ST. LOUIS – A historic 2022 St. Louis Cardinals season now has a cherry on top. For the first time in thirteen years, St. Louis takes home an MVP crown.
Voters have selected Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt as the National League’s Most Valuable Player of 2022. It’s his first MVP honor in his 12-year MLB career.
Goldschmidt wins the MVP honor over fellow teammate Nolan Arenado and San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado. Dozens of voters from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America had a chance to select one of the three for the ultimate honor based on regular-season accomplishments.
In his fourth season with the Cardinals, Goldschmidt flirted with the NL Triple Crown for much of the year, ultimately finishing among the league’s Top 5 in batting average (.317), home runs (35) and RBIs (115). The 35-year-old’s .578 on-base percentage and .981 on-base-plus-slugging percentage also led the National League. He was also a Gold Glove finalist at first base after winning his fourth such honor last year.
All of that adds up to 7.8 WAR (wins above replacement) rating from the 2022 season, better than every NL position player aside from hot-corner pal Arenado.
“This was my best year and the most fun I’ve had,” said Goldschmidt on MLB Network’s MVP Award announcement show on Thursday. “Playing with Nolan [Arenado] and Albert [Pujols] and so many guys we had. It was just incredible.”
Goldschmidt adds an MVP award to his already-impressive collection of offseason accolades, which includes a Silver Slugger, the National League’s Outstanding Player as part of the new Player Choice Awards and MLB Retired Players Association’s Heart and Hustle Award. His first MVP honor comes after he finished as the MVP runner-up in 2013 and 2015 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I’m always trying to prepare, do my best and look for any edge,” said Goldschmidt on MLB Network’s award show prior to winning MVP honors. “I’m glad I’ve been able to do that. You want to try to make the people around you better. Obviously, you want to go out and play good for yourself, but it’s a team game.”
At 35 years old, Goldschmidt also becomes the oldest player to win MVP since Barry Bonds did so in his age 40 season in 2004. He becomes just the eleventh player to win an MVP award after turning at least 35 years old at the season’s end.
Goldschmidt’s 2022 highlight reel includes…
- April 19: A game-changing scoop on a throw from Arenado against the Miami Marlins
- April 27-June 11: 46-game on-base streak (second-best personal streak)
- May 7-June 4: 25-game hitting streak (second-longest in the majors this season)
- May 23: Walk-off grand slam against the Toronto Blue Jays
- June 14: Doubleheader leading to 3 home runs and 8 RBI against the Pittsburgh Pirates
- July 5: 1,000th career run scored against the Atlanta Braves
- July 16: 300th career home run against the Cincinnati Reds
- July 19: Solo home run in the 2022 MLB All-Star Game
- Aug. 19-21: Seven hits, 2 home runs and 7 RBI in series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, his former team
- Aug. 25: Two-home run and five-RBI game against the Chicago Cubs
- Sept. 27: Two hits and 2 RBI in the Cardinals division-title clinching game over the Milwaukee Brewers
For league MVP awards, there is a point system that is weighted by one’s spot on the ballot. A first-place vote is worth 14 points. A second-place vote is worth nine points. Each voting spot following that deducts one point from the second-place total.
Goldschmidt earned 22 of 30 possible first-place votes and 380 points total. Machado finished second in the race with seven first-place votes and 291 points. Goldschmidt’s close friend Arenado finished third with one first-place vote and 232 points.
“He’s an unbelievable teammate,” said Arenado on MLB Network’s award show Thursday. “Not only is he a great friend, but obviously an amazing ballplayer. It’s been a joy playing with him on the corners. We had a special year. Not too many people can say they did it on the same team together and be in the Top 3 [of MVP voting].”
“We push each other every day,” said Goldschmidt on his bond with Arenado. “I’ve been talking to him this whole offseason. We’re still looking for ways to get better. I’m just so thankful for him.”
Before his MVP title, Goldschmidt took home NL Player of the Month honors in May and August, combining for 19 home runs and 60 RBIs during those two months. He ran into some tough luck amid an early Cardinals postseason exit, but Goldschmidt’s good were undoubtedly important for St. Louis to clinch its fourth straight date to postseason as the NL Central Champions.
Goldschmidt hopes his latest accolade, and already-underway offseason work, sets the tone for more next season.
“I’m always learning, I’m always trying to learn more,” said Goldschmidt. “Talking to coaches and teammates and players on other teams. I try to get together in the offseason, go hit with them and take ground balls. It’s just trying to get better and smarter and finding any little way [to improve]. If I’m having success, there’s always a way to get better.”
Goldschmidt becomes the first player since Albert Pujols to win an MVP award with the Cardinals. Pujols took home MVP honors in 2005, 2008 and 2009 with St. Louis. The longtime Cardinals first baseman had the chance to enjoy his sendoff season (and journey to 700 career home runs) with a fellow MVP on his side.
“What an honor to play with you this year,” Pujols said to Goldschmidt in a chat via MLB Network. “What I love about you is the way you conduct yourself, off the field, on the field, and what a great teammate you are. What an honor to say I played the final year in St. Louis, and played with one of the best first basemen in the game right now. Congratulations, enjoy with the family. The first one, but hopefully many more to come, brother.”
Goldschmidt has two seasons remaining on a five-year contract extension that took effect for the Cardinals in 2020. To date, his five-year, $140 million deal is the largest St. Louis has offered to a player.
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge took home American League MVP honors, also winning the award for his first time.