nicely in the third spot of a loaded Nationals lineup, RBI and run scoring opportunities should be bountiful. Dropping down one slot in the order (and having a season’s worth of big league experience) will do wonders for Harper’s overall numbers. Expect “the Phenom” to take a large stride forward in his development towards superstardom.
Other candidates to watch for: Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun, Clayton Kershaw, and Joey Votto.