After the first couple months of the season, few would have put Matt Olson as a serious MVP contender. Sure, he was hitting home runs, but the strikeouts were piling up and the rest of his numbers beyond the occasional dinger just weren't there. The Braves didn't really need him to be any more than that, but what Olson has done over the last few months is nothing short of extraordinary.
For the last three months, Olson has put up wRC+ of 159, 185, and 190 (so far) while totaling 26 homers over that span. His 43 homers have gotten all the headlines, but this is a guy who has been one of the best all-around hitters in the league for a big chunk of the season. The competition for National League MVP is likely to be fierce the rest of the way with another current Brave (more on him in a bit) and a former Brave being really strong contenders, but do not be surprised whatsoever if Olson ends up with a strong showing in the voting by season's end.
Unfortunately, Max Fried getting hurt and missing a large portion of the 2023 ended any hope that he could make a strong push for the NL Cy Young Award after two top 5 finishes in the last three years. However, Spencer Strider has risen to the occasion in 2023 and if he can finish the season strong over the next month plus, he has a real shot of taking home the award.
Strider has a few things going for him. For starters, his gaudy strikeout numbers are likely to garner a lot of press in the coming weeks as he has already put up 227 of them in 146.1 innings this year. Also, among the major candidates which include the Diamondbacks' Zac Gallen and the Phillies' Zack Wheeler, Strider plays on the best team. While that absolutely shouldn't matter when a guy has a clear case over the rest of the field, this year things are much more bunched up at the top with just 0.2 fWAR separating first and third place on the WAR leaderboard and that could end up being a tiebreaker for voters. It will take a strong finish to 2023 and bringing his ERA down a bit more, but make no mistake: Spencer Strider is very much in the hunt for the NL Cy Young this season.