ST. LOUIS — Cardinals superstar first baseman Paul Goldschmidt batted .317 with 35 home runs and 115 RBIs to earn his first-ever Most Valuable Player Award in 2022.
What was one of the most memorable things about Goldschmidt winning the game’s greatest individual award? The same season Yankees slugger Aaron Judge set an American League record with 62 home runs. He also won the National League Award and the league MVP award at the same time.
The mild-mannered, even-tempered Goldschmidt rarely gets too excited about much, but jumped at the chance to have lunch and hang out with Judge during the offseason when he was living in Florida. Goldschmidt was happy to make the three-hour drive from Jupiter, Fla., to Tampa and spend the day with the judges, he said. Both won MVP awards in their respective leagues, but when you talk to Goldschmidt, he’s like an excited kid learning from the judges, simply happy to be in the company of great players. It is said that it was
“I’m just a huge fan of him and I wanted to learn from him because he’s one of the best hitters on the planet,” Goldschmidt said. He had 11 wins in a doubleheader against the Yankees of the Cardinals on Saturday. They won four in the season opener, but lost 6-2 at Nightcap. “Judge is also one of the best people because everyone who has played with him thinks very highly of him.
“I have a lot of respect for him and he’s one of my favorite players,” added Goldschmidt. He hit a three-run homer in Saturday’s opening win and had two singles in the nightcap. “Having him win the MVP, I think everyone knew he was going to do it. [in 2022]. From my perspective, it made it even cooler to win MVP in the same year as Judge. “
A showdown between the two reigning MVPs was ruined this weekend when Judge remained on injured reserve with a sprained right big toe. With the 6-foot-7, 282-pound Judge gone, the Yankees’ lineup lost a lot of offensive majesty last month. Even after being eliminated by the Athletics, the Yankees averaged just 3.8 points per game in June, ranking 29th in MLB.
Goldschmidt and Judge, who were All-Stars before last offseason, had their first intimate conversation at an awards dinner in New York, where they were presented with their MVP awards. They then agreed to meet for the first time one winter day to discuss hitting and training together. The idea might have gone nowhere had it not been for the tenacious Mr. Goldschmidt’s repeated messages to the judge last January.
Goldschmidt said: good. “
When the two reigning MVPs got together, they spent hours smashing balls in the batting cage and discussing approaches to different pitchers. They also discussed strategy in two-strike at-bats, as the judges were looking to cut the 175 strikeouts they’d get in 2022. Meanwhile, Judge also led baseball in 2022 with two-strike home runs (21). Goldschmidt, on the other hand, ranked third with 14 long balls. Judge has nine two-strike homers this season, while Goldschmidt has eight.
Specifically, the judges pointed out Goldschmidt’s brains for his no-stride approach at bat. When he’s behind on the count, Goldschmidt prefers to limit his movement in the box and focus on hitting the ball backwards. Judge worked with Goldschmidt on using the no-stride approach, experimenting early in the season before abandoning the tactic.
“I felt good in the batting cage during the offseason,” Judge told MLB.com’s Brian Hoch and other media outlets earlier this season. “But things change a little bit when you’re faced with pitchers and situations. So I think I’m going to stick with what I have.”
It made perfect sense for Goldschmidt, who said he texted the judge several times throughout the season to discuss hitting and life outside of baseball. In Goldschmidt’s eyes, Judge is so talented that it would be wise to maintain his record from last season while hitting 62 home runs.
“He’s a total five-tool player, he’s played center and right, and some of his plays are unbelievable,” Goldschmidt raved. “Last season he came close to winning the Triple Crown and batting title. They have everything they want us to emulate.”
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