2014 MLB Awards: Top 15 Early-Season NL MVP Candidates

Top 15 NL MVP Candidates

Giancarlo Stanton
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Contending for the prestigious MVP award in MLB is nothing short of impressive -- even if this list is about five months too early. I will be looking at the top MVP candidates from each league at the beginning of each month until it is announced following the regular season.

Right now, let's take a look at the top 15 National League MVP candidates after one month of regular season play.

15. Tim Hudson, San Francisco Giants

Tim Hudson
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15. Tim Hudson, San Francisco Giants

Tim Hudson
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The veteran Tim Hudson should be a candidate in the early-season MVP race because of his ability to keep opponents off the bases and the fact that he has a sub-2.00 ERA through a month and a half of play.

2014 Stats: 4-2, 1.99 ERA, 36 K, 0.74 WHIP in 54.1 innings

14. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals

Adam Wainwright
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14. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals

Adam Wainwright
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The St. Louis Cardinals will likely be back in the race for the World Series crown in 2014 and Adam Wainwright's pitching will likely carry them there once again. This guy is the epitome of an ace -- he's leading the NL in wins as well.

2014 Stats: 6-2, 2.02 ERA, 52 K, 0.93 WHIP in 58.0 innings

13. Dee Gordon, Los Angeles Dodgers

Dee Gordon
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13. Dee Gordon, Los Angeles Dodgers

Dee Gordon
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Gordon is on this list not because of his overwhelming power stats -- which he has none of -- but he's on here because of his ability to get on base and steal bases. He has 21 swipes this season and has only been caught three times. Pretty impressive.

2014 Stats: .338 AVG, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 19 Runs, 21 SB, .369 OBP

12. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins

Jose Fernandez
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12. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins

Jose Fernandez
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As one of the best young aces in MLB, Jose Fernandez has taken the league by storm and is currently making everyone root for him. He has a good head on his shoulders as well as a great arm.

2014 Stats: 4-1, 1.74 ERA, 65 K, 0.90 WHIP in 46.2 innings

11. Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves

Justin Upton
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11. Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves

Justin Upton
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Justin Upton has gotten off to a hot start in consecutive seasons, but he hopes to keep this one going -- like he was unable to do in 2013. His power numbers are incredible thus far and if he keeps it up, it would be hard not to vote him MVP.

2014 Stats: .303 AVG, 9 HR, 19 RBI, 21 Runs, 4 SB, .378 OBP

10. Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds

Johnny Cueto
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10. Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds

Johnny Cueto
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Johnny Cueto is the best pitcher in baseball right now and it's hard to argue that statement. The Reds' ace has silenced doubters who said he would fall off after a few games and has become a scary opponent to face for NL batters.

2014 Stats: 3-2, 1.31 ERA, 60 K, 0.73 WHIP in 55.0 innings

9. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves

Freddie Freeman
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9. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves

Freddie Freeman
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Freddie Freeman is easily one of the best first basemen in baseball today. The young slugger just signed a monster contract this offseason and he's making the 18-15 Braves look very, very smart.

2014 Stats: .307 AVG, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 18 Runs, .382 OBP

8. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

Yasiel Puig
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8. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

Yasiel Puig
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One year after the whole "Puigmania" madness began, the Dodgers' outfielder has remained a star. Not many people believed that he could repeat what he did in 2013, but he's making a pretty solid case that he can come close.

2014 Stats: .310 AVG, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 14 Runs, 4 SB, .403 OBP

7. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

Giancarlo Stanton
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7. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

Giancarlo Stanton
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Stanton is my early-season favorite to take home the crown, but that's only if the Marlins can stay hot and remain in first place in the NL East. It's too early to tell if Miami's start is a fluke, but Stanton's start is surely anything but that.

2014 Stats: .294 AVG, 11 HR, 40 RBI, 26 Runs, 3 SB, .385 OBP

6. Justin Morneau, Colorado Rockies

Justin Morneau
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6. Justin Morneau, Colorado Rockies

Justin Morneau
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Morneau hasn't had a very Morneau-like season since injuries started hampering his career in 2010. This could be the year he comes back with a vengeance and a new start in a great hitter's ballpark could be the fresh start he needed.

2014 Stats: .331 AVG, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 18 Runs, .350 OBP

5. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

Andrew McCutchen
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5. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

Andrew McCutchen
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It looks like Andrew McCutchen is a staple on this list every year. The Pirates' outfielder has been solid this season, but if Pittsburgh's record was a bit more impressive, he would find himself higher on this list. Everyone has to be pulling for this guy to win the MVP every year -- he did win it in 2013.

2014 Stats: .321 AVG, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 19 Runs, 4 SB, .431 OBP

4. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

Chase Utley
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4. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

Chase Utley
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It's been a while since Chase Utley was talked about in the MVP race. The Phillies have themselves one of the best second basemen in the league and he's getting better with age -- or so it seems.

2014 Stats: .325 AVG, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 17 Runs, .379 OBP

3. Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

Charlie Blackmon
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3. Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

Charlie Blackmon
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Who knew who Charlie Blackmon was before the season started? If you're anything like me, this guy caught you by surprise and has become a household name in the eyes of many baseball fans. Oh yeah, and he was a pretty good fantasy steal.

2014 Stats: .348 AVG, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 30 Runs, 8 SB, .385 OBP

2. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

Paul Goldschmidt
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2. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

Paul Goldschmidt
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Everyone is still waiting for the year in which Paul Goldschmidt takes home the MVP trophy, but he may have to wait at least one more. The young slugger has some incredible numbers, but his Diamondbacks have one of the worst records in baseball.

2014 Stats: .344 AVG, 7 HR, 23 RBI, 27 Runs, 3 SB, .384 OBP

1. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

Troy Tulowitzki
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1. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

Troy Tulowitzki
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You cannot argue with Troy Tulowitzki being No. 1 on this list. The Rockies' shortstop, like many Rockies players, has been killing it with his bat and he's the only player in MLB to have an average over .400 -- with a qualifying number of at-bats, of course.

2014 Stats: .407 AVG, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 34 Runs, .510 OBP

Connor Muldowney is the Content Associate for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at connor.muldowney@rantsports.com.

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