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MLB Power Rankings: 30 best first-time MVP candidates for 2023

MLB Power Rankings of the 30 best MVP candidates in baseball who haven’t already won the award.

This week’s MLB Power Rankings will take a look at the World Series of individual performances. Aaron Judge won the American League MVP in 2022. In the National League, it was Paul Goldschmidt who was victorious. Each were victorious for the first time in their careers. Both have been in contention for it plenty in the past.

What about those other top-level players who have yet to win the award? How are their chances in 2023?

Going obvious, bold, and in some cases absolute darkhorses, these are the 30 best MVP candidates who could win the award for the first time in 2023.

30) MLB Power Rankings: MVP candidate Christian Walker

How he can win the MVP: Christian Walker hit 36 home runs and drove in 94 for a team on the rise. He also happened to win a Gold Glove, something Paul Goldschmidt didn’t do at first base in 2022. Walker will need to raise his batting average drastically, but with some awesome power numbers and defense on a team that could compete in 2023, he’s someone to watch.

Why he won’t win the MVP: Christian Walker has too many improvements to make. Lifetime .247 hitters don’t typically suddenly figure out how to hit .300. Voters would love to nominate him. The hill will be too tall to climb.

29) MLB Power Rankings: MVP candidate Nathaniel Lowe

How he can win the MVP: Nathaniel Lowe broke out last season and gave the Texas Rangers a .302/.358/.492 performance at the plate along with 27 home runs and 76 RBI. Imagine if the team was able to hit all season. He’s still in his mid-20s so maybe the best has yet to come.

Why he won’t win the MVP: The Rangers have a couple of candidates on this list. They’ll split the vote. Plus, Lowe doesn’t quite have the track record as others.

28) MLB Power Rankings: MVP candidate Bo Bichette

How he can win the MVP: Bo Bichette is on pace to win the MVP Award in another ten years. He finished 12th in the vote in 2021 and went up to 11th in 2022. He has led the league in hits two straight seasons. He can hit with power and steal bases. If his defense was better (maybe move him to second base) he’d cross off another tally.

Why he won’t win the MVP: The Toronto Blue Jays will never have to rely solely on him for production. He’s well-balanced in scoring runs and driving them in. He’ll need to show he can hit .300 and smash 30 home runs to have a chance. Expect him to finish 10th in the vote this year.

27) MLB Power Rankings: MVP candidate Marcus Semien

How he can win the MVP: Marcus Semien did not have a very good first year with the Texas Rangers. He still managed to post a 5.9 WAR in what was regarded as a disappointment. He’s an amazing defensive second baseman who did manage to turn things around. He stays on the field and is, after all, the third-place MVP finisher from 2021.

Why he won’t win the MVP: If Semien is successful, it’s probably going to be with some other productive bats in the lineup. He’ll get a bit lost in Texas unless they’re able to take down the Houston Astros in the standings.

26) MLB Power Rankings: MVP candidate J.T. Realmuto

How he can win the MVP: It’s not easy for a catcher to enter the MVP race. J.T. Realmuto did finish seventh last year. He’s an every-tool kind of player. There’s no question he is the best catcher in baseball. Hand him a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger right now.

Why he won’t win the MVP: Bryce Harper will steal the show on the Philadelphia Phillies when he returns from Tommy John Surgery. The team has way too many other run producers for Realmuto to stand out in the National League.

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