If you happen to run into a baseball writer who has a 2017 NL MVP vote, give that person a hug. They’ll need it.

Trying to sort out this year’s crowded NL MVP race is a nearly impossible task. As many as six players have had seasons worthy of first-place votes, which means you’re going to see vastly different ballots when the totals are released in November.

Let’s look at the case for each of the primary contenders to win the award …


Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

Why he could win: He’s the favorite. Obviously, Stanton’s candidacy starts with his 54 home runs — that’s 16 more than current NL runner-up Cody Bellinger — but there’s a solid foundation supporting that peak. Miami’s favorite slugger has a 1.002 OPS (career high) and .629 slugging percentage (NL-best) to go with excellent totals in the counting stats, too — 113 RBIs and 112 runs scored. He’s an outstanding defensive outfielder, too.