Key Stats: Paul Goldschmidt hit 65 home runs in just under 900 at-bats in two seasons at the minor league level. And this isn’t a case like Bryan LaHair clubbing 63 over the past two seasons for Triple-A Iowa. Goldschmidt is only 23 as opposed to LaHair who is 28. While that rate did slow once he joined the Diamondbacks, he was still hitting a home run at a rate that was less than once every 20 at-bats (a ratio that improves if you take in his playoff numbers). The only reason that Goldschmidt doesn’t have more love is because he was never highly touted. And looking past the power, Goldschmidt has also had no trouble hitting for average and producing a very high OPS.
Skeptics Say: The sample size of at-bats is very small at the MLB level, so who knows how well he will adjust now that the whole league has a better idea of who he is. That said, there was a significant jump in his strikeout to walk ratio at the MLB level versus what he was producing at Double-A. Against lefties he wasn’t great, but he had less than 40 at-bats. In the minors, he was much better against lefties.
Peer Comparison: Carlos Lee, Carlos Pena, and Edwin Encarnacion are ranked behind Goldschmidt in Cockcroft’s rankings at ESPN.com, but ahead of him at CBS. I agree with Cockcroft primarily for the same reason that I like Adam Dunn more than Todd Helton – the upside of Goldschmidt.
Goldschmidt had 18 extra base hits in 156 at-bats last year. If he gets to 550 at-bats, that would give him 63 extra base hits. Let’s compare that to the other three players.
Lee – Had 60 extra base hits in 585 at-bats
Pena – On pace for 65 extra base hits in a 550 at-bat season
Encarnacion – On pace for 61 extra base hits in a 550 at-bat season
Only Pena can match him as far as extra base hits are concerned, and we all know Pena can contend with nobody when it comes to batting average. Considering that Goldschmidt would also most likely be tops in steals out of this group (based on last year his pace would put him on double digits), it’s really hard to see what the people at CBS saw.
Lineup Outlook: The Diamondbacks shuffled a lot of first basemen in and out of the lineup before Goldschmidt came up, but that didn’t stop them from putting him into the fifth hole for the majority of his at-bats. Justin Upton is going nowhere as the team’s number three hitter, but it’s possible that Miguel Montero and Chris Young will lose out on hitting clean up to Goldschmidt. That would be ideal. Montero and Young bounced around in the order last season, so it’s likely that Goldschmidt will get his shot. What he does with it is up to him.
A Blogger’s Take: Paul Goldschmidt is a star waiting to shine. He showed brief glimpses of what he could do in the two months he was with the Dbacks in 2011. After hitting 8 home runs and 26 RBI in just under two months of work, there will be great expectations for next year and beyond. He should end up being a 30/100 guy every year, plus he has the tools to hit for average too. He has great patience at the plate at times and as long as he works on cutting down the strikeouts, he will be just fine. He’s young and will be around a long time. – Scott Allen, Venom Strikes
Projection: Going by the numbers, it might be best to reach on him rather than take the chance that he’ll fall here.
79 R 27 HR 89 RBI 9 SB .285 AVG .845 OPS in 510 at-bats