Nelson Cruz is putting together an MVP season for the Seattle Mariners are baseball analysts are starting to take notice. Entering play on Sunday (Aug. 20), Cruz had 31 home runs, 100 RBIs, and a .295 batting average to his credit. He has almost single-handedly carried the Mariners since the All-Star break and has thrust the team right into the American League Wild Card race.

The 100 RBIs by Cruz currently leads all of Major League Baseball, marking just the third time in his 13-year career he has eclipsed that number. Cruz also has an OPS of .948 that would become his best number since he posted a .950 mark for the Texas Rangers in 2010.

These numbers should easily combine to land Cruz a Silver Slugger Award from the designated hitter position.

Could Cruz really win an MVP Award in 2017?

The numbers that Nelson Cruz is putting up are absolutely amazing and he is going to finish the 2017 MLB season as one of the top five players on offense in the league. He could also get named the MVP of the Seattle Mariners for this season when the team decides upon its own awards. With all that being said, Cruz likely won’t finish with a better season than second baseman Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros or outfielder Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.

Cruz doesn’t play defense, making it extremely difficult to make an argument that he deserves an MVP Award more than great defensive players like Trout and Altuve.

Both players are also matching what Cruz is doing at the plate, with Altuve getting an additional bump in support due to how well the Astros have played this season. It all works against Cruz when it comes to winning the award, but he is certainly going to get some votes.

Can Seattle Mariners help Cruz in MVP race?

While the Seattle Mariners did take a hit in the Wild Card standings on Sunday, continued success from the team could certainly help Nelson Cruz.

The more games that the Mariners win will equate to more baseball fans and MLB analysts seeing what Cruz is doing for the team. He is putting up numbers that could go down as one of the best offensive seasons the Mariners have seen in a number of years, which is tough to do in the city that hosted the best designated hitter of all time.

Just getting mentioned in the MVP race will have to be good enough for Cruz, especially as he tries to convince Mariners manager Scott Servais that he should get to play right field in upcoming interleague games. That’s the problem with being a designated hitter, as he is likely to see fewer at-bats down the stretch than Jose Altuve and Mike Trout for their respective teams. Making it to the World Series would be preferred to Nelson Cruz, the Seattle Mariners, and Mariners fans anyway.