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ESPN: D-backs’ Goldschmidt has edge on Nats’ Harper in NL MVP race

Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt, left, scores the winning run as Philadelphia Phillies' Andrew Knapp, right, waits for a late throw during the 11th inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 25, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Team success has helped.

In the midst of their best start in franchise history and currently sitting second in the National League, the Arizona Diamondbacks are earning Paul Goldschmidt early MVP recognition he didn’t receive in past seasons.

And according to ESPN’s Mark Simon, Goldschmidt is the midseason frontrunner to win the NL MVP honor as his D-backs sit four days out from the All-Star break.

Goldschmidt hit a little skid the past two weeks, bringing his numbers down. But he’s still a front-runner, which is a testament to how good his stats were to begin with.

Goldschmidt is hitting .315 with 19 home runs. He has a legitimate shot of besting his career-high 36 home runs from 2015. He excels in the field, boasting an uncanny range that allows him to play farther off first base than anyone else. The only thing that could deter Goldschmidt from being top three by season’s end is injury (which he has experienced before), or an abundance of intentional walks that prevent him from doing major damage. He shares the major league lead in that stat with the next guy on our list.

Bryce Harper is in close pursuit of Goldschmidt in Simon’s list of NL MVP candidates, and his Nationals sit 1.5 games off the D-backs in the standings.

As of Thursday afternoon, Goldschmidt ranked second in MLB with 66 RBI. That’s two ahead of Harper, who has one more home run and a better .324 average than Arizona’s first baseman.

Individually, Goldschmidt’s edge on Harper might come from his 72 runs scored to Harper’s 66, or perhaps from his 13 stolen bases to Harper’s two.

Otherwise, comparing their numbers comes out as nearly a wash.

That Arizona and Washington are neck and neck in the standings on top of it could make the Goldschmidt vs. Harper MVP race a hot topic to watch coming out of the All-Star break.

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