Just like in the American League race, almost everyone has come to a conclusion as to who the National League MVP will be. While that might be the case, all three finalists have a great argument to win it this year and none would be the wrong choice. This trio can do it both on the offensive and defensive side and have been instrumental in their team’s success. Along with the AL, the National League MVP award will be announced on November 17th and this one might be the one to watch.
2022 National League MVP Award Finalists
Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals)
The St. Louis Cardinals have two finalists for the 2022 National League MVP and one of them is Paul Goldschmidt. Like Judge, Goldschmidt was chasing the Triple Crown down the stretch of the season and had a real chance to win it until he went on a cold streak the last month-plus of the season. Nevertheless, Goldshmidt ended up hitting .317 (2nd in NL), with 35 home runs (6th in NL) and 115 RBI (2nd in NL). He also finished first in NL in slugging percentage (.578), OPS (.981), and OPS+ (180) while being top three in hits (178), runs (106), total bases (324), and OBP (.404).
Goldschmidt had an unbelievable season and that was rewarded by winning the Hank Aaron Award and the Silver Slugger award. He’s been one of the best hitters in baseball for his entire career and has finished as runner-up for National League MVP twice but never won it. Now Goldschmidt finally has a chance to take home the hardware in his 12th major league season at 35 years of age.
Nolan Arenado (Cardinals)
Joining Goldschmidt as a National League MVP finalist is his teammate across the diamond, Nolan Arenado. Everyone had questions about Arenado’s offense away from Coors Field ever since he was acquired by the Cardinals at the beginning of 2021 but he seemed to find all the answers to that. He hit 30 home runs with 103 RBI this past season after hitting 34 home runs and 105 RBI in 2021. That’s 30 or more home runs and 100+ RBI in his first two seasons with the birds on the bat. His performance earned him his fifth Silver Slugger award in his career.
Even more impressive than his bat is his incredible glove at the hot corner. Arenado has played 10 seasons in the majors so far and he’s won the Gold Glove every single year. That ties Ichiro Suzuki for the most consecutive Gold Gloves to begin a career and he very well may break that record in 2023. He also just won the Platinum Glove for the sixth consecutive season. To add to his impressive year, Arenado led the NL with a 7.9 WAR. If it wasn’t for his teammate, Nolan may of been in the lead to win his first MVP.
Manny Machado (Padres)
For the second time in three years, Manny Machado is a finalist for the National League MVP award. Like his fellow third baseman Arenado, he plays outstanding defense and if it wasn’t for the guy in St. Louis, Machado would have a plethora of Gold Gloves since coming over to the National League. 2022 was his best year with the San Diego Padres, hitting .298 with 32 home runs and 102 RBI. He suffered an ankle injury in June that only sidelined him for a few days before returning but his numbers in the month of July weren’t ideal. If it wasn’t for that injury, these numbers would be even better and Machado would probably have an even better case.
What makes his run in 2022 even more impressive is that the Padres were without Fernando Tatis Jr. for the entire season due to injury and PEDs. This should strengthen Machado’s case because of the fact that it felt like he had to carry the team on his shoulders for the majority of the year. He might not lead in all these statistical categories like Goldschmidt but if you dig deep, Machado’s numbers are just as impressive given having to carry this team to a playoff position late into the season. While many feel he won’t win it, the all-star third baseman has a great case for why he should.