By Ryan French
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Paul Goldschmidt, a household name only in the greater Phoenix region, is a true anomaly in the baseball world. How can a Major League Baseball player slashing .299/.399/.532 for his career be left relatively unknown? East coast bias? Teammates overshadowing him? The answer: The Diamondbacks haven’t been relevant in a long time. As we will explore in this article, the only knock against Goldschmidt is his lack of publicity.
No player provides more value to his team than Goldschmidt. The only oasis in a deserted Arizona lineup for most of the past six seasons, he helped lead this team from below 70 wins in 2016 to winning the Nation League Wild Card in a blink of an eye. Since 2012, Goldschmidt ranks first in the NL in RBI, second in OPS, third in home runs, and sixth in stolen bases as a first baseman nonetheless. He’s racked up 31.2 WAR, fourth best in that span behind three other NL MVPs (Votto, McCutchen, and Posey). His stout leadership style and ability to generate five or more wins a year for his club every year begs for the attention he almost receives (second in MVP voting in 2013, 2015), but never actually does.
This is why 2017 is his year to finally bring Arizona its first MVP title. In a division dominated by the Dodgers, Goldy this year finished fourth in runs scored, third in RBI, fourth in weighted runs created, and eighth in stolen bases (he was two away from his third straight 20-20 season). Additionally, his elite defense and speed make him one of the game’s top five-tool players. When he doesn’t slug an extra base hit, he can walk and then steal second base.
He’s also tied for first in defensive runs saved among all MLB first basemen. The only difference between this year and the previous five? The Arizona Diamondbacks were the Wild Card champions and played meaningful baseball. The D-backs finally played in the national spotlight, and although they were swept by the team with the best record in the National League, Goldschmidt emerged in big-name sports media as a west coast star, right along with Arenado, Kershaw, and Trout. Ladies and gentlemen, your well-deserved 2017 National League MVP is Paul Goldschmidt.