COMMENTARY | Here we are again, another situation where the MVP Award has gone to a player based on the team's performance.
The Arizona Diamondbacks finished 81-81, which was good for second place in the National League West. The Pittsburgh Pirates finished 13 games better, at 94-68, which was good for second in the National League Central. Luckily, we don't have the bigger, glamorous market argument here as well.
Let's take an objective look at their stats first before delving into the more subjective analysis:
Keep in mind that the Pirates were a better team with a bit more protection in the lineup. Goldschmidt had no protection whatsoever. Not one player in the Diamondbacks' regular lineup hit over .300, and nobody had more than Martin Prado's 14 home runs.
McCutchen's teammates certainly didn't provide a whole lot of protection in the form of good averages, but he did have Pedro Alvarez and his 36 home runs to provide some level of protection.
MVP Sway: This should have swayed the vote toward Goldschmidt, if only a little.
PURE OFFENSIVE STATS
Goldschmidt led the league in home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging, total bases, extra-base hits, sacrifice flies, adjusted batting runs, adjusted batting wins, win probability added and intentional walks.
McCutchen led the league in offensive wins above replacement. That's it.
They were both All-Stars and both won the Silver Slugger Award for their positions. Goldschmidt added a Gold Glove and the Hank Aaron Award, which is given out to the best hitter in each league.
McCutchen did beat Goldschmidt head-to-head in a few categories, including steals (27-15), batting average (.317-.302), on-base percentage (.404-.401), strikeouts (101-145), and double plays grounded into (13-25). He also added two more doubles and two more triples.
Goldschmidt led in all of the other categories, including advantages in home runs (36-21), runs batted in (125-84), runs scored (103-97) and slugging percentage (.551-.508).
MVP Sway: Obviously, Goldschmidt had the better complete body of work here.
We don't have to delve too deeply into this one because both players were fantastic at their position. As previously mentioned, Goldschmidt won a Gold Glove and McCutchen didn't, but that could be attributed to some very tough competition in the outfield.
MVP Sway: We'll call this one a push.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE
Goldschmidt was above the league average in productive outs (43 percent to average 32), base runners scored (21 percent to 14), and base runners advanced (67 percent to 51). Simply put, even when Goldschmidt wasn't driving in runs, he was still able to be productive.
McCutchen in those spots was merely average. His 32-percent productive outs was right on average. His 16-percent base runners scored was just over average. Lastly, his base runners advanced was below average at 44 percent.
MVP Sway: Goldschmidt all the way.
When you've got an MVP, you expect him to come up big for the team when it needs it most. Those late-inning pressure situations are what separate guys who pile up big stats from guys who pile up big stats and win MVP Awards.
With that said, Goldschmidt must have lacked the body of work when held up against McCutchen, right? Wrong.
Goldschmidt beat McCutchen with runners in scoring position .338 to .282. With men on, Goldschmidt beat McCutchen .348 to .290. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Goldschmidt hit .340 to McCutchen's .245.
MVP Sway: You guessed it, Goldschmidt again.
It's embarrassing that Goldschmidt lost this MVP race. Ideally, he'll get another opportunity and won't get snubbed. How could the voters have ignored all of these concrete facts?
I guess the same reason why Nolan Ryan didn't get 100 percent (he got 98.8) -- the system is broken and flawed. It's just too bad Goldschmidt had to be the one to get punished.
Michael Dunlap is the author of the " Daily NBA Fix ", an all-encompassing daily column that covers the NBA. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the NBA site HoopsHabit.com. He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic.
- Sports & Recreation
- Paul Goldschmidt
- Andrew McCutchen