Best Player So Far for Each NL East Team
This article will be breaking down the best player for each NL East team so far in the 2021 season. Some of these are expected, while some of these might have been surprising. So far in 2021, we have seen many bright stars in the NL East.
Atlanta Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr.
Ronald Acuna Jr. has been one of the best players in Major League Baseball so far this year. He has easily been the best player on a talented Braves team. With 2020 MVP Freddie Freeman struggling, Acuna Jr. has stepped up and dominated.
The Braves have gotten off to a relatively slow start but that cannot be said for Acuna Jr. He is slashing .286/.389/.629/1.018 with 13 home runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 36 hits, 30 runs, 25 RBIs, 22 walks, 1 IBB, and 6 SB in 140 at bats over 39 games. Acuna Jr. provides an elite bat with the ability to bat for average and power.
He also has elite speed and an elite glove. Acuna Jr. is the true package of a ballplayer. My prediction is that Acuna Jr. will be considered the best Brave of 2021 and he may even give it a run for MVP.
Miami Marlins: Trevor Rogers
Trevor Rogers has been a pleasant surprise for Marlins fans. Rogers is a rookie who has had a fantastic start to his 2021 season. He struggled in 2020 in the limited time he pitched, but he came into the 2021 season on fire. Rogers won NL Rookie of the Month for April.
He also leads in many Marlins pitching stats. He leads the team in ERA by a wide margin, wins, Ks, BAA, WHIP, and second in IP. Alcantara, Dickerson, and Aguilar are all having strong seasons so far, but they have not dominated at the level Rogers has.
New York Mets: Jacob deGrom
Jacob deGrom is currently having one of the best primes of all time. Every single year deGrom keeps getting better and better. He is not only the best pitcher in the NL East, but the Major Leagues as a whole. This trend of course has continued into 2021 and there is no doubt that deGrom has been the best player for the Mets in 2021 so far. deGrom has been dealing with a few health issues but that should not affect deGrom long term.
His stats this year are 6 GS, 40 IP, 0.68 ERA, 3 W, 2 L, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 3 ER, 6 R, 7 BB, 65 SO, 0 HB, 560 ERA+, 1.02 FIP, 0.60 WHIP, 14.6 K/9, and 2.2 bWAR. deGrom has easily been the best pitcher this year when he has taken the mound. His NL Cy Young campaign currently has him as the frontrunner. When he returns everyone is expecting deGrom to dominate, his injuries have been lingering which means he has not been pitching at full strength.
I cannot wait to see what deGrom can do going forward. The Cy Young is not the only thing in deGrom’s sights. His offensive stats are 15 ABs, .467/.467/.533/1.000, 2 RBIs, 7 hits, 4 runs, 1 2B, and 4 SO. He could win a silver slugger this year. If he continues to pitch at the caliber deGrom is capable of, with his ability to be a good hitting pitcher he could even win MVP.
Philadelphia Phillies: Bryce Harper
Without a doubt star player, Bryce Harper has been the best player for the Phillies in this young season. Harper leads the team in AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, tied for first in SB, second in walks, and second in runs. Harper is certainly earning his big contract for the Phillies.
He is doing exactly what he is being paid to, which is to lead the Phillies and be their best player. Harper has been the face of the Phillies since he signed his massive contract. So far this year he has been the biggest contributor for the Phillies offense. If he can stay healthy he will be a leading player for the Phillies.
Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer
If I were to guess who would be the best player for the Nationals so far into the season I would have guessed Juan Soto, Trea Turner, or Max Scherzer. As expected Scherzer has continued to dominate for the Nats. It is a close call between Turner and Scherzer, but I gave the edge to Scherzer.
Scherzer is the only Nationals starting pitcher to be pitching at an all-star level this year. He leads the team in ERA, wins, Ks, WHIP, BAA, WHIP, GS, and he has a complete game this year. Watching Scherzer pitch is a gift. He continues to pitch at an elite level into his late 30s. He has no intention of slowing down and could potentially dominant for a few more years.