Harper vs. Cespedes: Who will win the NL MVP?

Two outfielders from the same division are vying to be crowned the 2015 National League MVP.

Bryce Harper put up record numbers for the underachieving Washington Nationals, and Yoenis Cespedes has performed at the top of his games for the surprising New York Mets.

One thing is certain: One of them should win.

And, if either Harper or Cespedes are named the NL MVP, then they will be the first NL East player to do so since Jimmy Rollins in 2007.

So, who’s it going to be?

Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals: .338 BA, 40 HR

Courtesy of USA Today Images

As of Sept. 16, the 22 year-old phenom is leading the NL in home runs, batting average, runs scored, OBP, slugging percentage and WAR. That’s right, Harper is leading the entire National League in all six of the top batting categories.

In the midst of a very dissapointing 2015 season for the Washington Nationals, Harper has been a consistent bright spot. Harper has already played in 137 games in 2015, and needs just three more games played to break his previous record of 139 games. He has, without a doubt, carried the injury-plagued Nationals and is the sole reason why they still have, albeit, a slight chance to make the playoffs with two weeks remaining.

Harper’s defense also has been outstanding — the best of his career. According to Fangraphs, Harper has saved the third most runs above average of any NL right fielder. He also has eight assists from the outfield — an above average number and one that would be even higher if runners didn’t know they would be hosed.

The young powerhouse has stayed healthy, consistent, productive and has been both an offensive and defensive stud in 2015. And, he’s doing all this despite playing on a ridiculously under-performing squad. Most skeptics say that an MVP candidate must be on a playoff team, but what Harper has done this year should make him the top NL MVP candidate.

Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets: .294 BA, 35 HR

Yoenis Cespedes

How can you argue against the savior of the 2015 New York Mets? Since being acquired from the Detroit Tigers, Cespedes has almost single-handedly soared the Mets into first place in the NL East.

New York was relying on the slumping John Mayberry Jr. and Eric Campbell prior to the All Star break, and it was the worse offensive team in the NL East. Since August 1, the Mets have been the best offensive team in the NL East, and that is surely no coincidence.

Cespedes isn’t just churning out MVP numbers, he is producing historic numbers. The center fielder hit 18 home runs in the first half of the 2015 season with the Tigers, and he has already hit 17 with the Mets in the second half. Is that impressive? Well according to MLB historian David Vincent, only five other players in MLB history have ever hit 17 home runs, or more, for two different teams in the same season. Some of those player you may have heard of, like Mark McGwire, Alfonso Soriano and Manny Ramirez.

If it wasn’t for Harper’s extreme dominance in six of the main offensive categories, Cespedes would be the definitive favorite to win the NL MVP. The one advantage he has over Harper is that he has had a direct impact on the historic season for the Mets are undergoing as they will win the NL East for the first time since 2006.

So who will it be?

As impressive and record breaking as Cespedes has been, the NL MVP has to be Bryce Harper.

He is flat-out dominating National League pitching and has single handily kept the sinking ship that is the Nationals, afloat. The ultimate indicator for Harper winning the NL MVP is that he is number one in six offensive categories in the National League.

Ladies and gentleman, Bryce Harper will be your 2015 National League MVP.