Padres Editorial: NL West 2015-Ranking the First Basemen
Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt is the best first baseman in the National League West. Paul Goldschmidt may very well be the best first baseman in baseball.
After playing in all but one of the Diamondbacks first 110 games in 2014, the 2013 National League MVP runner-up ran into some bad luck in the form of an Ernesto Frieri fastball, and missed the final eight weeks of the season with a fractured wrist. At that point, he was hitting .300, getting on base at a rate of .396, and slugging .542.
These numbers were almost exactly in line with his 2013 figures.
Despite playing for only two-thirds of a season, he finished eighth among first baseman in extra-base hits with 59, collecting 39 doubles and 19 homers. His 75 runs scored were good for seventh place. His batting average was fourth, his SLG third, and his OBP was the best in the majors among first sackers. He also led all first baseman in stolen bases with nine, while nobody else had more than five. And that was after stealing 18 and 15 the two previous years, in which he played a full season.
In other words, most of the first baseman who played a full season wish they finished with the numbers that Goldschmidt put up in two-thirds of a season.
And like Gonzalez, Goldschmidt is one of the top fielders at his position. His range factor last year was top five, and his 80 assists put him on a pace to rival Gonzalez for the major league lead if he had not been injured.
They don’t talk much about first baseman being five tool guys. But when they do, Goldschmidt’s name is likely to come up. The man is the complete package.