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The 2022 Major League Baseball season still has just about seven weeks left, which is to say there's plenty of time for things to change. In the case of the 2022 NL MVP race, that could mean a pretty significant amount of jockeying. It's a pretty close race with a decent number of players having a realistic shot. 

Paul Goldschmidt of the Cardinals is the frontrunner at this point, though. (Caesars Sportsbook lists him as the favorite with -175 odds.)

He was emphatic in letting us know Thursday afternoon, going 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBI. On the season, he's hitting .335/.418/.627 with 34 doubles, 29 home runs, 94 RBI, 82 runs, five steals and 6.4 WAR. It's one of the best seasons of his career. Maybe his best, which would be pretty impressive given his illustrious career to this point. 

The seven-time All-Star has four Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. He's finished third in MVP voting before. He's been the runner-up twice. This would be his first MVP, should he complete the job. Winning an MVP certainly boosts Hall of Fame chances. It's always good to be able to flash a little more hardware when voters are contemplating selections. 

Let's say Goldschmidt does win this season's MVP and take a look at how his Hall of Fame resume is rounding out. 

The rate stats are there. Goldschmidt is a career .296 hitter with a .393 on-base percentage and .529 slugging percentage. The 145 OPS+ and 144 wRC+ show what a well-rounded offensive force he's been throughout his career. Simply, he's hit for average while being excellent both at getting on base and hitting for power. 

Now, let's keep in mind Goldschmidt is still in the middle of his compiling before we look at the counting stats. He's 34 years old, so he doesn't exactly have an eternity here. With his bat-on-ball skills, the year he's having at age 34 and the existence of the universal designated hitter, however, he's surely got more productive years coming. 

Through Thursday, Goldschmidt now has 1,708 hits, 374 doubles, 309 home runs, 1,021 RBI, 1,021 runs and 145 stolen bases. 

The likelihood here is Goldschmidt won't hit the biggest benchmarks (3,000 hits or 500 home runs), but he's en route to getting well into the 2,000s in hits and might approach 2,500. He's a good bet to topple 400 home runs and maybe get to the 450 range. There's a slight chance he can get to 1,500 each with RBI and runs. 

Accurately projecting where career numbers end is an incredibly difficult task. The shortened 2020 season being wedged so closely in the past makes it even tougher when we use something like Bill James' "favorite toy" tool. We'll do it anyway and prorate his 2020 stats out to a full season. 

Here's where it has Goldschmidt ending up: 

  • Hits: 2,324
  • Doubles: 514
  • Home runs: 419
  • RBI: 1,379
  • Runs: 1,377

It should be noted these were calculated as if the 2022 season were complete, so he'll be adding to each and then there would obviously be a bit of a bump in the calculations moving forward each time. It's not precise. This was done simply to give us a little glimpse. 

On hits, by no means is 3,000 required. In fact, only 13 first baseman have ever gotten to 2,500. Jeff Bagwell and Jim Thome are in the 2,300 range. 

Only 11 first basemen have gotten to 500 doubles, so clearing this mark would be a nice boost, even if it isn't required. 

The home run total there might seem low for the position, but only 19 first basemen have topped 400 homers. Somewhere between Tony Perez and Orlando Cepeda's 379 to Jeff Bagwell's 449 seems perfectly acceptable. 

As for the run production, only seven modern-era first basemen have topped 1,350 in both runs and RBI: Albert Pujols, Rafael Palmeiro, Jimmie Foxx, Eddie Murray, Lou Gehrig, Bagwell and Todd Helton. 

In looking at the landscape of current Hall of Fame first basemen, Goldschmidt isn't too far off from a Hall of Fame resume in JAWS and WAR, too. 

In JAWS, he's 21st all-time at first base, a few spots behind the average Hall of Famer but in front of Billy Terry and Harmon Killebrew. Further back you'll see David Ortiz, Perez, Cepeda and a few others. On his current trajectory, there's a reasonable chance Goldschmidt moves up above the average Hall of Fame first baseman and into the group that has Thome, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and Willie McCovey. 

Again, that's just in JAWS. Obviously, there are many other considerations. It is strong company, of course, and it's a big needle-mover, especially for the generation of Hall voters who will be deciding Goldschmidt's fate (I'm among that group, to be clear). 

The MVP would move the needle, too. He's on pace to get into good company in the counting stats and his career slash line is very impressive. 

Goldschmidt won't be thinking about this down the stretch, but that doesn't prevent me from thinking about it. I believe he's already on a Hall of Fame track and that the MVP this season would be a pretty nice boost.