This season, the Philadelphia Phillies have been baseball’s Cinderella story. For a team that hired an unproven manager in Gabe Kapler grouped with a multitude of young, talented players, the Phillies were not expected to be this good yet.
Instead, next season was suppose the time where everything came together to make a run at the NL East crown.
Throughout this season, the Phillies have received great starting pitcher led by ace Aaron Nola, who will be in the NL Cy Young conversation and timely hitting from players such as third baseman Maikel Franco, center fielder Odubel Herrera, and left fielder Rhys Hoskins.
Even though all three players are having fantastic seasons, Hoskins has the best shot at possibly winning the NL MVP.
It has been a long time since a Phillies player held the claim of being the best player in the National League.
The last time a Phillies player won the award was in the 2007 season, where shortstop Jimmy Rollins had a triple-slash line of .296/.344/.531 to go along with 30 home runs, 94 RBIs, and 41 stolen bases.
Rollins received 16 first place votes that year and had a WAR (wins above replacement) of 6.1.
2007 was also the first season since 1993 that the Phillies reached the postseason.
A year prior to Rollins’ winning, former Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard held the dubious title of NL MVP. The power-hitting slugger had a career-year with a triple-slash line of .313/.425/.659 with 58 home runs and 149 RBIs.
While he might not reach the numbers Howard posted in 2006, Hoskins could replicate what Rollins did. This season, the 25-year-old outfielder has a triple-slash line of .267/.378/.528 with 22 home runs and 72 RBIs. He also has a WAR of 1.2, which is not impressive but is also subjective.
Hoskins is having an impressive second season in the MLB and one of the main reasons why the Phillies are leading the NL East. But how do his numbers fare in comparison to the other players in contention for the NL MVP?
According to a recent MLB.com poll, the top three candidates for the National League are Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, and Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain.
Freeman just like Hoskins is playing a major role in the Braves resurgence this season. The 28-year-old first baseman leads the National League in hits with 132 but has 18 home runs and 69 RBI.
He is also batting .317 with an OBP of .399, SLG of .529 and WAR of 4.7. Freeman definitely has Hoskins beat in average and WAR, but in terms of power numbers, the advantage goes to Hoskins.
However, Freeman is doing a better job with strikeouts as he only has 88 in 476 plate appearances, while Hoskins has racked up 105 strikeouts in 440 plate appearances.
Next up on the list is Arenado, who is keeping the Rockies in postseason contention. The power-hitting third baseman is tied for National League-lead in home runs with 28.
In 456 plate appearances this season, Arenado has a triple-slash line of .302/.386/.582., 80 RBIs and a WAR of 4.3. 27-year-old third baseman has better power numbers and fewer strikeouts (81) than both Freeman and Hoskins.
If he can get the Rockies to the postseason, it will be hard for Hoskins or Freeman to win the NL MVP.
Last but not least is Cain, who leads the National League in WAR with 5.4. The 32-year-old outfielder does not boast the power numbers that Arenado, Freeman, and Hoskins have but does everything else really well.
This season, Cain has a triple-slash line of .294/.390/.417 to go along with eight home runs and 30 RBIs. He’s also racked up 105 hits, 19 stolen bases, and 18 doubles. This is not the first time that Cain has been in the running for MVP in his career.
Back in 2015 with the Kansas City Royals, he finished third in the American League MVP voting behind Mike Trout and winner Josh Donaldson.
With only two months to go in the regular season, it should be interesting to see how not only the pennant races but the award races shape up.
For all the potential MVP candidates, depending on how their respective teams finish, it will ultimately decide who will win the award.
In terms of Hoskins, if he keeps up the pace that he was on in June and July, where he combined for 15 home runs and 42 RBIs, then it will be hard not to consider him for the award.
Furthermore, if he does produce those types of numbers, best believe the Phillies will be playing in October.