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NL MVP: How D-backs’ Goldschmidt stacks up against other two finalists

Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins and Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

Those are the three finalists for the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) National League MVP Award and one of them will take home the hardware on Thursday.

It’s not a simple choice because there are reasons why all three could win and it goes beyond individual statistics. Some believe MVP winners should only come from players on playoff teams. But others believe great individual seasons need proper recognition, regardless of how his team performs. Voting for the NL and AL MVP takes place before the postseason begins each year, thus making it a regular season award.

Here are the reasons why Goldschmidt, Stanton or Votto could win MVP.

Paul Goldschmidt

• Goldschmidt finished the season ranked inside the top six among NL players in runs (third, 117), RBI (fourth, 120), walks (fourth, 94), extra-base hits (fourth, 73), on-base percentage (.404, fifth), on-base-plus-slugging-percentage (.967, third) go-ahead RBI (tied for fifth, 29) and total bases (sixth, 314).

• He set career highs in home runs (36), runs, extra-base hits, at-bats to home run ratio (15.50) and at-bats to RBI ratio (4.65)

• The D-backs’ first baseman hit .365 with runners in scoring position, the seventh-best average in the majors in that situation.

• Goldschmidt did not just hit for power and drive in runs — he also stole 18 bases, 16 more than Stanton and 13 more than Votto.

• He already took home his third NL Silver Slugger Award for first baseman (beating out Votto) and his third Rawlings Gold Glove Award.

• Baseball America rated Goldschmidt as the best defensive first baseman and best baserunner in the NL.

Giancarlo Stanton

• Stanton’s 7.6 WAR was tops among all NL position players.

• The Marlins’ right-fielder led the majors in home runs (59) and RBI (132).

• Stanton’s 59 home runs were the most in the Majors since Barry Bonds hit 73 and Sammy Sosa hit 64 in 2001.

• Stanton hit 20 more home runs than the next closest NL player, Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger (39). That difference was the largest gap between first and second in NL history.

• He homered 23 times in a 35-game stretch from early July to the middle of August, tying a major league record for a calendar month’s first 15 days.

• Stanton’s 28 multi-homer games were the most in the majors since 2010.

Joey Votto

• Votto was the only major-league player to at least 26 home runs, drive in at least 100 runs and have a slash line of at least .300/.400/.500.

• The Reds’ first-baseman reached base 321 times, the most in the majors.

• The Canadian topped all first baseman with 11 defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs.

• Votto’s .454 on-base percentage was the best in the majors, and his 1.032 on-base-plus-slugging percentage was first in the NL.

• Votto finished with at least 179 hits, 134 walks, 36 HR and fewer than 83 strikeouts, joining Babe Ruth (four times) and Ted Williams (three times) as one of three players to produce this combination.

• Babe Ruth (35 in 1930) and Lou Gehrig (33 in 1936) are the only other players age 33 or older to have at least 175 hits, 130 walks and a .450 on-base percentage. Votto is 34.

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