Is 2022 finally Manny Machado’s MVP season?

MLB picks Manny Machado as the early-season NL MVP frontrunner

Since his first full big-league season in 2013, when he finished ninth in American League MVP voting, Manny Machado has received MVP votes five times in nine seasons.

Now in his 11th season in the Majors, Machado looks poised to finally finish on top; the 29-year-old San Diego Padres star is the early-season NL MVP pick.

It’s May 12, just a little over a month since Opening Day, and Machado stands atop several offensive leaderboards in the National League and all of MLB. He leads the NL in on-base percentage (.460), slugging (.625), OPS (1.085), and OPS+ (222). He leads all MLB hitters in games played (32), runs scored (27), hits (46), batting average (.383), and total bases (75).

It’s been a long time since Machado led MLB in anything. Anything good, that is; he led in double plays grounded into with 24 in 2019. Not since his early years with the Baltimore Orioles has Machado topped his competition; he led MLB in at-bats (667) and league in doubles (51) in 2013 and led MLB by playing all 162 games and making 713 plate appearances in 2015.

MLB seasons are long, and there’s plenty of baseball ahead. But for Machado, winning MVP would be the culmination of over a decade of hard work. He’s been an All-Star five times, won the Silver Slugger, two Gold Gloves, even the Platinum Glove, but in MVP voting, he’s never been better than third place.