Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been named the National League’s Most Valuable Player, according to an announcement from the Baseball Writers Association of America. He was followed in the voting by Manny Machado of the Padres and his teammate Nolan Arenado.
Though he’s come close many times, this is the first MVP award for the veteran, who just turned 35 in September. Though he’s older than the typical prime years of most athletes, he had arguably the best campaign of his career in 2022. He hit 35 home runs and produced a .317/.404/.578 batting line. That production was an incredible 77% better than the league average hitter, as evidenced by his 177 wRC+. When combined with his solid defense at first base, he was considered to be worth 7.1 wins above replacement in the eyes of FanGraphs and 7.8 in the estimation of Baseball Reference.
Goldschmidt finished second among qualified NL batters in on-base percentage, trailing only Freddie Freeman. He led the league in slugging and tied for fifth in longballs. Along the way, he was named to his seventh All-Star game. Goldschmidt secured a fifth career Silver Slugger award and has appeared on MVP ballots each season going back to 2015. He’s under contract for two more years on the five-year extension he inked shortly after St. Louis acquired him from the Diamondbacks in a franchise-altering trade.
Machado secured a runner-up finish, the highest of his career to date. He’s now gotten into the top five in the voting on four separate occasions, including two of his four seasons in San Diego. He hit .298/.366/.531 with 32 homers and 37 doubles, appearing in 150 games. Machado finished 7th in the NL in on-base percentage and fourth in slugging. He earned his sixth career All-Star nod in the process.
Arenado picked up his 10th straight Gold Glove award this year with a typically excellent season at the hot corner. He also had arguably the best offensive year of his career, putting up a .293/.358/.533 line over 620 plate appearances. Only Goldschmidt and Mookie Betts topped him in slugging, while he finished ninth in on-base percentage. Arenado secured his seventh All-Star selection and fourth top-five MVP finish.
Goldschmidt picked up 22 of 30 first-place votes, while Machado secured seven votes. Arenado was the other player who got a first-place nod. Freeman finished in fourth overall and was penciled into six ballots in second place. Betts rounded out the top five, while Mets star Pete Alonso (who finished eighth) was the only other player to get a second-place vote. Austin Riley, J.T. Realmuto, Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara placed sixth through tenth, respectively.