Daniel Murphy-Second Baseman-Washington Nationals
Last October saw second baseman Daniel Murphy become a household name when he set a Major League Baseball record as he hit a home run in six consecutive playoff games to help the New York Mets win the National League Pennant. Murphy left the Mets in free agency to join the Washington Nationals and the hitting prowess that he displayed last October hasn’t dissipated.
For the first two months of the 2016 Major League Baseball season, Murphy flirted with hitting .400, but he is still leading the National League in batting at .348 while his 17 home runs are a career-high. Murphy is a big reason why the Nationals are in first place in the N.L. East and on pace to win the division for the third time since 2012.
Jeurys Familia-Relief Pitcher-New York Mets
In the 75 years of the National League MVP Award, a relief pitcher has never won it. And as for both leagues, only Dennis Eckersley in 1992 was named the MVP as he did it in the American League. But even though that New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia is fighting an uphill battle, his accomplishments so far in 2016 need to be recognized. Familia is a perfect 31-for-31 in saves opportunities this year and he is a big reason why the Mets have been able to hang around in playoff contention. Familia has also struck out 41 batters while only allowing 12 runs, and if he is able to reach magical number of 50 in the saves category, he should receive some serious consideration as far as being the N.L. MVP.
Kris Bryant-Third Baseman-Chicago Cubs
When the Chicago Cubs were struggling in 2014, the folks knew that help was potentially on the way in the form of third baseman Kris Bryant. Bryant was the second overall pick of the 2013 Major League Draft by the Cubs and he has lived up to the hype and then some. After winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award last year, Bryant has avoided the sophomore slump as he is batting .286 with 25 home runs and 65 runs batted in. Bryant is a big reason why the Cubs are in first place in the National League Central and the folks in the Windy City are thinking about the World Series for the first time in a long time.
Anthony Rizzo-First Baseman-Chicago Cubs
As there were some very lean years for the Chicago Cubs in the early 2010’s, there was one bright spot for the team which was first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo was showing his potential on bad Cubs teams which included belting 32 homers in 2014 as he finished tenth in the National League MVP voting. Currently Rizzo is on pace for his best season as he has 21 homers and 63 runs batted in to go along with a .299 batting average here at the All-Star break. And just like Bryant, Rizzo is a big reason why the Cubs are in first place in the N.L. Central.
Nolan Arenado-Third Baseman-Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies might be 16 games out of first place in the National League West, but that doesn’t mean that the year in which their starting third baseman Nolan Arenado is having should go unrecognized. Arenado was the second overall pick of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft by the Rockies and he is coming into his own as one of the best all-around players in the game. Last year Arenado led the National League in home runs (42) and runs batted in (130), while he also won his third Gold Glove Award.
This year Arenado is batting .287 with 23 homers and his 70 runs batted in lead the National League. Arenado will be fighting an uphill to named as the N.L. MVP as the Rockies will more than likely not make the playoffs, but Arenado simply continues to chug right along.