Let’s face it. We already know that Mike Trout, and one of Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger will be taking home honors as the American and National League MVP for 2019.
However, in what has become a far more interesting debate: Who will be that third and final finalist for the National League?
Analysts around the game have pegged Atlanta Braves’ young phenom Ronald Acuña Jr. as the de facto bronze medalist in this race. However, is that a fair assumption? When looking around the league at some of the game’s best players, one player in particular seems to stand out amongst the rest. He’s a man nobody seems to talk about because he’s about as steady as they come. There’s nothing sexy to his game, it’s just a whole lot of excellence.
The Nationals’ third-baseman came out of the gates scorching hot, recording hits in 17 of his first 18 games in 2019. He then hit a mini skid and saw himself missing time due to injury between Apr. 26 and May 7. The Nationals went 3-7 in his 10 missed games and even fell to a season-low 12 games under .500 when they lost to the Mets on May 23.
Since then, Rendon has taken off. In 309 plate appearances, he’s slashing .317/.392/.578 with 143 wRC+ and 33 extra-base hits. He’s also chipped in 65 of his 92 RBI in that stretch, as well.
Overall, the 29-year-old has posted a .318/.400/.604 slash-line with 151 wRC+. His isolated power, a stat that skews heavily towards extra-base hits, is .286 –– ranking tenth in all of baseball, and sixth in the National League.
But those are all just numbers on paper. This is how he matches up with Ronald Acuña Jr.
Acuña is looking like a potential 40/40 guy – needing just six home runs and 12 steals to accomplish the feat; however, only one out of the four players to reach the 40/40 club has finished better than fifth in the MVP race (Canseco won in 1988).
Hold your horses on Ronald Acuña, and start taking a look at somebody who gets zero national attention –– because Anthony Rendon is having a fantastic 2019 campaign, and should be getting much more recognition for his talent.