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MLB

2013 NL MVP: Finalists and Prediction

Paul Goldschmidt

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

What was the most wide-open race heading into award season is now narrowed down to three. Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as division foes Yadier Molina and Andrew McCutchen of the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates respectively are the finalists for NL MVP.

Goldschmidt had a phenomenal season for the Diamondbacks, but the fact that Arizona finished the season 81-81 will likely hurt his chances at walking away with the hardware. Paul led Arizona in just about every offensive category and finished the season with 36 home runs and 125 RBIs while maintaining a very solid .302 batting average.

St. Louis had four players with a batting average .300 or better, but Molina led the Cardinals in that category by batting .319. Yadier finished with 161 hits, 44 doubles, 12 home runs, 80 RBIs and 68 runs. Molina is usually a guarantee to have a great all-around season, and 2013 was no different for the catcher. It’s not just offense where Yadier thrives — he continues being a perennial Gold Glove winner for St. Louis as well.

Molina could very well be the best all-around player in the NL, which explains why he continues being in the hunt for the NL MVP every season.

The Pirates had a very nice run in 2013. They won 94 games and took eventual National League champion and division foe St. Louis to the brink in the NLDS before coming up short. Clint Hurdle is up for NL Manager of the Year and McCutchen is up for NL MVP.

McCutchen’s main competition that could keep him from winning this award is Molina, but he had quite the season himself. The outfielder finished with 97 runs scored, 185 hits, 38 doubles, five triples, 21 home runs, 84 RBIs and a great .317 batting average.

Even though he had a great season with the bat, I expect Goldschmidt to be in third when the voting ends. To determine the winner, you could flip a coin because you can’t go wrong with either McCutchen or Molina. However, I feel the great season Pittsburgh had gives McCutchen the edge while Molina will come in closely in second.

Michael Pidgeon is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for Rant Sports.com: “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter @1AndOnlyPidgeon, add him to your network on Google or e-mail him at black24mamba@aol.com