Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt wins first career MVP

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St. Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt has been voted the National League MVP, beating out teammate Nolan Arenado and San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado.

Goldschmidt, 35, took home his first MVP honor, receiving 22 of 30 first-place votes and eight seconds for 380 points from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel. Machado (seven first-place votes) was second with 291 points, and Arenado (one first-place vote) was third with 232 points.

It’s the sixth time in Goldschmidt’s 12-year career that he has finished in the top six in voting for the award. He is the fifth player to win his first career MVP at age 35 or older and the first since Dennis Eckersley in 1992.

“I think definitely as you age, you have to adapt, and that’s some of what I’ve tried to do. I’ve tried to get ahead of it,” Goldschmidt said in an interview on MLB Network. “You can’t just try to do the same thing you did the year before. But yeah, kind of the stigma that as you get older, you’re going to keep getting worse. I mean, nobody likes that. They don’t like being told you can’t do something, so it’s definitely motivation.”

Goldschmidt led the NL in slugging (.578) and OPS (.981) while compiling the highest OPS-plus (180) of his career. Along with Arenado, he helped lead the Cardinals to an NL Central Division title.

For the season, he hit .317 with 35 home runs and 115 RBIs, ranking third in the NL in batting average, fifth in home runs and second in RBIs. Goldschmidt’s sabermetric stats also ranked high, as he ranked first in WOBA (weighted on-base average), first in WRC+ (weighted runs created plus) and third in ISO (isolated power). He also ranked second in WAR among position players, just behind Arenado.

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