Another week featuring more MVP-like production from Austin Riley has people from all over beginning to jump on his bandwagon. Any honest Braves fan will tell you there’s still a gap between him and the current frontrunners, but I think it’s fair to say Riley has entered the top-five conversation.
Riley has definitely become part of the MVP conversation. Today on MLB Network… pic.twitter.com/mUFUp6BjkV
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) September 7, 2021
Among the leaders, Harper and Tatis certainly have the sexiest numbers, but there is one thing working in Riley’s favor over them — the number of games played. Riley is among the league leaders in games played with 136, followed by Harper at 117 and Tatis at 106.
There is a ton of value in a player that can put up that kind of consistent production night in and night out. But in the same breath, it’s difficult not to acknowledge the kind of absurd slugging numbers Fernando Tatis is putting up. He’s leading the league with a .628 slugging percentage and has 37 homers in just 106 games.
Muncy, Soto, and others like Trea Turner have also made MVP cases, but I put them in the same boat as Riley to actually win the award. They need almost unrealistic runs to end the season if they want to have an honest chance. Riley would have to hit something well over .300 the rest of the way and reach the 40 home run threshold. On top of that, he would need a little help from the people he is chasing. If Harper and Tatis struggled down the stretch and their teams missed the playoffs, it would open the door for one of the other candidates to steal the award.