The 2013 NL MVP award is quite an interesting choice for me. After announcing my other awards for the National League during the week, I felt that it was time to announce my Most Valuable Player for the Senior Circuit. There are plenty of worthy candidates in the National League: Andrew McCutchen, Paul Goldschmidt, and Clayton Kershaw, to name a few. They each have been super valuable to their teams, and I believe that each of them have been excellent in the National League. During the season, I have felt that Clayton Kershaw should win NL MVP, but taking another look at the numbers, I have had a change of heart. Sorry, Pirates and Dodgers fans, but I think Paul Goldschmidt is my National League MVP.
Now before you decide to go read Buster Olney's award ballot, or Ken Rosenthal's, I think you should at least listen to my argument for Goldschmidt. Playing on a mediocre team (the D-Backs finished exactly 81-81), Goldschmidt had better numbers this year than he did in his first two years COMBINED. He was the force of the Diamondbacks, and crushed a NL-leading 36 homers and drove in 125 RBI with an 18.2 RBI% (RBI/Total Team Runs). He lead the NL in slugging percentage (.551), on-base plus slugging percentage (.952), and total bases (332). His surge also played a big part in his 19 intentional walks (led the NL). Yes, pitchers decided that Goldschmidt was such a force that they decided just to not pitch to him. Only David Ortiz got intentionally walked more.
Comparing Andrew McCutchen to Paul Goldschmidt is definitely tough. McCutchen posted a very nice .317 average. He consistently hits for contact, and does a great job of doing so. Goldschmidt, known as a power hitter, hit .302, a mere fifteen points behind McCutchen. Goldschmidt shows more pop, and also did a very good job of getting on base via the base hits as well. The same holds true for on-base percentage. McCutchen, again a guy that gets on base a ton, registered a .404 OPB, while Goldschmidt, who is known for his power, registered a .401. Slugging percentage is where it really gets out of hand. McCutchen had a .508 SLG, a good number for himself, but that just could not compare to the .551 SLG of Goldschmidt. He's able to hang right with McCutchen on getting on base, but blows him out of the water in the power stats. McCutchen is an awesome player and I love watching him, but I think that Goldschmidt just had a better season. (Hat tip to fangraphs.com comparison graphs)
I loved watching Paul Goldschmidt play this season, and felt that his excellence in Arizona deserves plenty of credit. While Andrew McCutchen may win the MVP by the BBWAA, I really feel that Paul Goldschmidt had a more outstanding season than any other candidate for MVP in the National League. He was an unbelievable player to watch and follow, and I speculate that he should get the MVP for it. He continues to be a better player every season, as it will be very fun watching Paul Goldschmidt into his prime. Congratulations to Paul Goldschmidt on winning the Cover The Bases National League MVP award.