Fans may not realize it now, but they are currently in the presence of greatness.
What? No, not me. Though I do make a mean dish of nachos. Instead, I’m talking about the emergence of Arizona Diamondbacks’ first baseman, Paul Goldschmidt. Heading into the season, Goldschmidt was one of those young guys who could take a step in 2013. Well, so far it looks like that step might be more like a leap, as Goldschmidt is looking like an elite fantasy first baseman. Through 32 games, Goldy is batting a strong .316 with six home runs, 24 RBI and an awesome (for his position) four steals. As of right now, the burgeoning 25-year old is on pace for 30 dingers, 122 RBI, 20 stolen bases and 96 runs, which would make him an elite fantasy option among all positions.
Currently, I have Goldschmidt ranked third among first baseman, obviously only behind Joey Votto and Prince Fielder. To be honest, I really don’t see any reason why he can’t stay with that company for the rest of the season. He is getting on base a ton, whether it be walks (3rd in NL with 20) or driving the ball, sporting an impressive on base percentage of .411. Obviously, I don’t see Goldschmidt finishing the season as a 20-steal guy, but not many people thought a 6-3, 245-pound guy would swipe 18 bags last season either, but that’s exactly what he did. It may be relatively early on, but Goldschmidt’s plate discipline has been better than that of year’s past. He is swinging at only 22.4 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone, which is about seven percent less than he finished in 2012. His 20 walks thus far back that up completely. He is also rounding into more of a complete hitter, batting for average, power and putting the ball in play more than ever (.392 BABIP).
An interesting aspect of Goldy’s hot start is that he isn’t necessarily hitting very well in his home ballpark, batting a poor .250 with two homers and eight RBI. On the road, however, he is hitting a stifling .386 with four homers and 16 RBI. Over the past three seasons, Goldschmidt has been a much better hitter on the road than at home, so can you imagine if he can consistently produce at Chase Field? My money is on him remaining a top option at the first base position because that consistency in any environment would make him dangerous on any given day.
I may be higher on Goldschmidt than others, but for good reason. If we find that this peculiar speed is legitimate, Goldschmidt provides a combination of power and speed that no other first baseman can match. 2013 is going to be a golden year for this promising first baseman (see what I did there?). He is looking like a five-tool guy that will bat for a respectable average, most likely around the .285 mark, with 25-30 home run potential and the speed for at least 10-12 steals with the upside for a handful of more. I really wouldn’t be surprised if Goldschmidt finished the season as at least a top five fantasy option at the corner.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.