When projecting the NL MVP winner, you need to consider Wins Above Replacement (WAR). This metric accounts for both offensive and defensive contributions, determining an overall value for a player.
Last season’s winner, Paul Goldschmidt, put up 7.1 WAR (per FanGraphs), so we’ll use that number as a benchmark to help forecast this year’s MVP race. Other candidates, such as Manny Machado (7.4), Nolan Arenado (7.3), and Freddie Freeman (7.1), put up similar WAR. With that in mind, let’s dive in with our 2023 NL MVP predictions and best bets.
NL MVP Odds 2023
NL MVP MLB betting odds are current as of Monday, March 27, courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
- Juan Soto, OF, San Diego Padres (+450)
- Mookie Betts, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (+800)
- Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves (+900)
- Manny Machado, 3B, San Diego Padres (+950)
- Pete Alonso, 1B, New York Mets (+1000)
- Nolan Arenado, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals (+1000)
- Freddie Freeman, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (+1000)
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals (+1200)
- Trea Turner, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (+1200)
- Fernando Tatis Jr., OF, San Diego Padres (+1400)
- Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves (+1400)
- Matt Olson, 1B, Atlanta Braves (+2500)
- Kyle Schwarber, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (+3000)
- Francisco Lindor, SS, New York Mets (+3000)
- Xander Bogaerts, SS, San Diego Padres (+3300)
- Jazz Chisholm Jr., OF, Miami Marlins (+4000)
The San Diego Padres have three of the top-10 favorites to win the NL MVP on their roster, along with newly signed Xander Bogaerts, who comes in at 15th.
The remaining list is a who’s who of superstars from the NL East, in addition to the top offensive duo from both the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers.
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NL MVP Best Bet 2023
Mookie Betts, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (+800)
The Los Angeles Dodgers will need Mookie Betts to shine in 2023 after the departure of Trea Turner (Phillies), Cody Bellinger (Cubs), and Justin Turner (Red Sox).
Luckily, there are very few players capable of getting as hot as Betts on both offense and defense. The Dodgers superstar slashed .269/.340/.533 last season with 35 home runs and 12 stolen bases despite a stint on the injured list.
In a wide-open field for the NL MVP, +800 is a fantastic value for someone with Betts’ capability to generate WAR.
NL MVP Favorites 2023
Juan Soto, OF, San Diego Padres (+450)
Manny Machado, San Diego Padres (+950)
Fernando Tatis Jr., OF, San Diego Padres (+1400)
This dynamic trio from the San Diego Padres all have the talent to win the NL MVP award. However, they will likely cannibalize each other’s chances along the way while playing for the same team.
Juan Soto is the favorite to win the award due to his amazing ability to get on base, but Manny Machado lead the National League in WAR last season and arguably could have won the award.
This does not even bring into consideration the wild card that is Fernando Tatis Jr., who could theoretically outshine both Soto and Machado with his elite blend of power and speed.
You can make a case for any of these three to make a run at the award, so I am going to avoid all three for the same reason. due to the possibility of canceling each other out.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals (+1200)
It would be wrong to omit Paul Goldschmidt from the conversation, considering he is the reigning NL MVP. However, at age 35, coming off arguably the best season of his career, I am going to expect a step backward for the veteran first baseman.
Not a major step backward, but a step large enough to take him out of the running in a stacked field of contenders.
NL MVP Contenders 2023
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (+1000)
Freddie Freeman is about as consistent as they come. You can almost write down his production in pen before the season begins.
The All-Star first baseball has hit over .300 in six out of the last seven seasons, with a double-digit walk rate in his last eleven.
If there is going to be an MVP candidate from the Dodgers not named Mookie, it is going to be Freeman.
Trea Turner, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (+1200)
A move to Citizens Bank Park could unlock a career year for Trea Turner in 2023. The 29-year-old slashed .298/.343/.466 over 708 plate appearances with 21 home runs, 27 stolen bases, 101 runs scored, and 100 RBI last season.
Who knows how many bags Turner could swipe with larger bases coming into play this year, but one thing is for sure, a monster campaign is on its way. If the Phillies’ new shortstop can keep the ship afloat until Bryce Harper returns mid-season, he could have a solid case to make for the NL MVP come season’s end.
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NL MVP Sleepers 2023
Francisco Lindor, SS, New York Mets (+3000)
The New York Mets shortstop led his position in fWAR in 2022 while batting .270/.339/.449 with 26 home runs, 12 stolen bases, and 107 RBI. In addition, Lindor provided gold glove-caliber defense on a daily basis while hitting in the middle of a dangerous lineup in Queens.
There should be plenty of scoring opportunities for a team that finished fifth among MLB teams in runs scored in 2022, which should greatly benefit Pete Alonso (+1400) and Lindor.
If you are looking for a dark horse that still holds a realistic chance of winning the NL MVP, look no further than the Mets’ star shortstop.