During an offseason in which he completed a near sweep of MLB’s major individual awards, star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt added another top honor to his already impressive list of accomplishments on Monday.
Goldschmidt, winner of the National League MVP, Hank Aaron, Silver Slugger, MLBPA’s Most Outstanding Player and the MLB Retired Players Association’s Heart and Hustle awards, was named a member of the All-MLB First Team on Monday.
Goldschmidt, who led the NL in OPS (.982) and slugging percentage (.578) and finished in the NL’s top five in Baseball Reference WAR (7.8, second), on-base percentage (.404, second), batting average (.317, third), home runs (35, fifth) and RBIs (115, second), beat out Dodgers star Freddie Freeman for the All-MLB award at first base.
Star third baseman Nolan Arenado and blossoming closer Ryan Helsley were All-MLB Second Team selections after helping St. Louis win 93 games and capture the NL Central crown. Arenado, the only NL player to win multiple Player of the Month awards this past season, was beaten out for top All-MLB honors at third base by Padres star Manny Machado. Arenado, the NL leader in bWAR (7.9), finished third in NL MVP voting behind Goldschmidt and Machado.
Goldschmidt, Arenado and Helsley are the first Cardinals players to be named All-MLB First or Second Team performers since pitcher Jack Flaherty was a Second Team selection in 2019. Designated hitter Albert Pujols, who hit 24 home runs to get to 703 for his career, was a finalist at DH, but Yordan Alvarez and Shohei Ohtani got the First and Second Team nods. Infield standout Tommy Edman was a finalist at second base, but Jose Altuve was the First Team pick and Andrés Giménez earned Second Team honors.
Finally healthy following two years of battling knee and elbow injuries, Helsley had a career year in 2022 while emerging as the Cardinals’ closer. He was 9-1 with a 1.25 ERA and 19 saves. He had as many wins (nine) as earned runs allowed (nine) over 64 2/3 innings pitched. Not only did Helsley limit hitters to a .128 average against him, but he also averaged 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
In addition to becoming a first-time father in 2022, Helsley was also a first-time All-Star. He threw MLB’s fastest pitch of the season on three different occasions, topping out at 104.2 mph in October against the Brewers. Also, when Helsley needed just nine pitches -- all strikes -- to fan Reds hitters Kyle Farmer, Jake Fraley and Donovan Solano on Sept. 16, it gave him the third immaculate inning in Cardinals history. He joined Bob Gibson (1969) and Jason Isringhausen (2002) in franchise lore, and he became just the 109th pitcher in AL/NL history with an immaculate inning.
Edwin Díaz and Emmanuel Clase were named First Team All-MLB closers, while Helsley was joined by Ryan Pressly as Second Team All-MLB reliever picks.
Unlike the MVP and Cy Young Awards, which are awarded to one player in both the AL and NL, the All-MLB Teams recognize the best player(s) at each position across MLB. Fans had a say in the All-MLB picks, with 50% of the vote coming from them and 50% coming from a panel of baseball experts. Voters were asked to consider only regular-season performances.
Arenado failed to win First Team honors at the hot corner despite delivering arguably the best all-around season of his career. A part of a division winner for the first time in his playing tenure, Arenado ranked first in the NL in WAR (7.9), second in slugging (.533), sixth in batting average (.293), 11th in home runs (30), fourth in RBIs (103), third in doubles (42) and fourth in OPS (.891). Defensively, he was even better. The 31-year-old third baseman equaled a mark set by Ichiro Suzuki by winning his 10th consecutive Gold Glove to start his career. Arenado is one of just four infielders to win 10 straight Gold Gloves.
Goldschmidt, who won the MVP after being a two-time runner-up, said the friendship and support of Arenado was instrumental to him playing so well in 2022. In addition to a third-place finish in MVP voting this year, the star third baseman has been eighth (2015), fifth (‘16), fourth (’17), third (’18) and sixth (’19).
“I don’t win this [MVP] award if it’s not for Nolan,” Goldschmidt said recently. “I talk to him so much, I vent to him, and I ask him questions. He pushes me, he motivates me and we’re there for each other.”