By: Noah Wright
AP Photo/John Minchillo
When you think who’s going to win NL MVP this season, you’ll probably think Nolan Arenado, Freddie Freeman, or Joey Votto. While each have had decent seasons, none really have done the job Reds’ third baseman Eugenio Suarez has done this season. Suarez’s season could put him in contention to win The NL MVP, making him a sleeper for the award.
Suarez originally came to The Reds when The Reds sent starter Alfredo Simon to The Detroit Tigers for Suarez, and a minor league pitcher, Jonathan Crawford in the 2014-2015 off-season. Suarez has always been a producer in The Reds’ line-up. In his first season, Suarez batted a good .280/.315/.446 with 13 homers, and 48 RBI’s in 398 PA’s as a shortstop. In his second season, Suarez took a slight step backwards, as he batted .248/.317/.411 with 21 home runs and 70 RBI’s in 627 PA’s. In his second season, Suarez was moved to the hot corner, and did just fine there with 1 DRS, .4 defensive WAR, and a -1.6 UZR. However, Suarez’s breakout would come in his 3rd year with The Reds. Last season, Suarez hit .260/.367/.461, with the OBP and slugging % being career highs. Plus, he also stepped up his defense, with 5 DRS, .8 defensive WAR, and 4.4 UZR. While Suarez had a very nice season in 2017, nothing he’s done compares to his 2018 season so far.
To give a representation on how good Suarez’s season has been so far, his slugging % of .580 is higher than that of Aaron Judge’s, Manny Machado’s, and Nelson Cruz’s. He is also leading The NL with a .982 OPS. Suarez’s .316 average is 6th in The NL. His RBI total of 66 leads The NL as well. In WAR (according to Fangraphs), Suarez has a 3.1 WAR. That sits right behind Freddie Freeman with a 3.4 WAR, and Arenado with a 3.5 WAR. In sabermetrics, Suarez has a 159 wRC+, which is higher than Joey Votto’s 140 wRC+, and Paul Goldschmidt's 146 wRC+. Another sabermetric Suarez excels in is OPS+, which he leads the league in with 161. Suarez also barrels up the ball a good amount of times, as he has a 50.9 hard hit%. On the defensive side, he’s held his own. In comparison, Nolan Arenado has -1 DRS, 4 UZR, and 0 defensive WAR. This season, Suarez has -1 DRS, -2.9 UZR, and 0 defensive WAR.
Reds’ third baseman Eugenio Suarez has done more than enough than prove that he deserves some MVP votes. He’s currently batting better than stars like Freddie Freeman, and Joey Votto. If Suarez continues to produce at the rate he has so far this season, Suarez could be a sleeper for The NL MVP award.