Most Valuable or Most Popular?
There are 750 players in Major League Baseball who are consistently playing day in and day out. They grind for 162 games every year giving their all and doing whatever possible to help their team make it to the top. However, only one player for each league can be named the best. This is what all players strive for and what each and every one of them hope to be before the season starts.
This year was a very historic year. Numerous different records were broken by many different players. And this year, three players in the National League are truly in the running for Most Valuable Player. Giancarlo Stanton, Paul Goldschmidt, and Nolan Arenado have all made themselves household names in the game of baseball. They have each been very consistent throughout the year and have been so for the past few. Out of the three picks, I believe Nolan Arenado should be titled Most Valuable Player because he helped the Rockies secure a spot in the playoffs this year, he’s most likely up for winning his 4th straight Gold Glove award for his incredible defense as third basemen and his amazing commitment on and off the feild, not only in one position but in two with his defense as third basemen and his offense as a hitter as well.
Giancarlo Stanton, the right fielder for the Miami Marlins, had one of the best offensive years in the past few decades when it comes to power hitters. He knocked a total of 59 home runs this year, the most in a season since Barry Bonds broke the single-season homerun record in 2001 with 73 home runs. This along with collecting 132 RBIs is a tremendous accomplishment. His final stat line of the season reads like this: .281 batting average, 59 home runs, 132 RBIs, and a .376 on base percentage. Batting average is the number of hits a player has divided by the number of official at-bats; the higher the number, the better the hitter. RBI stands for runs batted in, which means that it’s the total number of runs the player is responsible for scoring off of a hit. On-base percentage is the number of times a player gets on base divided by the total number of plate appearances.
These are are very good statistics when it comes to the Major Leagues because it is considered “Hall of Fame worthy” to have a batting average of .295 or higher and so on. Mark Simon’s ESPN article “Awards Watch: Is Giancarlo Stanton the Favorite for NL MVP?” argues that “Stanton has barreled through everyone in his path with this ridiculous tear. His 18 home runs in August are tied for the second most in a calendar month in major league history. Since July 5, Stanton has 30 home runs. Nelson Cruz ranks second with 17. Stanton had a slash line of .330/.434/.881 in that span.” Stanton was definitely in a league of his own in the second half of the season. But will it be enough to secure him his first MVP? The Marlins were unable to make the playoffs which should definitely affect Stanton’s chance of winning MVP because he clearly did not do enough to help his team win.
Paul Goldschmidt, the first baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks, had a season unique to any other first baseman in history. For the third time in his career he hit at least 30 homeruns and had at least 100 RBIs, the first time it had been done by a first baseman in Diamondbacks history. He finished the year with a .297 batting average, 36 homeruns, 120 RBIs, and a .404 on base percentage. These stats are all unheard of for a first baseman. The first baseman position is typically only supposed to hit for power, yet Goldschmidt also hit for a high batting average and had a high on base percentage.
With 197 appearances on the plate and expecting to finish the season with 36 homeruns and 40 stolen bases; which within the last 100 years there’s only been “43 30-steal season by a first baseman” according to Xavier Alatorre, he is on the road to making a name for himself as being one of the bests. He has already made history, broke records and is on a one way track to a rising star. Goldschmidt has already marked himself as a MVP according to an article by Scott Bordow of azcentral news paper “Paul Goldschmidt having MVP-type Season for Diamondbacks” who says “Goldschmidt is having an MVP-type season.
He ranks in the top 10 in the National League in every significant offensive category except triples. He’s fifth in batting average, second in on-base percentage, seventh in slugging percentage, fifth in OPS, fourth in homers, third in walks, third in runs scored, etc.” With these stats alone, Goldschmidt is extremely capable of taking home the trophy if not for two other players having very similar years.
The Colorado Rockies are no longer rebuilding their team and can now start focusing on making it back to the World Series. This is in part because of Nolan Arenado. The third baseman, who has had yet another incredible year at the plate and in the field. He is most likely going to win his 4th straight Gold Glove for his defense and another Silver Slugger for his hitting.
He’s growing in popularity and is starting to catch the eye of people for his outstanding performance as a third baseman and hitter, who continues to shock the sports community and break records. He finished the season with a .309 batting average, 37 homeruns, 130 RBIs, and a .373 on base percentage. This is something special because he almost led the league in RBIs despite having 22 less home runs. According to Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci’s article “2017 Major League Baseball Awards: Nolan Arenado, Jose Altuve are your MVPs” the race will be quite close but Arenado should come out on top. In the article Tom Verducci states
Arenado gets the edge because he was much better in September as each team tried to nail down a playoff spot (by OPS, .975-.663), is one of the game’s top defensive infielders, and as good as Goldschmidt was in the clutch, Arenado was even better. He hit .388 with RISP, second only to Daniel Murphy, with an MLB-best 1.266 OPS in those spots, the highest such number since Miguel Cabrera in 2013 (1.311). That is phenomenal. Oh, yes, there is this, too: this Rockie actually hit more home runs on the road than at home. His road OPS was a respectable .883, 17th best in the league.
In this article he gives insight on not only all the statistics of the favorable players, but he also compares them to one another. With all that taken into account, it sounds like there should only be one possible choice.
Out of the top three picks, I believe that Nolan Arenado deserves to be MVP. To me, Most Valuable Player should be awarded to the player that is most valuable to their team. That’s exactly what Arenado is to the Rockies. Without him the Rockies would have had no chance of securing a spot in the playoffs. Nolan has had an outstanding year alongside Charlie Blackmon, with continuously proving himself and working hard. Proving his skills this season at a game against the Giants with Nolan who had already singled, doubled, and tripled in this game, who ended the game with a walk off home run for the cycle.The last time a walk off homer in a game where a player in for a cycle was in 2010 by Carlos Gonzalez from the Rockies as well.
All three candidates had an amazing year, but Arenado was able to do things that Goldschmidt and Stanton couldn’t. With Giancarlo Stanton, yes he had a tremendous year but he did not help his team make the playoffs. He is more of a one-sided candidate in my opinion. As for Goldschmidt, he had a good year as well and his team did make the playoffs, however Nolan still has him beat in almost every category, including batting average, home runs, slugging percentage, RBI’s, and number of hits. Like Verducci said, Goldschmidt was amazing with runners in scoring position, but Nolan was even better. Not to mention again, Nolan is set to win another Gold Glove for his tremendous defense. Arenado is all over highlight reels because of his amazing defense along with his offense. With countless people talking about him and already labeling him as a superstar, this is why Nolan should go home with the trophy over anyone else.