The National League Central is loaded with talent from top to bottom and throughout the first month of the season there have been several stars that have a realistic shot at winning an MVP award. Here are five very early candidates from the Central who could win the MVP award:
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5. Kris Bryant
Bryant has only played in nine games, but if the Chicago Cubs stay in contention all season he will most likely not only be a rookie of the year candidate, but also have a giant opportunity to win an MVP award, too. As the Cubs cleanup hitter, Bryant has yet to homer, but he is off to an excellent start with a .318 average and a .864 OPS. After mashing the minor leagues all season and leading all of baseball in homers this spring, it is only a matter of time until his power bat begins hitting homers with regularity.
Holliday is 35-years-old, but he remains a superstar in the league. He has only homered once so far this season, but with a league leading .500 OBP, he has been impossible to keep off base. Last year in the second half of the season he put the Cardinals on his back and this year he could prove to do the same.
Though he is just 25-years-old, Rizzo is a seasoned veteran in the middle of a young Cubs lineup. He took a big step last season and with a .948 OPS and a .325 batting average Rizzo is well on his way to another monster year. He fully expected the Cubs to contend and so far his prediction has come true to begin the year.
Matt Carpenter is not only a giant pest at the plate, but he is also arguably the best leadoff hitter in the game today. Starting things off for the Cardinals, Carpenter has three home runs, 14 RBIs, and an awesome 1.089 OPS. He has been in the conversation for MVP before and it is looking like this season he will have a great shot to win the award.
1. Joey Votto
Votto is back and as good as ever this season. No longer just an on-base percentage guy, Votto has shown that he is back to driving the ball, as he is among league leaders in both home runs and RBIs. The Reds offense has been down in recent years, but if he can keep swinging like his previous MVP form, he has an excellent shot at winning the award again this year.