The vast success endured by Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado has been slightly tainted by their “struggle” to win an MVP award. As dominant as each is, it’s only a matter of time before the trophy is hoisted by one of them. Perhaps 2017 is the year.
We are witnessing yet another season in which Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are making baseball look easy. The two National League sluggers have made the short list as yearly MVP candidates, and they are at it again. Their consistency is profound and their dominance is worthy of the recognition. However, despite their dominance, neither has earned the top individual honor that is the league MVP.
Both players have come close, but someone always seems to act as the one-upper. Perhaps that will change this season. Goldschmidt and Arenado have each put forth encouraging campaigns thus far. Arenado has been smooth as usual in both the field and at the plate. Goldschmidt has gone absolutely bonkers at the plate since the season’s start.
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Both players are outstanding every year, but what makes this season any different from past seasons? Primarily, each is playing for a winning team.
Paul Goldschmidt’s offensive prowess is infinite. You’ll see him atop the National League leaderboard in every offensive stat. Goldschmidt is slashing .335/.448/.620 with 18 home runs, 64 RBI, and an OPS of 1.068. As you’d imagine, he ranks number one in RBI, OBP, and OPS in the NL. Goldschmidt also ranks 6th in hits, 9th in home runs, 4th in walks, and 4th in batting average. The Diamondback first baseman also leads the NL in WAR at 3.93.
The list goes on and on with Goldschmidt. It doesn’t take but a few stats to get the point across. What is important for Paul Goldschmidt, and subsequently important for his MVP aspirations, is the fact that his team is winning.
After an unexpectedly pathetic 2016 season from the D’Backs, the team has unexpectedly dominated in 2017. The Arizona Diamondbacks are 46-27 this season, only 1.5 games off the first place Los Angeles Dodgers. Of course, Paul Goldschmidt was outstanding in 2016, however, his success has been front and center for a winning ball club in 2017. More often than not, the winning edge to an MVP award is productivity for a winning team.
Goldschmidt has sniffed the award on multiple occasions. He finished second in MVP voting in both 2013 and 2015. He is an annual top 10 finisher. Heck, if there was a five-year MVP award Goldschmidt would have run away with it. We’ll see if he can finally reel in the honor this season. He is certainly the frontrunner as of today.
Nolan Arendo’s case for MVP
Not to be outdone, Nolan Arenado has also put together a great season. As their can only be one frontrunner, Arenado does have some work to do if he wants to catch Paul Goldschmidt.
The all-star 3rd baseman is slashing .301/.352/.575 with 15 hom runs and 59 RBI. Arenado ranks 3rd in the National League in RBI, 8th in slugging, and 1st in doubles. Thanks to his flawless defense, Arenado ranks 4th in the NL in WAR at 3.19.
Like Goldschmidt, the stats go forever for Arenado. Also like Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado finally knows what is feels like to play for a winning team. Arenado’s Colorado Rockies are tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks, equally 1.5 games behind first place in the NL West. Arenado is benefiting individually from his team’s success.
Nolan Arenado goes toe to toe with any great MLB player, but his kicker is his all-around play. He is known as one of the premier third baseman in baseball. In terms of pure ability, Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado would be considered the two most talented corner infielders in MLB.
Arenado has the bat, he has the glove, and he has the help around him in the Rockies’ lineup. Now Arenado has a winning team. He has flirted with the MVP award a few times. It’s hard to believe back-to-back years (2015-2016) of 130+ RBI and 40+ home runs didn’t get him any closer than 5th in NL MVP voting, but I digress. 2017 is a new year and Nolan Arenado certainly has the look of a potential MVP. Given the competition, he still needs to heat up some to be in serious consideration.
Over half of the season remains to play out for Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. A lot can happen over that span. We hope they stay healthy, and we hope their teams keep winning (unless you’re a Dodgers fan).
There is stiff competition in the National League for MVP. Strangely, aside from Joey Votto, most of the competition lies within three teams. Three Washington Nationals are making a case–Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Daniel Murphy. Arenado’s teammate, Charlie Blackmon, is likely making a better MVP case than Arenado to this point. And Goldschmidt’s teammate, Jake Lamb, has also impressed this season. Of course we have to keep an eye on a couple of Chicago Cubs as well, in the event that the defending champs get hot.