USA TODAY Sports
The race for National League MVP is wide open and Arizona Diamondbacks’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is putting together a pretty good case to win it.
Goldschmidt isn’t playing for a ‘winner’–the Diamondbacks sit just two games over .500 in the NL West and are six games out of the final Wild Card spot. Considering the way the writers vote, it could make him a longshot to win the award.
And that’s really too bad considering what Goldschmidt has done for Arizona.
The slugger is the biggest reason why Arizona is still hanging in the playoff race–with a deserved tip of the cap to starter Patrick Corbin (3.4 fWAR). Goldschmidt’s .399 wOBA is good for fourth in the NL, and along with his 89 wRC, his individual production is unmatched by anyone playing for the Diamondbacks.
Without him, you’re looking at a much worse team that might as well be planning vacations with their families come the fall.
Goldschmidt’s patience at the plate has made him a much better hitter in his second full MLB season. He’s below the league average in swings out of the zone, and on cuts at pitches considered strikes, he’s making contact 85% of the time. Furthermore, his 2.8% infield pop-up rate is a continuation of his effectiveness at the plate.
Defensively, Goldschmidt is challenged only by Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers among NL first baseman. He’s saved 10 runs, has great range, and is virtually mistake-free.
What Goldschmidt provides Arizona is the definition of valuable.
At this point, I’m sure you’ve already had some big names running through your head.
Joey Votto is having another dominant year playing for the (as of now) playoff-bound Cincinnati Reds. Let’s not forget the Reds also have Shin-Soo Choo, Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey.
A long shot as a pitcher, Clayton Kershaw has been lights out for the Dodgers rivaled only by Matt Harvey of the New York Mets. Kershaw leads all starters with an incredible 1.88 ERA (2.44 FIP), yet his 3.11 SIERA pits him a few notches down compared to the rest of the league. Not to take anything away from Kersh, but his performance this season might be a tad deceiving.
And what about Yadier Molina? I’ve been on his side for a while and there is a solid argument for him. Fine, but with Matt Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Carlos Beltran (to name a few), the Saint Louis Cardinals might not be much worse without him. Yes, the current slide could be the result of Molina being on the DL, but that might be attributed more to pitchers being forced to work with catchers they’ve barely seen.
The stigma attached to an MVP winner has left out many worthy players through the years. It’s logical to declare a player who is part of a playoff team more valuable than one who plays for a ‘loser’, but that doesn’t make it infallible.
Goldschmidt still has over a month to drive his MVP case home but his chances hinge on the Diamondbacks ability to work their way into October baseball.
The post Paul Goldschmidt’s Case for NL MVP appeared first on Bohemian Baseball.