Over the last few years, it's been stressed by the MLB experts and the BWAA that a team's success during the season plays into who gets nominated for the MVP award in both leagues. The BWAA has done a decent job sticking to those guidelines until now. Here's why Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, got cheated of an MVP award yet again after losing out to Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
First, how is it that only one player from a playoff team in all the National League became a finalist for the NL MVP award? Sure, Giancarlo Stanton nearly hit 60 home runs, but he played on a team that finished with 77 wins and were 20 games back of the division champion Washington Nationals. Sure, Joey Votto put up a similar season to his 2010 NL MVP campaign, but he played for a Reds team that won 68 games and finished 24 games behind the division champion Cubs.
Paul Goldschmidt might have had a rough September, but a .297 batting average this season plus playing in the postseason should've made him the winner, hands down. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies put up better seasons than Goldschmidt and also appeared in the postseason, yet they got zero notice for their achievements. If you look at the last five MVP winners in the National League, only one player missed the postseason and that was Bryce Harper in 2015. That was also the last time Goldschmidt was a finalist for MVP before 2017.
2013 & 2015 were excuses
Goldschmidt had a career year for the Diamondbacks in 2013, hitting .300 with 36 home runs and 125 RBI, but lost to Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen. To be fair, McCutchen led the Pirates to their first postseason berth in 21 years and because postseason play was a factor, McCutchen was the worthy candidate even though he only hit 21 home runs and drove in 84. The only category he beat Goldschmidt in was batting average at .317.
Goldschmidt bounced back from a season-ending injury in 2014 by putting up almost better numbers in 2015, hitting .321 with 33 home runs and 110 RBI. Again, though, the Diamondbacks missed the playoffs but so did the Nationals and Reds. The NL didn't have a candidate on a postseason team for the award that year and that's what arguably set up Bryce Harper to win the trophy unanimously. Sure he beat Goldschmidt in the home run department with 42 and hit .330 to Goldschmidt's .321, but the Nationals had a worse record in 2015 than 2014 and the Diamondbacks had the best win-loss improvement from the year before.
What this means
Sadly, with Goldschmidt being 30 years old, chances are slim he'll win an MVP award now. Players decline the older they get and the way things went for Goldschmidt in September, even though he was battling through a bum elbow, the signs are there that as he continues to play, he'll decline a little more every year.
We also know the BWAA is screwed up because you can play on a postseason team but if your team isn't a big market on the west coast like the San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Dodgers, good luck getting recognition on the national stage. If Luis Gonzalez couldn't win the MVP award in 2001, what are the chances Goldschmidt can do it?