Even with a lot of season left to play, the NL MVP race in 2023 is already starting to heat up. Several legitimate National League MVP candidates have already emerged.

It’s not necessarily the players who we expected to be in the MVP race before the season, as some of the top MLB breakout candidates before the season have turned into MVP contenders as well. In any event, the NL MVP race in 2023 is going to be exciting to watch.

NL MVP race 2023

Naturally, the winner of the MVP race will likely be determined by what happens during the second half of the season and what teams end up winning their division and becoming serious World Series contenders.

After all, there is a lot of the season left to play. But since we already know some of the top contenders, let’s take a closer look at the top candidates in the NL MVP race in 2023.

Luis Arraez

After winning the American League batting title last season, Luis Arraez could be a candidate for National League MVP in 2023. Arraez is already starting to run away with the NL batting title, potentially winning in back-to-back years in different leagues. Doesn’t that sound like an MVP?

       

He’s also one hot streak away from potentially making a legitimate push to hit .400. While he probably won’t get there, if Arraez ends the season hitting .370 or .380, such an accomplishment would surely be MVP-worthy. Plus, Arraez is helping to keep the Marlins in the playoff picture. If Miami can make things interesting during the second half of the season, Arraez surely deserves a lot of the credit and MVP consideration.

Juan Soto

We’ve known for years that Juan Soto is one of the most talented players in baseball. After a slow start to the season, he appears to have turned things around and is starting to play up to his potential.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Padres in 2023. However, if the Padres turn things around and Soto leads the charge during a playoff push, he needs to be given MVP consideration. Even after his poor April, Soto has his OPS over .900 and is on pace for around 40 home runs, which should be enough to join the MVP discussion.

Sean Murphy

The Braves traded for Sean Murphy over the winter to be a difference-maker, and he’s been exactly that.

However, few expected him to be this good. He’s on track for a new career-high in home runs and has an OPS over .900. The thing hurting his case is that Atlanta’s lineup is loaded and the Braves have another obvious MVP candidate. Nevertheless, Murphy warrants inclusion in the discussion.

Paul Goldschmidt

As the reigning NL MVP, Paul Goldschmidt figures to be a serious candidate again in 2023. He was one of the few bright spots for St. Louis in April when they were struggling. Goldschmidt has continued to perform now that the Cardinals are showing signs of life.

Obviously, St. Louis has a long way to go this year. But if the Cards can make it all the way back and win the NL Central, Goldschmidt will undoubtedly have played a big role in making that happen. On that basis, he will need to be considered a serious MVP candidate.

Freddie Freeman

Freddie Freeman took home MVP honors in 2020, but he’s looking to win the award for a second time and prove that he can be an MVP over a full season and not just a shortened season.

Freeman was able to keep the Dodgers afloat early in the year when the rest of the team was struggling. He’s continued to crush it now that the Dodgers are once again leading the NL West.

While his power is down a little, Freeman is still collecting hits and RBIs like nobody’s business while also being an excellent defensive player at first base. He may not be a front-runner at the moment but it’ll be hard to keep Freeman out of the MVP discussion.

Pete Alonso

Right about now, Pete Alonso is probably grateful that he plays for one of the richest MLB owners. He’s a year and a half away from free agency and also on pace to hit around 60 home runs this season.

Alonso’s power this season has reached another level, especially since many of his homers have come in big spots. At the moment, Alonso is on pace to lead the National League in both homers and RBIs. If that continues to be the case, he’ll be a serious MVP candidate.

Ronald Acuna Jr. 

Right now, Ronald Acuna Jr. is the clear frontrunner for NL MVP honors in 2023.

He’s always had the talent to be one of the greatest outfielders of all time, but he’s been held back by injuries the past two seasons.

But Acuna is finally healthy and living up to his potential. He got off to a fast start in April and didn’t exactly slow down in May. Acuna could easily end up being a 40-40 player with an OPS over 1.000 while also batting well over .300. If he’s able to maintain that kind of pace all season, he’ll be tough to beat.

Our pick: Ronald Acuna Jr.

There should be no doubt that the NL MVP race in 2023 is Acuna’s to lose. He’s in the midst of what could be a historic season, although the same can be said of Alonso.

However, Acuna is undoubtedly the best player on the best team in the National League, which is why he’s currently the best bet to win National League MVP in 2023.

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