MLB’s 25 Most Improved Players Prospects for 2016 Momentum

#4. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

2015 WAR: 8.8
2014 WAR: 4.5
WAR Improvement: 4.3

At this point, it feels silly to doubt Paul Goldschmidt.

Sure, a .382 BABIP is an astronomical mark, but it’s only slightly higher than 2014’s .368 BABIP, and his career average stands at .355. Yes, drawing walks on 17 percent of his plate appearances is another best for the Diamondbacks’ first baseman, but that number has been trending up for a while, and Goldschmidt is still only 28 years old. And granted, a 22.3 HR/FB is above his lifetime average of 19.8, but it’s not that far removed and remains lower than his 2013 mark.

It’s not the least bit inconceivable that the perennial MVP candidate could still be getting better at the plate, and that’s only part of the reason behind his jump in WAR.

Goldschmidt also improved his defense — rebounding from a negative season to earn his second Gold Glove. He even got better as a baserunner, stealing 21 bases in 26 attempts after going 9-of-12 in 2014.

Though an 8.8 WAR is a historically impressive figure, we’re looking at a historically impressive player in the midst of his prime. Anything that doesn’t result in more MVP consideration after he trailed only Bryce Harper in last year’s National League voting would be legitimately shocking.