When Paul Goldschmidt arrived in St. Louis in December of 2018, expectations were rightfully through the roof. Goldy has finished runner-up for NL MVP twice in his career, 2013 and 2015. He finished in the top 11 of MVP voting 5 times while with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
For the record, we know that Paul Goldschmidt is not going to win the MVP this season, but since arriving with the St. Louis Cardinals, this is easily the most he has looked like his Arizona self. In a way though, even that statement is unfair to Goldy.
The entire purpose of the headline to this article is to reflect on just how good this guy has been. Both in Arizona and St. Louis. While he may not win NL MVP this season, he is certainly the MVP of this very mediocre Cardinals team and was the MVP of the Diamondbacks for the better part of a decade.
While he may not have met the expectations that Cardinals fans had in their head, he’s been nothing short of phenomenal and should be given credit where it is due. Goldy has easily been the most productive player in St. Louis since his arrival.
Even in his first season with the Cardinals, when it seemed like Goldschmidt was having a “down year,” he led the team in hits, home runs, RBI’s, runs, total bases, and plate appearances. He finished 20th in MVP voting in his “down year.”
While the 2019 Cardinals weren’t exactly Murderers’ Row, they won the NL Central with a 91-71 record. They were eliminated by the eventual World Champion Nationals in the NLCS.
Goldy’s Cardinals Debut | In With a Bang
Many Cardinals fans will never forget the way Paul Goldschmidt started his Cardinals career. The opening series of the 2019 season was against the Brewers in Milwaukee. The first game of the 4 game series was uneventful for Goldy as he went 0/3 with a walk and 3 strikeouts.
Goldschmidt must have been upset about having 3 strikeouts in his debut, so he decided to throw himself a coming-out party in his second game donning The Birds on The Bat. He went ⅘ with a walk, 3 home runs, and 5 RBI’s.
Craig Counsell chose to intentionally walk Goldy in his final plate appearance. What a coward, let the man make history. Oddly enough, the Cardinals would make the same decision against Christain Yelich after he hit 3 homers in a game just a few weeks later.
The Brewers won that opening series by taking 3 out of 4 from the Cardinals, but Goldy had 6 hits, 4 home runs, and 7 RBIs in his debut series. The 2019 Cardinals’ future seemed bright.
Goldy continued to rake throughout April and May of 2019. At the end of May, his OPS was .810, and he had 11 home runs and 26 RBIs. The 6 weeks that followed were drastically different.
From June 1st to July 23rd, Goldschmidt’s slash line was .212/.295/.423 for an OPS of .719. He still managed to drive in 24 runs and had 19 homers, but he learned that Busch Stadium III is not the easiest place to hit during the mid to late summer months.
Of course, after July 23rd, he once again turned into MVP Paul Goldschmidt. In the final 61 games of the 2019 regular season, he started 59, had 30 XBH, 14 of which were home runs. He brought in 47 RBIs and had an OPS of .903. His slash line was .279/.363/.545.
He still managed to put up a 2.9 fWAR season, but that isn’t quite up to Goldy’s standards. He hadn’t put up an fWAR that low since his 1st full MLB season in 2012. Had Goldy maintained the pace he started the season with or finished the season with, he would’ve posted yet another 4+ WAR season.
His BABIP for the 2019 season was .303, which is a bit low for Goldschmidt, meaning he was also getting a little unlucky throughout the year. His career BABIP is .346, 43 points higher. That easily takes away double-digit hits.
Goldy continued his tear through the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves. He was 9 for 21 with 6 XBH, 2 home runs, and had an OPS of 1.383. It’s hard to play much better than that in the postseason.
In the NLCS, he went ice cold and only had 1 hit in 16 plate appearances. After looking at how well he played from mid-summer into October, he was due to come back down to earth at some point. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they lost the series 4-0.
In 2020, Goldy was robbed of a ton of counting stats and a possible MVP run if it were a full season. Covid-19 shortened the 2020 season to only 60 games, but Goldschmidt made do with the games he was able to play.
He finished 15th in MVP voting and once again put up video game numbers. In 231 plate appearances, his OPS was .883 with a slash line of .304/.417/.466. He managed to put up 2.2 fWAR in only 58 games on pace for a 5+ fWAR season.
Paul Goldschmidt MVP SZN Comes in with a Whisper
After a slow start in the 2021 season for both Goldschmidt and the entire Cardinals roster, he is once again proving he is worth every penny of his 25 million dollar AAV. As August comes to a close, Goldy is slashing .286/.352/.481 with an OPS of .833.
He’s already produced 4.1 bWAR and 3.3 fWAR and is on pace for another 4-5 WAR season. He has 22 home runs, 79 RBIs, 72 runs scored, and his BABIP is back on the rise at .327, much closer to his career average. Many of those balls he hit in play during his 2019 campaign that went for outs are now safely falling for base hits as expected.
His career wRC+ sits at 140. This season it’s 126, and his WRC is 86. Goldy is even out-producing fellow corner infielder and Gold Glover Nolan Arenado.
When the Cardinals acquired Arenado this past offseason, most believed that he would lead the offense, with Goldy providing solid protection for him. In a way, it has been the other way around. Nolan is slashing .255/.313/.488 with an OPS of .801.
Arenado leads Goldy with 32 doubles, 26 home runs, and 84 RBIs. Goldy leads the club in pretty much everything else and only trails by 4 doubles, 4 home runs, and 5 RBIs.
If Arenado were having as good of a season as Goldschmidt, this article might be about a postseason run rather than of the few bright spots on the 2021 Cardinals.
Paul Goldschmidt | Future Hall of Famer?
If Goldschmidt continues his current pace, which is scorching, he will likely finish in the top 20 in NL MVP voting again. Possible top 10. I just hope that Cardinals fans can stop and admire how good this guy is while we have him.
This may not be a very good team, but Paul Goldschmidt is putting together seasons in St. Louis that could be very important for him, possibly being an MLB Hall of Famer one day. And he may even don a Red Jacket if he continues to wow fans of STL baseball.
One thing is certain. We are witnessing the most consistently dangerous bat we’ve had in the lineup since Albert Pujols. I threw in “consistently” just in case someone brings up that 8 weeks when Matt Carpenter turned into Mike Trout.
Paul Goldschmidt is set to surpass 50 bWAR early next season or late in this season if he goes absolutely insane over the last 34 games.
He’s set to pass 50 fWAR late next season or early in the 2023 season. These would certainly be huge milestones and look great on his resume.
Goldschmidt definitely isn’t done. He will continue to rake until the wheels fall off, and he’s such a smart player that he will probably figure out how to finish in the top 20 of MVP voting without wheels.
Goldy’s Awards and Accomplishments
- 6x NL All-Star (2013-2018)
- 4x Silver Slugger Award
- 3x Gold Glove Award (2013, 2015, 2017)
- 3x Fielding Bible Award (2013, 2015, 2017)
- NL Hank Aaron Award
- 2015 Wilson DOPY
- 7x Top 20 of MVP Voting
- 8th in bWAR (Among Active Players)
- 4th in OBP (Among Active Players)
- SLS 2019 NLDS MVP (Award Given by Me)
- More to Come!!