Arizona Diamondbacks maintain underdog status as candidates for MVP, Cy Young
The Arizona Diamondbacks are no doubt an underdog heading into the postseason, but their players are being overlooked as candidates for season awards.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have at least two players in the race for season awards – Paul Goldschmidt as the National League MVP and Zack Greinke as the National League Cy Young.
Despite how either player performs in September, it seems they’ll both be overlooked when it is time to vote.
MVP – Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt has been in the conversation for MVP three times in the past six years, this season will be the fourth. He was the runner-up twice.
The other candidates include Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Votto.
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Baseball Reference has a list of 40 positive offensive categories, Goldschmidt is in the top five in 26 of them, more than Stanton (20), Blackmon (23), Arenado (9) and Votto (22).
Four “negative” offensive categories are also listed, including strikeouts, double plays ground into, caught stealing and outs made. Blackmon is in the top five for times caught stealing and Arenado is in the top five for double plays grounded into.
Sure, Stanton’s 51 home runs are fun to watch. Arenado’s league leading 111 RBI are impossible to ignore and Blackmon might have the highest batting average (.339). But, Paul Goldschmidt is the best all-around offensive player in the National League.
Goldschmidt might be fine in the shadows of the other candidates, but his stats are impossible to ignore.
Cy Young – Zack Greinke
Similarly to Goldschmidt, Greinke is leading several categories but doesn’t seem to be named as anyone’s Cy Young candidate.
The top three candidates are Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw and Greinke, all previous winners.
But, Scherzer is deemed the front-runner. He has 230 strikeouts with a 2.21 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. Kershaw has 168 strikeouts with a 2.04 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP, but has spent five weeks on the DL with a back injury. Greinke has 182 strikeouts with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.
Greinke has the opportunity to earn a 16th win on Thursday against the Dodgers at Chase Field, where he has the highest win percentage at home among all pitchers. Kershaw won’t return from the DL until Friday, but the Dodgers previously had a dark horse candidate in Alex Wood.
With only one loss this season, Wood was having a career year before joining Kershaw on the DL. However, the Diamondbacks have had a dark horse candidate of their own – Robbie Ray.
Ray’s 3.06 ERA and 1.21 WHIP include 160 strikeouts in 21 games, the same number as Kershaw. But, Ray’s career season was also derailed with a DL-stint after being hit in the head with a line drive.
Unless something drastic changes in September, Scherzer will probably walk away with his second consecutive NL Cy Young.
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With or without NL awards, the Diamondbacks are likely hosting the Wild Card game in October and could very well find themselves in the NLDS.