Goldschmidt's breakout season MVP-worthy
D-back led NL in homers, RBIs; won Silver Slugger, Gold Glove awards
About the only thing separating D-backs slugger Paul Goldschmidt from the other two finalists for Most Valuable Player Award in the National League was that he was the only one of the trio not to play in the postseason.
Otherwise, you could certainly make a case that everything Goldschmidt did in 2013 -- and, to be sure, it was a lot -- rated well with what the two other NL MVP candidates, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates and Yadier Molina of the Cardinals, accomplished.
If Goldschmidt's manager, Kirk Gibson, had a vote -- he doesn't, and of course he's a little biased -- it wouldn't be much of a close contest at all.
"He wants to be a world champion, but he also wants to be the best at everything he does," Gibson said recently. "We've had the opportunity to watch him work and develop, and reap the results of his belief and his willingness to listen to what might help him.
"It would be nice to see him win the MVP, as well. He deserves it, for sure."
We'll find out soon enough, as the NL MVP will be named Thursday at 4 p.m. MT on MLB Network and MLB.com.
Goldschmidt has the chance to become the first D-backs player to win an MVP Award. Matt Williams, the newly hired Nationals manager, and Luis Gonzalez finished third in 1999 and 2001, respectively. More recently, outfielder Justin Upton came in fourth in 2011.
Goldschmidt, who led the NL in home runs (36, tied with Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates) and RBIs (125), was named to his first All-Star team this season, and earlier this month he took home his first Gold Glove Award. He finished the year with a .302/.401/.551 slash line, leading the league with the .551 slugging percentage.
Goldschmidt, who made his Major League debut in 2011, hit .286 with 20 home runs and 82 RBIs in his first full Major League season in 2012. The D-backs were so convinced they had a good one that they gave him a five-year contract extension in March that could keep him in Arizona through 2019.
"What's not to like?" Gibson said of Goldschmidt. "He's good at preparation, before, during the game and after. He's a great teammate. He works really hard. He has high expectations. He has high aspirations to be a world champion. He would never change. He'll never change until he stops playing. We've talked about the 'Diamondback Way' the last couple of years several times, and he's the model Diamondback guy. The model guy."
Goldschmidt's rise toward MVP consideration really started in May when he hit .376. He was consistent, hitting seven home runs in May, June and August. He finished strong, hitting .318 with 34 hits in the last month of the season.
Last week, Goldschmidt added some hardware to his offseason haul. In addition to having been named the winner of the Hank Aaron Award as the top hitter in the NL and a Gold Glove recipient, he won a Silver Slugger Award.
It's Goldschmidt's first silver bat, an annual honor for the best offensive player at each position in each league, as voted on by coaches and managers.
Goldschmidt has also been nominated for two Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards (GIBBY) -- one for NL MVP and in the best hitter category.