He’s come close in past years, but St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt finally collected an MVP trophy Thursday night when the baseball writers voted him the most valuable player of the National League.
In 2013, Goldschmidt finished in second place in a tight race with Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
Then, in 2015, Bryce Harper’s marvelous season with the Washington Nationals was too much to beat. He came in second place again. Goldschmidt finished third in 2017 behind Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Votto.
But, in his 12th MLB season, Goldschmidt has the hardware, earning 22 of the BBWAA’s first-place votes while receiving eight second-place votes for a total of 380 points.
San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado finished second with seven first-place votes, 13 second-place votes and seven third-place votes for 291 points. Goldschmidt’s teammate, Nolan Arenado, came in third with only one first-place vote.
Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Freddie Freeman (fourth place) and Mookie Betts (fifth place) rounded out the top five.
Goldschmidt’s 2022 season was the epitome of consistency — elite consistency at that. He essentially ran away from his competition at the start of the season and never looked back.
Goldschmidt hit .330/.414/.590 in the first half with an OPS of 1.004, cementing himself as an early favorite for the award. He belted 20 homers and 28 doubles and knocked in 70 runs in the first half on his way to his seventh All-Star Game bid.
Goldschmidt never slowed down. He’d finish the regular season with a .317 average (third in MLB), .981 OPS (third in MLB), 35 homers and 115 RBI (fourth in MLB) on his way to a postseason berth with the Cardinals.
Philadelphia Phillies pitching held Goldschmidt to 0-for-7 batting in the postseason.
Goldschmidt had a 7.8 WAR, just a notch below Arenado’s 7.9. Offensively, Goldschmidt bested Arenado in many categories.
Arenado, who won his 10th career Gold Glove at third base this year, finished his season at .293/.358/.533 with an .891 OPS, 30 homers, 103 RBI and 42 doubles over 148 games with the Cards.
Machado made his sixth All-Star Game appearance — his second with the Padres — and hit .298/.366/.531 with a .898 OPS, 32 home runs and 102 RBI.
He also played a major role in upsetting the Dodgers in the NLDS in October, hitting .357/.471/.643 with a 1.113 OPS during that four-game series with a homer and two RBI.
It was quite a season for the Cardinals, who also watched legend Albert Pujols play his final year in MLB back where it all started in St. Louis. Pujols broke into the illustrious 700 home run club, finishing his career with 703. He also passed Babe Ruth for the second-most RBIs in MLB history with 2,218.
The Cardinals have ushered out a three-time league MVP in Pujols, but they’ll begin the 2023 season with a new MVP.