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Team MVPs: National League Central

The Game Haus will spotlight those MLB names whose contributions have helped bring victory to their teams this season. We will do so by crowning our MVP’s and Rookies of the Year for each baseball club. Today, we continue with the National League Central Division.

Team MVPs: Chicago Cubs

MVP: Javier Baez, Second Baseman
National League Central
Image courtesy of 670 The Score

Once again, the Cubs are on top of the National League Central, in no small part due to Javier Baez. From the batter’s box, Baez has chalked up 25 home runs and 89 RBIs. Not only are these career highs for Baez, but these are the highest in both categories by a Chicago Cub this season. Baez is also working on a career high in batting average in 2018, at .290. No doubt that Baez has earned himself his 2018 All-Star selection. Chicago will need him to keep running hot to hold the division lead.

Team Rookie of the Year: David Bote: Third Baseman

Most people got to know David Bote after a once-in-a-lifetime comeback grand slam that beat the Washington Nationals at the last moment. Unfortunately, Bote hasn’t taken much playing time in his inaugural year, only playing in 40 games, but he has taken advantage of what he has been given so far. He has posted a .278 bating average, three home runs and 18 RBI in 2018. Bote’s role, along with his playing time, will be bigger before he knows it. It will need to be for Chicago to keep its National League Central pennant.

Team MVPs: St. Louis Cardinals

MVP: Matt Carpenter: Third Baseman
National League Central
Image courtesy of The Redbird Daily

When Matt Carpenter caught fire with the bat, all of baseball felt the heat. Now, Carpenter has hit a career-high 34 home runs this season, and the season still as over a month of play left. Not to mention he leads the entire National League in home runs. He is fighting a slump at the moment, boasting a meager .182 batting average in his last seven games. But it’s only a matter of time until he erupts again. When it happens, the National League Central will get a lot more interesting. The St. Louis Cardinals are about three games behind the lead, but they have won eight of their last 10 games.

Team Rookie of the Year: Harrison Bader: Right Fielder

Harrison Bader has burst onto the scene rather quickly within his first month in the majors. Since his debut in late July, Bader has tallied nine home runs and 25 RBIs, along with a .282 batting average. On top of that, number 48 is quickly improving in the batter’s box, boasting a .333 batting average in his last 15 games. The former Florida Gator still has plenty of room for improvement. The Cardinals could very well have another All-Star in their ranks in the very near future.

Team MVPs: Milwaukee Brewers

MVP: Jesus Aguilar, First Baseman
National League Central
Milwaukee Brewers’ Jesus Aguilar watches his game-winning home run during the ninth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Miami Marlins on Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Milwaukee. The Brewers won 6-5. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

It is safe to say that 28-year old Jesus Aguilar has found his big break this season. Aguilar has 29 home runs and 90 RBI’s to his name. Not only does he lead the team in both categories, but he also has the second most RBI’s in the NL. Jesus’ batting average is also improving and approaching a career-high. In his last 15 games, number 24 has maintained a .327 batting average. Aguilar is one of many things going right for Milwaukee in 2018. With the National League Central race getting tighter, Aguilar and company must turn it up like never before.

Team Rookie of the Year: Corbin Burnes, RHP

Corbin Burnes is off to an exceptional start to his MLB career. He may have only pitched 19 innings this season, but what he was able to do is something not a lot of rookies can boast about. Burnes holds a 3-0 pitching record, along with a 3.79 ERA this season. His batting average allowed is not too shabby either, sitting at .221. Though more tweaking to his approach may be required, number 39 is an All-Star ace in the making.

Team MVPs: Pittsburgh Pirates

MVP: Gregory Polanco, Right Fielder
National League Central
Aug 13, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco (25) at bat against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Additional Courtesy of CBS Sports)

Gregory Polanco has played a pivotal role in the Pirates’ offense. The five-year right-fielder leads the team with 20 home runs and 69 RBIs this season. But like the Pirates team, number 25 has hit a snag in recent games. Not only has his batting average dipped (>.250), but his numbers have not held up to where he would like them to be (only four home runs in last 30 outings). There is still time for the 26-year old to enter a hot streak. Plus, he is on pace to hit career highs in home runs by the end of 2018. As for Pittsburgh, they have much ground to cover to stay in the race for the National League Central.

Team Rookie of the Year: Colin Moran, Third Baseman

In his first year with Pittsburgh, Colin Moran has proved to be an impact player for the black and gold. The one they call “Redbeard” has tallied eight home runs and 45 RBIs this season. Not to mention his batting average in the last 30 games has exceeded .300. No doubt the Pirates did well in picking up number 19. Like every other active Pirate, Moran will have to do to help Pittsburgh get back into the fray.

Team MVPs: Cincinnati Reds

MVP: Eugenio Suarez, Third Baseman
National League Central
Photo courtesy of Rob Tringali of Getty Images

The season picture for Cincinnati has turned significantly brighter, though they still sit last in the National League Central. The Reds have players like Eugenio Suarez to thank for this turnaround. This season, number seven has belted 28 home runs and 92 RBIs. Not only did Suarez hit career-highs in both areas, but he also leads the NL in RBI’s. ESPN projects that the 27-year old will cash in 36 home runs and 118 RBI’s by the end of the regular season.

Team Rookie of the Year: Jesse Winker, Right-Fielder

Home run hitting may not be his forte, but Jesse Winker is a name that the Reds organization should pay more attention to. In 2018, Winker has recorded 43 RBIs and a .297 batting average. On top of that, 24 of those RBI’s came in his last 30 outings, and his batting average sat at over .380 in that same span. A young gun like Winker could help the Reds turn things around. Who knows? We could see number 33 in the All-Star game quite often for years to come.


Featured image courtesy of Reviewing the Brew
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