The finalists for the National League MVP are all more than deserving of the award, but who, exactly, is the MOST Valuable player to his team and its success?
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
In the 2017 season, Joey Votto had yet another above-average season, adding to his already great career stats. It’s a shame that Votto has never had a chance to show us how good he really is in October or November, but there’s no denying that a majority of the Reds’ wins come because of this guy in one way or another.
Already a top-tier player in possession of a .313 career Batting Average and with a .428 career On Base Percentage, Votto outdid himself this year posting a .320 average and a .454 OBP. On top of that Joey put up a .578 Slugging Percentage and a 1.032 OPS (On-base plus slugging) which also top his career average in those categories. In 2017, he had 179 hits, 36 of which cleared the fence. He drove in 100 RBI and scored 106 runs. At the age of 33, Joey Votto played in all 162 games for the Reds this season, for the second time in his 11 year career. Votto’s numbers in 2017 are pretty similar to, if not a little better than, his stats in 2010, the year he won his first NL MVP award.
Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
At 29 years old and in the 7th year of an already promising career, Paul Goldschmidt had arguably his best season yet, and was a major contributor in bringing his team to the Postseason. Goldy has been a finalist for this award before, finishing twice in NL MVP voting in both 2013 and 2015. Like Votto, Paul is one of the best first basemen in the game today, and he is a huge key to his team’s success.
In 2017, Goldschmidt nearly cracked .300 with a .297 batting average. He finished the season with 166 hits, 36 of them were ding dongs tying his career high for homers in a single season. And when this guy hits them, they go far. Hence why he was walked nearly 100 times, 94 to be exact. His 166 hits on the season picked up 120 RBI, and Goldy himself scored 117 times. Paul’s OBP (.404), Slugging Percentage (.563), and OPS (.966) were all higher than his career averages in those respective categories. There’s no denying that without this man, the DBacks are not playing the Rockies in the NL Wild Card Game this year; and, most definitely would not have been playing the Dodgers in the NLDS. Is 2017 the year of MVP Goldy? Quite possibly.
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
Remember 2014 when my guy Kershaw absolutely forced it and went out and won the Cy Young AND NL MVP Awards? The runner-up that year was some guy named Stanton, I can’t recall if he was still Mike then or already Giancarlo, but he was definitely a monster, no matter what his name was. This year he looks to finish the only spot better than runner-up for this award.
In 2017, I don’t believe it was possible to miss this guy. Stanton led the league with 59 homers, blasting off moonshots in 36.42% of Marlins’ games this season. And out of the 59, not one of those homers wasn’t absolutely obliterated. It seemed like this guy was in a league of his own this year. Just nearly missing hitting a total of 60 on the year, if it wasn’t for another guy trying to win this award in the AL, fans would ALL RISE for Stanton to win this award without question. But 59 doesn’t seem as impressive when a rookie blasts 52. Nonetheless, I think Stanton’s 59 homer, 132 RBI, 123 runs scoring campaign in 2017 is enough to win him this award out of the remaining candidates. All three have each had tremendous seasons in their own ways, but Stanton’s had the most impact on his team’s success this season.
Bonus food for thought: I am absolutely stunned to see neither of the two Colorado Rockies in the final three. I thought BOTH had serious chances of winning this award but NEITHER of the two even made it to the final three. AND both of their seasons were pretty substantial to their team’s success, which was the NL Wild Card Game. Aside from Goldschmidt, the other two finalists didn’t even help their team clinch Postseason berth. This is disappointing and looks bad on the league. Both Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado could easily be walking away with this award, and do not even have a chance to do so.