For this week's National League Most Valuable Player rankings, we ponder the question of defense and how much it should factor into a player's MVP candidacy.
The player provoking this discussion is the Atlanta Braves' Michael Bourn. We'll go into far more detail in the next slide, but Bourn's outstanding defense is enough to put him among the leaders in WAR (wins above replacement) despite offensive numbers that don't match up to his peers.
Another player who warrants consideration, though he's not on this week's list, is Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton has had an explosive August with 10 home runs, 22 RBI and a .316/.345/.785 triple-slash average.
With 29 homers, Stanton ranks second in the NL. His .604 slugging percentage is the league's top mark in that category. And his .965 OPS ranks third among NL batters. So is he being snubbed?
Please share your thoughts on Bourn, Stanton and defense in the comments. Of course, your responses and suggestions for this week's top five are also welcome. You can also reply to me on Twitter. My address is at the end of this article. That feedback factors into how these rankings are put together each week.
In our view, these are the top five leading candidates for the NL MVP Award. All the statistics mentioned here are current as of Aug. 30.