Prediction #5 - Nolan Arenado wins National League Most Valuable Player
After an offseason full of questions about why he would opt into the rest of his contract with the Cardinals, Arenado already seems like a man on a mission during the WBC, readying himself for an MVP campaign in 2023.
Arenado finished third in MVP voting in 2022, slashing .293/.358/.533 with 30 HR and 103 RBI while playing Gold Glove defense at third base once again. Now with even more firepower in the Cardinals lineup this year, I expect his number to go up even more as he leads the team to a division title and in the conversation with the best teams in the NL. He will come into the season with so many chips on his shoulder, and that will play in his favor.
For all of the star talent on this Cardinals club, this is the year that Arenado takes the reigns as the club's leader, and helps usher in this next era of Cardinals baseball. Arenado will be the guy in the clubhouse that guys like Walker, Winn, and other young players who are coming up will look to for leadership and guidance in the mid-2020s.
He'll have stiff competition this year, with guys like Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Trea Turner, Fernando Tatis Jr., Pete Alonso, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and reigning MVP Goldschmidt all fighting for that crown. But I believe this is Arenado's year.