The 2022 season is officially halfway in the books for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers played their 81st game on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies and hit the halfway mark with 52 wins.
While some fans have been disappointed in the team thus far, the Dodgers have the best record in the National League and have one of the best records in franchise history at the halfway point. They are doing just fine.
Behind the Dodgers’ success this season is some strong individual performances. Some of these performances we expected, while others came out of nowhere and are shocking the league. While there is a lot of baseball left to play, these strong performances have put some Dodgers in award contention at the halfway point of the season.
Here are the Dodgers in contention for an award to monitor in the second half:
3. Mookie Betts – MVP
Mookie Betts started the season off slow, but he has really picked up steam and is putting together MVP numbers. Despite missing 17 games, Betts currently ranks fifth among National League hitters in fWAR, fifth in home runs, third in runs scored and fourth in wRC+.
Betts is going to have to stay healthy if he wants any chance of winning the award, but he definitely is in the conversation. He is the best player on the best team in the league and is heating up. If he continues his current trajectory, his second half will be even better than the first.
That being said, Betts’ chances of winning the MVP doesn’t just depend on his numbers, but the numbers of the other players in the hunt. The four players ahead of Betts in fWAR all have a seat at the table in the MVP discussion.
Paul Goldschmidt: Undoubtedly the first-half MVP. Goldy leads the NL in fWAR and wRC+ with 19 home runs and 65 RBI thus far this season. While the Cardinals are not leading their division, they are a playoff team, which helps.
Manny Machado: Manny Machado started off the season red-hot and has cooled down a bit in recent weeks, as have the Padres. Mookie’s offensive numbers are virtually identical and team success could favor Betts in the end.
Nolan Arenado: Two Cardinals players are in the MVP hunt, as Arenado has combined elite defense with great hitting thus far this season. He is fourth in the NL in wRC+ and will naturally get less buzz than Mookie as the second-best MVP candidate on the Cardinals.
Dansby Swanson: The former first-overall pick has really heated up as the summer months have rolled around. While Swanson has undeniably been great, his offensive numbers are a tad below the others in contention, and with voters favoring offense over defense, that will hurt him.
It is also important to note that if Betts played 80 games this season, at his current pace, he would currently have a 4.55 fWAR, which would top these four candidates. As it stands right now, Goldschmidt is the obvious front-runner with Betts, Machado and Arenado all splitting hairs for second.