Miami Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez is chasing history. What he deserves is the National League MVP award, and Brian already wrote about the prospects of him winning it. What I'm going to be talking about is who is actually the frontrunner for the award, and who are the leading contenders. We're almost half way through the season, so let's see how things are going...
Will a Miami Marlins player win the NL MVP award?
Let's start by acknowledging that the MVP award doesn't actually go to the best player. What?! It usually goes to the best player on a playoff team, or even more precisely the most impactful player on such a team. Look at it this way, if removing this player costs his team the playoffs then that's your MVP. This is why I'm limiting this to potential playoff teams.
Atlanta Braves RF Ronald Acuna Jr. leads the NL in bWAR with 3.5. He's also batting .328/.399/.560 in 66 games and 268 AB. Luis Arraez has 2.7 WAR and a .391/.440/.476 batting line. I would argue that removing Acuna from the Atlanta lineup would hurt them less than removing Arraez from The Fish's. Would the voters see it the same way? The WAR gap is sadly large enough that it may tilt them towards Acuna. It also doesn't help that Acuna has 13 home runs to Arraez's 1.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have two candidates who will likely cancel each other out... 1B Freddie Freeman and RF Mookie Betts. Freeman has a 3.1 WAR along with a .338/.413/.586 batting line. Betts has a 3.0 WAR with a .263/.367/.534 batting line. I don't see Betts winning the award and as good as Freeman has been, I just don't see him winning it over Arraez and Acuna.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a shocking MVP candidate in Corbin Carroll. The frontrunner for the NL Rookie of The Year award is in the running for the NL MVP award as well. He is second to Acuna in WAR with 3.4, and has a .313/.397/.589 for the season so far.
Call me crazy but I see Corbin Carroll as the frontrunner at the moment. If Arizona wins the division, he's almost certainly winning the award as Atlanta has a stacked lineup unlike Arizona. If Luis Arraez is still hitting around .400 though....