June is usually when fans, writers and even players start to drop the often taboo “MVP” label on top performing players. Reigning award winner Miguel Cabrera has been campaigned for since Opening Day because of his 2012 Triple Crown but he’s the only one who got the label to early in the year and for good reason. Exceptions aside, a few players are deserving of being involved in MVP talk but none more than the relatively unknown, emerging superstar in Arizona.
Paul Goldschmidt is a special breed of star unlike most others in any sports league, he’s a team first player and never one to talk about himself. Too often does a player want to be noticed for their own accomplishments and it’s refreshing to find one who will divert the conversation to the success of the team as a whole. Even during an interview on ESPN Radio’s “SVP and Russillo” his first words were, “Well, baseball is a team sport” when asked why he doesn’t like talking about himself. So while Goldschmidt may not like engaging in conversation about his own success, the rest of us revel in his mastery of National League pitching this season. He’s been consistent, he’s demonstrated immense power, he’s been sneakily speedy and most of all he’s been one hell of a clutch hitter for the Diamondbacks.
Though it depends on how you define clutch, the stats I’m going with are my own made-up metrics: home runs with runners on base and home runs in the seventh inning or later. Out of his 15 home runs, Goldschmidt has only hit two solo shots, he’s also hit two grand slams. He comes through in the clutch, hitting the ball over the fence with runners on. Out of those homers, five of which have come in the seventh inning or later. When the D-Backs need his bat the most, he comes through in the clutch, most recently on Friday night against the Giants, tacking one on in both categories. His three-run jack in the bottom of the eighth inning gave Arizona a 3-1 lead, which would eventually be the final score. These comparisons nearly equal Miguel Cabrera. Out of his 17 home runs, Miggy has four solo shots and four late-game dingers.
Despite his current third place spot in first baseman All-Star voting, Paul Goldschmidt leads the National League in RBI by eight, is tied for third in homers, fourth in runs scored, sixth in batting average and walks and tied for seventh in hits and doubles. He’s fifth in on base percentage, third in slugging, second in OPS and is tied for the highest Wins Above Replacement (WAR) at 3.7 with Carlos Gomez. I could continue to list how impressive his numbers and production are but like the man himself says, this is a team sport and I don’t need to talk more about individual performance. However I will end with this… Vote for Goldschmidt!
I love you all, except Hawk Harrelson…and this guy, who’s on every grounds crew’s hit list and will forever be referred to as the Gumpire.