Soon, Paul Goldschmidt will get to exchange high fives with his own Diamondbacks teammates at Chase Field.
Today will be celebrated around the Diamondbacks fandom as Goldschmidt Day, because today Paul Goldschmidt will make his major league debut as a first baseman against the San Francisco Giants. This afternoon, the Diamondbacks announced the corresponding roster moves of their recent trades. Paul Goldschmidt was promoted from AA Mobile to take the place of Brandon Allen, who was sent to the Oakland Athletics. Ryan Cook and Sam Demel were optioned to AAA Reno to make room for Wednesday's starter Jason Marquis (acquired from the Washington Nationals) and new bullpen arm Brad Ziegler (from the Oakland A's).
Ryan Cook was initially brought up from AA and he was called up again Saturday from AAA when Alberto Castillo when on the DL. He has struggled mightily and lowered his ERA from infinity to 21.60, but in only five outs, he's allowed 7 hits and 3 walks. Sam Demel, acquired in last year's trade with the A's for Conor Jackson, has been a mainstay in the bullpen since his arrival. He has struggled since his return from the disabled list (right shoulder tendonitis), allowing two earned runs in three of his last five appearances. His ERA for July was 6.75 and 50% of runners he inherited scored.
Now, about this Goldschmidt fellow...
Paul Goldschmidt was drafted in the 8th round of the 2009 draft out of Texas State, and he will be the first Arizona player from the '09 draft to reach the major leagues. He had a solid spring training this year and was with the team 'til quite late in March. He was sent to AA Mobile and started knocking around Southern League pitchers. It's time to use some of that power in the Big Leagues, now.
In 2009 in 74 games in Rookie Ball with Missoula, Paul Goldschmidt hit .334 with 18 home runs and 36 walks, an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of 1.05. In 2010 with the High A Visalia Rawhide, he hit .314 with 35 home runs and an OPS of only .990. This year in Mobile, he's hitting .303 with 30 home runs, 82 walks and an OPS of 1.06. He hit nine of those home runs in only 21 games April. He's been walked 10 times in the last five games - think they're getting tired of seeing him? He was selected to the 2011 All Star Futures Game, but went 0-for-4.
He has staked the Mobile Bay Bears to a 64-41 record and a 9-game lead over their nearest division opponents, but they will have to go the rest the way without their superstar. Ryan Wheeler will take over at first base for Mobile and Paul will be the everyday first baseman in Arizona.
Goldschmidt is being thrown into the fire, thrown into the crux of a division title fight. He's coming from warm the humidity of Alabama and will go right to the cold heavy air of San Francisco and face the heart of their starting rotation in Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong. Nobody expects him to go 5-for-11 with three home runs (although that would be awesome). All we need is for him to be a solid first baseman, and looking at the production out of that position this season, that shouldn't be very hard to do. Collectively, our first basemen have hit .239/.316/.404 with 13 home runs and three stolen bases. Russell Branyan hit a high .277 batting average in only 14 games, Juan Miranda hit six home runs but only a .215 average, Brandon Allen hit .179 in only 10 games there, and Xavier Nady has been the most consistent man with a .265 average and 27 RBIs.
There's no doubt that the jump from Double A to the Major Leagues isn't easy, and fans should not expect the same level of production out of a hitter facing major league aces for the first time in his career. But the fans have been reading about him for months and are excited to see what he can do to push this team towards the post-season.