First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been one of the biggest surprises for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season, emerging as perhaps the best player on the roster. He, along with pitcher Patrick Corbin, represented the team at the All-Star Game in July.
Goldschmidt, 25, is still leading the National League in RBI (89) entering Wednesday, but he is slipping in the NL MVP race, at least according to one blogger.
Baseball writer Matt Snyder of CBS Sports dubs Goldschmidt as “fading away” in the MVP race, even though he says all hope is not yet lost.
When the Diamondbacks were comfortably in first place and Goldschmidt was taking a line of .313/.395/ .557 with 23 doubles, 21 homers, 77 RBI and nine steals into the All-Star break, he was probably among the frontrunners. He still leads the NL in RBI, however, he’s hit just .233 since the break while the Diamondbacks have — with the obvious help of the Dodgers’ crazy hot run — seen a 4.5-game lead become a 5.5-game deficit. This has a way of burying MVP candidates, but there’s still plenty of time to turn it around. Goldy’s numbers on their own are worthy of consideration, after all, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make a serious run here.
Interestingly enough, a different writer from the same sports site pointed out last month that the first baseman’s second-half numbers haven’t matched up to his first-half stats over his career, even though he’s only three seasons deep. As of Wednesday morning, the team has played 17 games since the All-Star break; but Goldschmidt so far is following the pattern of his other seasons.
Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals are the front-runners in Snyder’s NL MVP watch.
Also worth noting is Snyder’s listing of former Diamondback Justin Upton (now on the Atlanta Braves) as a “dark horse” in the MVP race.
After a scorching hot start to the season, Upton faded rather quickly, going through a huge slump. He’s starting to heat up again, though, as he’s hitting .452 with four homers and 10 RBI in his last seven games (heading into Tuesday). The current line of .265/.356/.473 with 20 homers isn’t nearly good enough, but he can get insanely hot. Factor in that the Braves are well-positioned to have the best record in the National League by season’s end and he’s likely to be their best candidate — and you have your dark horse. Obviously Freddie Freeman could be a solid choice here as well, but we’re going with Upton based upon the power upside.