Paul Goldschmidt takes home NL MVP award over Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado

A St. Louis Cardinals first baseman was one of the biggest stories in baseball this season. A different one ended up winning MVP.

Paul Goldschmidt notched his first career MVP on Thursday after an impressive season at the plate, hitting .317/.404/.578 (an NL-best .981 OPS) with 35 homers and 115 RBI. Goldschmidt had already received the NL Hank Aaron Award as the league's top hitter, and now he's been recognized as its top player.

Goldschmidt received 22 first-place votes, while runner-up Manny Machado had seven and Nolan Arenado had one.

Alongside teammates Arenado and Tommy Edman, Goldschmidt formed one of the most effective trios MLB has seen in years. The Cardinals were the first team since the 2011 Boston Red Sox to have three different players posted at least six bWAR, per Baseball Reference, helping power them to an NL Central title.

The 35-year-old Goldschmidt had previously finished top 3 in MVP voting three different times, but now the honor is his.