1) – Padres have an anchor at the hot corner in Manny Machado
Look. It felt really wrong not picking El Niño as the likeliest Padres player to win the MVP this season. But at the same time, it felt so right giving that honor to third baseman Manny Machado.
At just 27 years of age, Machado is still in his prime – and likely will remain there for some time. San Diego knew that when they inked him to his massive contract extension a few years back. After a pretty so-so debut campaign for the Friars, the four-time All-Star was an MVP finalist in 2020.
Last season, the former first-rounder turned in a career-best .304/.370/.580 line – which netted him his first career Silver Slugger. He hit 16 home runs, 12 doubles and a triple in just 60 games – so in other words, just about 43 percent of his hits went for extra bases.
A three-time Gold Glover, Machado is one of the best defensive third basemen in the game. Unfortunately, since coming to the National League, he’s been overshadowed by the recently-traded Nolan Arenado at the hot corner. But he’s still a treat to watch with the leather.
It’s totally conceivable that Tatis Jr. and Machado are both finalists for the MVP this year. I mean, they came close to accomplishing that last season, when Machado finished third and Tatis Jr., fourth. This year, I think they both put it all together – and Machado brings home the first MVP of his decorated career.