If someone asked you to name the top five players in Major League Baseball, your list would likely include at least some of the following names: Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen and Clayton Kershaw.
It probably wouldn’t, however, include Paul Goldschmidt – and that’s unfortunate. The Arizona first baseman is hitting .333 with a .447 OBP, 22 home runs, 89 RBIs, 28 doubles and 19 steals.
Why does Goldschmidt not get more pub?
“Playing in a market without much national juice in Arizona and also being a guy who’s not a particular self-promoter – he’s kind of a quiet type of dude (and) gets overshadowed by the Mike Trouts and the Bryce Harpers of the world,” Sports Illustrated writer Ben Reiter said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “But when you look at the stats – you look at any stat you want, really – WAR, he’s right up there with them. He’s obviously leading the NL in RBIs. He’s second in batting average, barely. He’s got 22 home runs, (plays) Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base (and) even has a chance to steal 25 bags this year. He’s really a remarkable player, and I think that people are starting to realize that more and more.”
Reiter, who did a piece on Goldschmdit for SI, found nothing but praise for the 27-year-old during the interview process.
“You’re not going to find one person to say one negative thing about this guy anywhere in the Arizona organization,” Reiter said. “Part of that is (because) he’s really a self-made superstar. A lot of guys are born with terrific, natural gifts and kind of ride those all the way through. Goldschmidt was not (like that).”
The Wilmington, Delaware, native was lightly recruited out of high school, played college ball at Texas State and was an eighth-round draft pick.
“He was a little bit overweight, but when you looked at him play, he just looked kind of stiff and slow,” Reiter said. “But what he’s done is he’s turned himself into a terrific fielder. The fact that he’s still pretty slow – but has already stolen 19 bags – tells you a lot about this guy’s work ethic and attention to detail. He’s really a self-created superstar, and really his learning process continues each and every day.”
With Arizona (58-61) 8.5 games out in the NL West and 9.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, it’ll be interesting to see if Goldschmidt can win MVP, especially since Bryce Harper appears to be the frontrunner. Harper leads the NL in home runs (30) and is second in batting average (.327).
What can Goldschmidt do to take home the hardware?
“Unless he goes on a real home run tear – he’s kind of stalled in the home run category – he’s not going to win the Triple Crown this year,” Reiter said. “But yeah, I think with a hot month, I still think he’s going to be in the conversation. (But) I wouldn’t say nobody knows about this guy. If you look at the NL All-Star voting, he got like the fourth-most votes of anybody in the league, so people know him – mostly by his stats. But I think with a big last month-and-a-half here, he could certainly be in the NL MVP discussion, along with Harper, and then you put Zack Greinke in there as well.”