Paul Goldschmidt's Greatness Knows No Bounds
Paul Goldschmidt is the most underrated superstar of his generation. It's frankly bizarre how little he gets brought up when we talk about the best players of his era. Could it be because he spent most of his career playing for a subpar Diamondbacks team? Possibly. But since Goldy came into the league in 2011, no first baseman has a higher bWAR than him. The only one that comes close really is future Hall of Famer Joey Votto, who, since 2011, has accumulated a bWAR of 48.9 as compared to Goldschmidt's 53.5. The discussion about whether or not Paul Goldschmidt will end up in Cooperstown is starting to become a legitimate one. While he has a ways to go, he's showing no signs of slowing down, and right now, he's the best hitter in the National League.
Goldschmidt currently leads the National League in hits, batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, and total bases. He ranks second in the NL in offensive bWAR and 3rd in total bWAR. He's in the midst of a twenty-two-game hitting streak, but his overall resume speaks for itself even beyond what he's accomplished so far in 2022. He's a six-time (soon to be seven-time) All-Star who has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting on five separate occasions. His breakout season in 2013 was a year in which, quite frankly, you could argue he deserved the MVP over Andrew McCutchen. I love Cutch, and he did have a slight advantage over Goldschmidt when it came to WAR, but McCutchen also played a premium defensive position while Goldy did not. Goldschmidt still led the NL in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage, and OPS. Even if you don't believe he deserved the MVP, he was still easily the best offensive player in the National League that year, and that wasn't even his best season. He finished second in MVP voting two years later, putting up an 8.3 bWAR and winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in the process, losing out on the MVP award to Bryce Harper, who had one of the best individual seasons of all-time back in 2015.
Baseball is a much more complex sport to talk about regarding Hall Of Fame resumes. Mike Trout, the best player of his generation, has proved that the idea of building a championship team around one player is nearly impossible. You can do that in the NBA or NFL, but not so much in MLB. The biggest detriment to Paul Goldschmidt's career is that he hasn't had many memorable postseason moments. Don't get me wrong, when he's played in October, he's been effective. He has eight home runs and a .975 OPS, but he's only made it past the NLDS once, and that team (the 2019 Cardinals) got swept by the eventual champion Nats. It's part of why I find myself rooting for the Cards this season. Outside of the cool storyline of seeing Pujols, Molina, and Wainwright make one last deep postseason run, it's about time Paul Goldschmidt gets the praise he deserves. He remains easily one of the best players of his era.