Paul Goldschmidt's having a pretty nice year. Compared to the monster 1Bs of the 90s, he's pedestrian, but in today's run-suppressed environment, he's 4th in the Major Leagues in fWAR, and 2nd in the NL behind Joey Votto. Votto's at 4.9, Edwin Encarnacion at 2.7, Paul Konerko at 2.2, and Goldy at 2.1.
Happened to notice tonight that FanGraphs actually now has Goldy as a net positive both defensively and in baserunning. This might not sound like news, but he was negative in both last year, and earlier in the season. Don't read too much into it, as, if nothing else, this just shows how volatile in-season trends are, but it's nice to see.
He's still below league average vs. righties, but continues to annihilate lefties, despite tonight vs. Clayton Kershaw. As of right now, in adjusted weighted on-base average, he's 7% below league average vs. right-handed pitching, but a blistering 123% ABOVE league average vs. left-handed pitching.
Of course, for all we know, this could be Goldschmidt's peak of the 2012 season, but 2.1 fWAR so far isn't exactly anything to sneeze at, and puts him 3rd on the team. I'm always dismissive of batting average, but .302? Nobody expected he'd come close to that.
How does he rank in franchise history? Well, he's got 2.7 fWAR in less than a year (120 games!!) with the team, but that 2.7 fWAR already puts him at 5th in all-time Dbacks history -- which is a little sad, but is really more a reflection of the fact that Arizona has never had a truly great homegrown 1B. Above him, you've got Conor Jackson at 3.9 fWAR over 526 games, Greg Colbrunn at 4.6 fWAR over 331 games, Ruby Durazo with 5.2 fWAR over 285 contests, and Chad Tracy, leading all-time, with 7.7 fWAR across 704 games with the team. If Goldy can keep up the same pace over the rest of 2012, he'd finish with 4.8 fWAR, which would already place him at 3rd place all-time among Dbacks 1B.
Among single Dbacks seasons? Believe it or not, Goldy's 2012 is already the 6th best all-time season among Arizona 1Bs. His 2.1 fWAR is behind only Greg Colbrunn's 2.5 fWAR 2000, Mark Grace's 3.0 fWAR 2001, CoJack's 3.2 fWAR 2008 (sorry, foulpole!), Tony Clark's 3.3 fWAR 2005, and Chad Tracy's 4.3 fWAR 2005. If Goldschmidt doubles his halfway mark and finishes at 4.2 fWAR this season, he'd have the second best Dbacks 1B season of all time to Chad Tracy -- and Tracy earned extra credit for playing other positions that year.
If WAR is to be believed, Paul Goldschmidt has the chance, easily, to become the best first baseman the Arizona Diamondbacks have ever had.
Let's take a quick look at some other areas, though. His 11 home runs, if doubled over the second half of the year, would tie Travis Lee's 22 in 1998 for 4th all time in franchise history. Again, a reflection of poor franchise history in HRs, but plenty of scouts thought he'd never hit 20 total in the big leagues. As for stolen bases? He's not known for being a fast baserunner, but, perhaps, a smart one. His 8 stolen bases so far are tied with (again) Travis Lee's 8 in 1998 for 3rd in franchise history for a 1B, behind CoJack's 10 in 2008 and Lee's 17 in 1999. If Goldy keeps up the pace, that'd put him at 16, 2nd all time among AZ 1Bs.
What's most likely? Well, while I think his hot spurt as late will lead to more playing time in the second half of the season, I don't think he'll finish with 16 stolen bases -- though I will not be shocked if he ends up with more than 22 homers. Either way, within Arizona's relatively sparse stable of first basemen, it certainly looks as if Paul Goldschmidt has the chance to be the best in franchise history.