Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Not many players drafted in the 8th round have the immediate impact that Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt has had.
26 year old Paul Edward Goldschmidt played his collegiate ball at that perennial baseball powerhouse known as Texas State University. No, not The University of Texas Longhorns, the Texas State Bobcats. A school known as a research university has now cranked out a fantasy player worth serious research.
Goldschmidt was called up to the majors in August of 2011. He totaled 156 AB’s that season and showed glimpses of what was to come. In the Division Series against the Brewers, Goldschmidt totaled hits in each of the four games he played in. In 16 AB’s he drove in 6 runs and hit .438 with an obscene 1.339 OPS. So much for the kid being scared of the big stage.
By The Numbers
A hitter’s splits are key for me in assessing how good a hitter you’re looking at. Goldschmidt is fantastically consistent across the board. Left, right, home, away, day, night, earth, mars…you get the picture. In 2013 you see .309/.300 left-right splits, .293/.311 home-away, and .313/.298 day-night numbers. If he’s got a bat in his hand, there’s a good chance he’s going to hit.
His 2013 slash line works out to a tidy .302/36/125/15 overall, with a .952 OPS and a 5.71 WAR.
His worst month was June, when he it .262. His best month was July, raking at a .376 clip. Otherwise he’s .283 – .313 the rest of the season. Last season Goldschmidt hit in the three spot and cashed in on his RBI opportunities, hitting .338 with a 1.136 OPS with runners in scoring position. The D-Backs never came up with a consistent force in the cleanup spot, so Goldschmidt did not have strong protection behind him.
The Diamondbacks traded away scrappy OF Adam Eaton during the offseason and replaced him essentially with a boom or bust slugger in Mark Trumbo. The hope is that Trumbo can continue to develop some plate discipline and provide Goldschmidt some consistent protection in the 4 hole. Outfielder A.J. Pollock should improve this season, and overall the Diamondbacks definitely have a chance to be better offensively. It would help to see catcher Miguel Montero (.230/11/42/.662 OPS in 2013) rebound in 2014. Except for stolen bases, Goldschmidt has improved across the board each year he’s been in the bigs (still swiping 15 bags last year), and another step forward in 2014 is well possible.
Chase Field is close to the middle of the pack (#18) when you consider the best hitters parks according to ESPN’s Park Factors rankings for 2013. It’s generally considered a hitters park, but doesn’t inflate numbers like a Coors Field or bandbox Yankee Stadium does.
Paul Goldschmidt has quickly developed into an elite player in the fantasy baseball world and as a major league player. He tallied 242 MVP votes in 2013. 2014 could well be the year that Goldschmidt takes home the MVP trophy. The Pittsburgh Pirates were surprise big winners in 2013, winning 94 games en route to their first postseason in more than 20 years. Andrew McCutcheon had another great season in 2013 (.317/21/84/27 SB) and deserved to win the NL MVP. However, Pittsburgh lost some significant players in A.J. Burnett, Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd. If the Arizona Diamondbacks get enough from their workman pitching staff to be competitive, this could well be the year that Goldschmidt notches and MVP with a repeat performance, much less an improvement on his 2013 numbers.