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Giancarlo Stanton close to the favorite for NL MVP

As the Marlins' record continues to improve, so does the MVP possibilities of Giancarlo Stanton. In this piece, we take a look at his 2014 season and examine his odds of being the next NL MVP.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past few seasons, as the Marlins have tried to rid themselves of an awful stench known as failure and disappointment, Giancarlo Stanton has stood as one of the team's lone bright spots. As the team has had their moments where they've been stuck in the NL East cellar, Stanton's offensive excellence  has been enough to help keep fans positive despite the monumental amount of issues.

Transitioning over to the current season, it appears that those aforementioned issues have fallen to the wayside. Even though playoff hopes still appear to be out of reach, it appears that the tides are starting to turn positive for the future of Miami. While there have been a lot of factors behind the team's recent turnaround, the focus still ultimately rests on the shoulders of Giancarlo Stanton, who appears to be having the best season of his young career.

The combination of the team's recent turnaround and Stanton's level of play has been enough to help warrant some NL MVP considerations. While Miami's current spot in the standings might be considered a hindrance, Marlins manager Mike Redmond recently spoke in support of his star outfielder's chances at the MVP. In that interview, Redmond's main argument stood by how Stanton was able to make a huge statement.

When it comes to making a statement, Stanton has been able to stand out as being one of the best offensive powerhouses in the game. As the Marlins continue to make their 180 turn into being a potential .500 ballclub, that amount of impact has been able to escalate in the minds of most fans, since his production has helped lead the team from the cellar to a level of respectability.

While Miami's improvements will probably help his case, it shouldn't allow people to look away from how he's been one of the league's best all-around performers.

Of course, when you examine Stanton's resume from the current season, his offensive production would be the first thing you look at. After coming off a rough season that was marred by injuries during 2013, Stanton has been able to bounce back to his previous role as an offensive juggernaut.

By examining Stanton from a statistical perspective, the first thing that stands out is his level of power. Entering Wednesday, he's currently tied with Chicago's Jose Abreu with a league high 31 home runs, while having an extremely solid .585 slugging percentage.

Even though that solid power stands as Stanton's most notable offensive asset, he's been able to quietly improve into a more consistent hitter. For example, Stanton has a career-best .393 OBP which is better than the likes of Mike Trout, Michael Brantley and Jose Altuve.

Another aspect of Stanton's game would be his work on the defensive end. As mentioned in that Miami Herald piece, the defensive metrics point in Stanton's favor as he ranks second to Atlanta's Jason Heyward among all right fielders in total range. While Stanton has made his fair share of defensive blunders, he's able to showcase an ability to stretch through the outfield to make the necessary play.

When you look at Stanton's potential candidacy for NL MVP (which Michael did earlier last week), he probably stands out as the best possibility out of offensive players. While Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki's WAR might higher than Stanton, the odds turn to the outfielder's favor since the Rockies are one of the worst teams in baseball. Furthermore, Tulowitzki is now out for the year with his hip injury, esentially deadening any chances of him coming from well behind the pack.

Besides Tulowitzki, Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw stands out as a perennial favorite because of his continued pitching dominance. Of course, it's tough to compare the MVP possibilities of the two players since Kershaw and Stanton perform two completely different roles for their given team. However, Kershaw might have an advantage over the Marlins outfielder because the Dodgers' current status as having the best record in baseball.

With all of that in mind, it shouldn't take away from how amazing Stanton has been for the Marlins this season. While that may be some uncertainty about his future with the team, fans should take a look at this season as perhaps the biggest bright spot in Stanton's great career with the Marlins.