2015 is the year that phenom Bryce Harper has finally solved his injury bug and taken over the National League. Bryce Harper has simply dominated the league this year, so does he deserve the National League MVP? In simple terms, yes. Yes, he does. By comparing him to his main competitor in the NL, Paul Goldschmidt, we can put to rest who deserves the title of the Most Valuable Player. Also, besides the two sluggers, Zach Greinke and Clayton Kershaw have been extremely valuable to the Dodgers, however, for the sake of looking at pitchers when looking at the Cy Young award exclusively, I’ll simply stick to the batters. Make no mistake, however, pitchers can win this thing, as shown by Justin Verlander’s 2012 season and Clayton Kershaw’s 2014 season. And Zach Greinke and Clayton Kershaw and other flamethrowers have a chance to challenge the sluggers of the NL for the crown.
Now, let’s get down to business and put up the numbers for Harper and Goldschmidt.
These stats are up to August 29, 2015. There is still a full month of baseball to be played, but there’s a lot that we can take in from this breakdown. When looking at the three main traditional categories, Harper has the advantage in home runs and batting average, albeit slim. Goldschmidt, on the other hand, has a full 20-RBI lead over Harper. Both of them are in the same range when it comes to runs and hits. Goldy has swiped 14 more bags than Harper has this season. Voters like an all-around player, and Goldy’s speed is a plus for him. In slugging and on-base percentages, Harper owns slight leads in both categories. When looking at WAR, Harper cannot be matched by anyone in the major leagues this year, leading the MLB with a 8.07 WAR after nearly 5 months played. Goldschmidt, even though he plays first base, owns the upper hand defensively based on defensive WAR.
Although the popular word right now is that Harper is the clear-cut MVP this year, I’m surprised to see that Goldschmidt has been almost as good as him in certain categories and better in others. Of course, both players’ teams, the Nationals and the Diamondbacks, don’t look to be headed for the playoffs this year. So that factor won’t decide the winner here. As of now, Harper is leader. But he has to watch out. If Goldschmidt can continue to rake, and Harper falls off a bit in the final month of the season, this will be an incredibly close race to watch.
So, who do you think deserves this year’s NL Most Valuable Player?