Underrated Players Who Can Win 2022 MLB MVP
Juan Soto. Mike Trout. Bryce Harper. Vlad Guerrero Jr. Shohei Ohtani. Those are the names you commonly hear as MVP candidates, but each year, there are other players who bring themselves into the fold. Below are four players who I see as 2022 MLB MVP candidates who are barely getting talked about compared to the guys listed above.
Luis Robert, Outfield, Chicago White Sox
The main reason this article was written in the first place, Robert has a skillset so promising, I’d be surprised if he never wins MVP during his major league career. Although we have only seen 124 games from him over his first two seasons, he has been exactly as advertised. Thus far, he has batted .294 with an .857 OPS, with a 162-game-average of 31 home runs and 26 stolen bases, and a 2020 Gold Glove Award on his resume as well. Already one of the best centerfielders in baseball, Robert is just 24 years old, and has so much room to grow his five-tool skillset. With the White Sox expected to be one of the best teams in the American League, I expect Robert to be their best overall player, so I would be shocked if he doesn’t receive, at minimum, a few MVP votes in 2022.
Bo Bichette, Shortstop, Toronto Blue Jays
This pick is less likely in my eyes, simply because it’s hard to see Bichette having a better season than his superstar teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr, but don’t underestimate what he can do. Last season, Bichette’s first full season in the big leagues, he lead the American League in hits with 191 while swatting 29 home runs, on his way to a twelfth-place finish in the AL MVP vote. Like Robert, Bichette is now 24, and if he makes any improvements at all, we could be seeing a 200-hit, 35-home run season out of him, which would place him amongst the best hitters in the league. Although he likely will not be the best player on his team this season, don’t allow that to keep in underrated any longer.
Tyler O’Neill, Outfield, St. Louis Cardinals
O’Neill broke out last season as one of the best outfielders in baseball, and turning 27 during this season is the perfect time for him to be at his very best. Last season, O’Neill hit 34 home runs, stole 15 bases, hit .286, and won his second-consecutive NL Gold Glove Award. Along with Harrison Bader and Dylan Carlson, O’Neill is a part of potentially the best outfield in baseball this year. Like Robert, O’Neill is a true five-tool player who can contribute to the Cardinals in any way on any given night. If St. Louis can ride their momentum from the second half of the 2021 season, don’t sleep on O’Neill for MVP, especially considering that Ronald Acuña Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. are missing time to start the year.
Ketel Marte, 2nd Base & Outfield, Arizona Diamondbacks
Ok, this pick is certainly unlikely considering how much the D-Backs are expected to struggle in 2022, but Marte has become extremely underrated because of this. Since 2019, Marte has the 11th highest OPS of any major leaguer, ahead of players such as Aaron Judge, Trea Turner, and Mookie Betts in that span. He doesn’t strike out, has good power, decent speed, and is a switch-hitter with positional versatility. If Marte wasn’t on Arizona he’d certainly receive more attention, and at 28 years old, he’s due for his best season yet. Although it may be tough for him to win the award on a struggling team, Marte will shine bright and be a prime candidate in the National League for a 2022 MLB MVP award.