At this point, it makes for a interesting discussion.
Cuban emigre Puig, said to be 22, is the wild card.
"If it is pure MVP, has anyone been more valuable than Puig?" one veteran major league scout said. "I think he is an idiot, but when he came up (the Dodgers) were nine games below .500, and now have a chance to run away with the West. If you want value, that is value."
Puig is hitting .346 with 17 doubles, 12 homers and 29 RBI in 70 games. When he was recalled from the minors on June 3, the Dodgers were 23-32 and in last place, 8 1/2 games out of the division lead. They are 52-20 since and have won 45 of their last 55.
The resurgence has not been all Puig, who has brought a high degree of swagger along with his five-tool game.
Hanley Ramirez has been just as hot. And there is
Adrian Gonzalez, Kershaw and fellow starter
Zack Greinke. But Puig has been a big part.
From a sheer numbers standpoint, Puig lags far behind Goldschmidt, McCutchen ... really, anyone else in the field.
Goldschmidt is a combination of valuable and outstanding, which should do nothing but help his chances if Arizona can stay in contention. He has 17 go-ahead home runs this season and six homers in the ninth inning. He hit bases-empty homers in the ninth and 11th innings to tie, then beat,
Baltimore on Aug. 13, and is on pace for 39 homers and 128 RBI.
"A legit MVP if the D-backs stay in the race at all. His numbers are going to be hug," a West Coast scout said.
Votto has heard criticism for failing to expand his strike zone to increase his RBIs total, and he has only 59 RBI this season, hardly the production of an MVP contender. He had 113 RBI when he was one short of a unanimous choice in 2010. But his other numbers are solid. He is third behind Carlos Gonzalez and Goldschmidt in OPS, is hitting .317 with 18 homers, and already has 100 walks, by far the most in the league. He has vocal supporters, too.
"Votto's RBI total doesn't really concern me," sad one East Coast scout, whose pecking order at this point in McCutchen, Votto and Goldschmidt.
"What is important is the total sum of his production and his all-around value. I put him right behind McCutchen right now if you are talking about guys driving their team's playoff fortunes. (McCutchen's) prowess with the bat is supplemented with his speed and his defense at a premium position. Those two guys are at the top of my list, with Goldschmidt coming next."