As we enter the final month of the season the NL MVP award could finally be coming back to the San Diego Padres thanks to their young superstar.
There is no question that if the season ended today Fernando Tatis Jr. would be the winner of the NL MVP award, which would be the first time a San Diego Padres player won it since Ken Caminiti in 1996.
Tatis leads the entire league with 2.8 WAR. He’s tops in the NL with 14 home runs and is third in OPS at 1.043.
Those are the three most polarizing figures that voters tend to look at when considering who the best player in the league is.
If you look at Mike Trout — the likely AL leader at this point — he’s second in the AL with 2.0 WAR, he’s tops with 15 home runs, and he’s first in OPS at 1.071.
It’s pretty obvious, to me at least, that those are your two best players in baseball so far this year. And with just a little over three weeks left in the regular season, especially in the case of Tatis, it’s their awards to lose.
Both players would have to struggle big time over these next three weeks to lose it. And at the same time, another player would have to get red-hot over that span.
San Diego Padres Fernando Tatis Jr. NL MVP Competition
Let’s look at the biggest competition to Tatis down the stretch.
Mike Yastrzemski is the closest to him in WAR at 2.4. If the San Francisco Giants snuck into the postseason somehow and he stayed hot down the stretch, he could certainly grab some MVP consideration.
He has just 8 home runs with an OPS of 1.000, which is seventh-best in the NL.
Probably his biggest competition will be Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The leader of the Padres NL West rival has an OPS of 1.018 with 13 home runs and 2.4 WAR.
With his name notoriety and the Dodgers being the best team in the league, it wouldn’t take much for Betts to overtake Tatis in these last three weeks.
But still, once you start getting into the counting numbers Tatis really starts to seperate himself.
He’s first in the league with 41 runs scored and first with 37 RBI. Manny Machado is the closest to him in RBI with 34.
Tatis is also fourth in stolen bases with 7 and third in wRC+ at 174.
Perhaps you could throw the Cubs Ian Happ into the mix as well, but I really think the NL MVP award will come to these three or four guys.
And really, I think it will be an NL West showdown between Tatis and Betts, which will make these final matchups between the Padres and Dodgers even more fun to watch.