Here's a list of factors working against Paul Goldschmidt becoming a superstar in Major League Baseball: he plays in Arizona, he's been to the playoffs just once, he's quiet, he was never a top prospect, and he doesn't use social media. That's a lot to overcome. Really the only people who have understood how good this guy has been since 2012 are fantasy players and Diamondbacks fans. Consider this: in 2013 at the age of 25 "Goldy" hit 36 homers, knocked in 125, and slashed .302/.401/.551. He finished second in the MVP voting. In 2015 he hit 33 bombs, stole 21 bases (more on that in a bit), and slashed .321/.435/.570. He once again finished second in the MVP voting. Yet it feels as if he never gets his due. THIS year, with still a month to go, the 29-year-old already has 31 homers, 17 steals, and is slashing .316/.427/.594. The difference? Now he's going to win the MVP.
There's been a lot written about how Goldy flew under the radar as a minor leaguer, and how he then became a two-time MVP runner up. Actually that's a lie. There hasn't been much written about Goldschmidt over the course of his career at all, but at least when the internet does talk about him it usually focuses on his origin story. Here's a dude that absolutely crushed his competition at Texas State, which led to him becoming an eighth round pick in 2009. The problem? Scouts don't tend to like right-handed hitting college first basemen unless they produce at elite programs. Worsening the situation was the fact that he was considered somewhat out of shape before the draft.
This is where the human element comes in. Simply put the scouts COULDN'T MEASURE GOLDSCHMIDT'S HEART. That's being a little dramatic. He isn't Tom Brady, but once he got to pro ball he really started putting in work. Scouts said Goldy wasn't going to be a good defensive first baseman. He's won two gold gloves. They said he wasn't athletic enough to play in the majors. He's stolen 15 bases five different times in his career, including thirty-fucking-two last year. Quick tangent - how the hell does a 6'3", 225 pound first baseman steal all these bases? Goldschmidt has just average speed, but he studies base stealing like it's a craft, he has great reaction time, and he picks the opportune times to run. Most sluggers would say studying base running isn't worth their time. Not this guy.
There are a ton of awesome, under appreciated players in baseball these days. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon come to mind. Hell Goldschmidt might not even be the most under appreciated first baseman in baseball. Joey Votto and Freddie Freeman present strong cases as well. But this is the year to recognize Goldschmidt. I'll admit Giancarlo Stanton is making it tough to definitively declare that Goldy deserves the MVP. I just have to imagine that Stanton comes somewhat back down to Earth in September.
Regardless, on Baseball-Reference right now the two are tied with 6.3 WAR, despite Stanton's 51 homers. That's because Goldy impacts the game in some other, vital ways: base running and getting on base. He's never had a month long stretch, or a single season, where he's been the story of baseball. But this year, in 2017, Goldy has a claim to the MVP award as much as Jon Snow has a claim to the iron throne. Arizona has the 6th best record in MLB this year, and Goldschmidt has given them consistently excellent production (in several areas of the game) since April. Give this man some love!