Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt’s remarkable 2013 campaign was previously acknowledged in the form of Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards, though Pittsburgh CF Andrew McCutcheon claimed the NL MVP honors when voting was tabulated earlier this week. Though Goldschmidt didn’t receive a single first place vote from any participating sportswriter, the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro — mindful of becoming a bigger pariah in the region than Yasiel Puig — sought to detail why he, y’know, picked the more deserving candidate (“I knew when I cast my McCutchen vote that it wasn’t going to go over well in the clubhouse or within the organization…that’s something I’ll have to deal with”) (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :
Although Goldschmidt and McCutchen were basically even in batting average, on-base and slugging – even, that is, once the numbers are park adjusted – I thought Goldschmidt was the slightly better offensive player once you take into account his advantage in home runs and RBIs.
While I don’t assign a ton of value to RBIs, they do mean something. Winning games is still about scoring the most runs. Runs batted in might be team dependent, but someone drove in those 125 runs and that someone was Goldschmidt.
But, to me, value is more than just what a player does with a bat in his hands. And it’s all those other times where McCutchen made up ground on my ballot. He wasn’t the best center fielder in the league, but he was up there, and his positive defensive contributions at one of the game’s most crucial positions carried a ton of weight.
Goldschmidt was a terrific first baseman, among the best in the league, but, to me, the value of a good defensive center fielder far outweighs that of a good first baseman. Add in McCutchen’s base-running advantage and, in my eyes, that more than made up for the small advantage Goldschmidt had at the plate.