Best Player So Far for Each NL Central Team
This article will be breaking down the best player for each NL Central 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 Central.
Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant
In a contract year, Kris Bryant has gotten off to a roaring start to 2021 for the Cubs. He leads the team in OPS, average, OBP, SLG, hits, 2B, runs, tied for first in HR, and tied for first in RBIs. Bryant is capable of playing third base and outfield.
His ability to also play in the outfield adds a lot of value. Bryant had a lackluster 2020 season and has been involved in trade talks. The future of Bryant is uncertain, but he is adding trade value along with value for himself regarding free agency. Depending on whether the Cubs are competing or not will determine whether or not Bryant gets traded at the deadline.
Cincinnati Reds: Jesse Winker
Jesse Winker has been an under-the-radar good player for a few years now. Winker posted an OPS of .932 in 2020. So far in 2021, he has an OPS of .1.080. Winker has been one of the best players in all of the MLB so far this year.
He leads the Reds in average, HR, runs, OBP, SLG, and OPS. I would not have guessed that Winker would be the best player on the Reds at this point for the Reds. He has been a huge player for them, and Reds fans are ecstatic to have a potentially elite player with Jesse Winker.
Milwaukee Brewers: Brandon Woodruff
Easily the best player for the Brewers at this point in the season is star pitcher Brandon Woodruff. He is the only pitcher in the NL Central to be the best player for their team in 2021 so far. The Brewers’ ace has had an unreal start to his season.
So far into 2021, he has an ERA of 1.41. He leads the team in ERA, WHIP, BAA, IP, and is tied for first in GS. His ERA is second in the MLB behind only Jacob deGrom. Woodruff has been incredibly dominant. He has done his job this year, which is to prevent runs. He has gone out there every night and given the Brewers a chance to win. Woodruff is an NL Cy Young candidate so far.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Bryan Reynolds
This young player could be a future for the Pirates. Bryan Reynolds is having a strong 2021. He has been the best player on a rebuilding Pirates team. There is not much to look forward to for the Pirates and their fans, but Bryan Reynolds is one of those few things.
He leads the team in SLG, OPS, runs, walks, 2B, tied for first in RBI, and is tied for first in HR. It was a close call for me between Reynolds and Adam Frazier, but I gave Reynolds the edge for his power. Reynolds is a key to the future success of the Pirates.
St. Louis Cardinals: Nolan Arenado
Is there anyone that would have been surprised to find out Nolan Arenado would be the best Cardinal through late May for the 2021 season? Arenado has gotten comfortable in his new home in St. Louis. He has gotten off to a great start with his new team and as expected has become a fan favorite.
Like the other guys on this list, he leads his team in many categories. Arenado leads the Cardinals in average, HR, RBI, SLG, OPS, and 2B. He also provides his elite defense at third base. Fans of NL Central teams will have to get used to having Nolan Arenado in the division.