Publish Date: 04/02/2022
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
Some MVP contenders are easy to pick — such as Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr. Others are more challenging to predict, like 2020 AL finalist Marcus Semien with his 45 homers or MVP Shohei Ohtani’s historic season a decade after he hit.190 with a 37.80 ERA. Check out our guide to finding the best site to bet on Baseball!
Let’s take an in-depth look at the players you may not have thought of but could be MVP candidates this year.
These are the four dark-horse MVP contenders for the 2022 season.
Robert only has 124 career big league games. Those 124 games have seen a lot: A tantalizing flash of play in August 2020, a steep adjustment curve in September (.409 OSP), and finally, a sprint to the finish last August after he was recovered from a torn hip flexor (1.011 OSP, 12 homers in 43 matches).
Why could Robert be getting MVP hardware in just his third year? His power was exceptional from the beginning (118 mph max exit velocity and 43% career hard-hit rate). Another big help here is that he reduced his whiffs between 2020 and ’21. Despite all the missed time, he has been an elite defender from the jump (+10 outs above average, eighth of center fielders). He’ll be an integral part of a White Sox team that should have the easiest path to a Division title in Baseball.
Already, we’ve seen five-tool potential in “La Pantera.” We should have an MVP Award, which arrives earlier than expected.
I know, I know. An AL MVP Award was won by Mike Trout, an Angels player in back-to-back seasons. Crazy, right? Perhaps not. We’re not talking about Rendon, one of the best hitters in the game. However, it’s easy to forget how prolific Rendon was at the plate after his injury-ridden 2021 campaign. Here’s a quick reminder:
2017: 25 HR and 100 RBIs .937 OS 2018: 24 HR. 92 RBIs..909 OPS 2019: 34 HR. 126 RBIs. 1.010 OPS 2020: 9 HR (31 RBIs),.915 OPS (552 games)
Rendon’s combined OPS of.949 between 2017-and 20 was fifth in the Majors, behind only Trout and J.D. Martinez, Aaron Judge, and Freddie Freeman. Although that number dropped to.712 in a season in which Rendon had to endure three trips to the IL before a right-hand hip impingement ended his season. Rendon could return to the player who won MVP votes from 2017-to 20 if he is fully healthy. This includes hitting in the middle of a lineup with Trout and AL MVP Shohei Ohtani. If you are betting on Baseball, you will need to find the best bookmakers!
Buxton, now 28 years old, has played 92 games in seven seasons. He also played 140 in 2017. Buxton, MLB’s former No. 1 overall prospect, has only appeared in 215 games of the Twins’ 546 (39.4%). While the center fielder has been a true MVP, he produced 9.6 wins above replacement (according to Baseball-Reference) over 187 games in 2019-21. This pace is equivalent to more than 7.0 bWAR for a 140-game season. This is a significant feat considering that only five players had at least 7.0 BWAR in 2021: Shohei Ohtani, Zack Wheeler, Marcus Semien Carlos Correa, Juan Soto, and Zack Wheeler.
Buxton, a solid defender, has become a dangerous hitter. He recorded 42 homers over the last three years and a.576 percentage of slugging. Buxton finished 2021 with 19 homers, 23 doubles, and a.306/.358/.647 (171 OS+) slash in 61 games. Despite his injury history, Buxton is the perfect longshot pick. However, Buxton has the talent and ability to win the MVP Award.
Wander Franco, the youngest player in Baseball last year, is on the verge of a possible breakthrough season. This is the fundamental skill that will carry a 2022 MVP candidate. Franco was a rookie at 20 years old and only struck out in 12% of his plate appearances. Franco made his big league debut on June 22. These are some striking rates for the season, from June 22 to the end.
Wander Franco — 12.0%Yuli Gurriel (al batting champion) — 12.6%12.9% Freddie Freeman, best hitter of the World Series champions –Juan Soto (145 runs to 93 strikes) — 13.7%Trea Turner (NL batting champion) — 14.2%Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (MLB’s No. 1. Franco prospect) — 15.1%MLB strikeout rates — 22.6%
Franco’s 80-grade hit instrument is added to the mix. He’s the only player to have reached the top of MLB Pipeline’s ranked prospects in the last decade. Vlad Jr. is the second, and he hit.311 with 48 homers. He would have been an MVP if it weren’t for Shohei Ohtani’s rewriting of baseball history. Franco’s 70 games are all that is needed to picture the Rays shortstop joining Soto Jr., Vlad Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., and Ronald Acuna Jr. at the young superstar echelon if you are interested in trying; out a new sportsbook!