There area few challengers, though.
Giancarlo Stanton is having a big year with the bat, having just socked homer No. 35.
However, on Baseball-Reference, he's only No. 3 in wins above average. He trails the Braves' Jason Heyward.
This is a good pause point for two issues.
The first is whether pitchers should get consideration for the MVP or not since they already have the Cy Young. I'm OK with that, since there is the Hank Aaron Award (as overlooked as it may be) for best hitter of the year. I still lean toward a hitter, if things become a push.
The other issue, as illustrated in the Miguel Cabrera vs. Mike Trout race in the AL last year, is whether team record should be a factor.
That gives a bump to Clayton, a bit of a ding to Stanton, and, if the Braves can nab a wild card, a definite dump to Heyward.
It also gives a bump to the No. 4 on the NL WAR list.
This is a man that St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz has been touting throughout the year for his defense — Cards shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Peralta has the second best oWAR of his career, and far and away the best dWAR, largely, but not entirely, due to the Cards' frequent use of defensive shifts. (His dWAR puts him within half a defensive WAR point of defensive whiz kid and Ozzie Smith impersonator Andrelton Simmons, even.)
Heyward is doing the same, at a position that, while not quite as important defensively as shortstop, is important enough, at right field.
As of today, the Cardinals have a two-game lead in the NL Central over the Brewers, while the Braves are 1.5 games out of the second wild card.
To me, at a minimum, that pushes Peralta into the middle of the discussion.