This could go down as an incredible couple of weeks for Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts. After helping the Dodgers to their first World Series title since 1988 last week, Betts was named a finalist for National League Most Valuable player honors Monday. If the Baseball Writers’ Association of America votes for Betts, the former Red Sox superstar will become the first player since the legendary Frank Robinson to win the MVP in both leagues. However, Betts has some stiff competition this year in the other two finalists – Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and Padres third baseman Manny Machado.
Before the 28-year-old Betts took home his second World Series title, he was the juggernaut Dodgers’ premier player during the regular season. Betts slashed .292/.562 (149 wRC+) with 16 home runs, 10 stolen bases, the NL’s highest bWAR (3.4) and its second-ranked fWAR (3.0) in 246 plate appearances. You also can’t overlook Betts’ value in the field, as he led NL outfielders in Defensive Runs Saved (10) and came in second in Ultimate Zone Rating (5.7).
Freeman, meanwhile, went on an offensive rampage all season, especially during a September in which he recorded a remarkable 1.246 OPS in 96 at-bats. That month helped Freeman to an overall .341/.462/.640 line with 13 homers over 262 PA. Freeman was first in his league in fWAR (3.4), second in bWAR (2.8) and second in wRC+ (187).
Alongside shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who arguably had an MVP-caliber season of his own, Machado gave the Padres an all-world left side of the infield in 2020. Thanks in large part to those two, the Padres made the postseason for the first time since 2006. But it’s Machado who’s now drawing MVP consideration, and he’s certainly a deserving candidate. In his second season as a Padre, Machado hit .304/.370/.500 (148 wRC+) with 16 HRs and six steals in 254 PA. He ranked third among NL position players in bWAR (2.8) and sixth in fWAR (2.6).
Is one of these three the obvious choice, or will it be difficult for voters to make a decision? Make your choice below…
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