(CBS) As the Cubs have continued their strong play by moving to a season-high 20 games over .500 after completing a four-game sweep of the Braves on Sunday, first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been a consistent force in the middle of Chicago's resurgence.
The team's clubhouse leader, Rizzo is hitting .290 with 25 homers (sixth in NL), 76 RBIs (fifth), a .400 on-base percentage (fourth) and .938 OPS (fourth). And his continued stellar play now has him garnering some outside attention for the NL MVP award.
You can count CBSSports.com MLB insider Jon Heyman among those who supports Rizzo being a top candidate. Heyman believes Washington's Bryce Harper and Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt have had superior individual seasons, but if you value team wins to a large degree, Rizzo can be a dark-horse candidate.
"National League, it's a little more wide open," Heyman said. "Harper and Goldschmidt's teams aren't in (the playoffs) right now. They're both around .500. We'll see what happens to them. I do think that affects the voting, as it should, because it's Most Valuable Player. It's not best player. That's the way it's always been. There's been a long history and precedent for voting for a guy whose team is at least in contention or preferable wins (big). That being said, I think you've got Rizzo, you've got (Andrew) McCutchen. There's probably one or two others in the mix.
"It's hard to pick a winner probably among five or six guys. If I was voting today, I'd probably lean to Harper even though I downgrade significantly for the fact that the Nationals are a major disappointment. I do think Rizzo is a bona fide candidate, though, and could win."
Listen to Heyman's full interview below.
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