Chicago Cubs: Top 5 team MVP candidates

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs Javier Baez
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

No. 1: Javier Baez

It should come as no surprise that Javier Baez has been the Cubs’ 2018 team MVP. Not only has he been the best player on the North Side, but he’s also been one of the best in the National League.

Baseball fans around the country are finding out what Cubs fans have known for quite some time – Baez has the skill to be one of the best players in baseball.

Baez’s 2018 campaign has been nothing short of electrifying. With a handful of games left to play, he is slashing .293/.328/.568 with 34 home runs, 21 stolen bases, and an NL-best 110 RBI.

On top of his strong offensive game, his elite fielding skills have been a huge addition to a team that has had to fill multiple holes as the injuries have piled up.

Although Baez has Gold Glove caliber defensive skills at the second base, shortstop, and third base positions, he won’t even be in consideration for the award. He shifts around so much that he’ll finish with far fewer innings at all three positions than players who stick primarily at one spot. It’s a weird situation, but Baez’s talent in the field actually hurts his chances at winning the premier fielding award.

Baez hasn’t just been versatile in the field, but also in the lineup. He’s hit in every possible spot in the batting order at some point this year with consistent results. May was the only month in which Javy had an OPS below .860.

Regardless of what WAR formula you prefer, Baez is third in the National League with 5.4 using Fangraphs method and 6.1 using Baseball-Reference’s formula.

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Whether or not Baez will win National League MVP is uncertain, but surely he has been the Cubs’ best player. Without his bat in the lineup, the Cubs’ inconsistent offense would’ve been much worse. It’s hard to see the Cubs competing for an NL Central title without Baez’s magic on display day in and day out.