Paul Goldschmidt has the chance to cap his incredible year with baseball's ultimate individual honor later this month.
The D-backs first baseman is among three finalists for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, which will be announced on Nov. 14. Also in the running are Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and St. Louis' Yadier Molina.
Goldschmidt has the chance to become the first D-backs player to win an MVP Award. Matt Williams, the newly hired Nationals manager, and Luis Gonzalez finished third in 1999 and 2001, respectively. More recently, outfielder Justin Upton came in fourth in 2011.
Goldschmidt, who led the NL in home runs (36) and RBIs (125), was named to his first All-Star team this season, and earlier this month he took home his first Gold Glove Award. He finished the year with a .302/.401/.551 slash line, leading the league with the .551 slugging percentage while also winning the Hank Aaron Award in the NL.
"He wants to be a world champion, but he also wants to be the best at everything he does," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said last week. "We've had the opportunity to watch him work and develop, and reap the results of his belief and his willingness to listen to what might help him. ... It would be nice to see him win the MVP as well. He deserves it for sure."
Awards will be announced next week with daily announcement shows at 4 p.m. MST on MLB Network, beginning with Rookie of the Year Awards on Monday, Managers of the Year on Nov. 12, Cy Young Awards on Nov. 13 and MVPs on Nov. 14. Voting was conducted by BBWAA members prior to the end of the regular season, so postseason performances do not count.
One thing Goldschmidt doesn't have going for him is the D-backs' .500 record. Both Molina's Cardinals and McCutchen's Pirates made the playoffs, and the pair of MVP Award candidates were a major reason why.
But Goldschmidt's numbers stack up nicely against those two. They posted better batting averages -- .319 for Molina and .317 for McCutchen -- but neither came close in homers or OPS. Molina was also a Gold Glove Award winner, while McCutchen -- a phenomenal defender, too -- finished behind Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez in center field.