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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-1, Paul Goldschmidt

Does this scale go to 11?

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 1: Paul Goldschmidt

  • Date of birth: September 10, 1987
  • Ht/Wt: 6'3", 225lbs
  • Position: Infielder
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • 2016 MLB numbers: 158 games, 705 PA, .297/.411/.489, 24 HR, 95 RBI
  • SnakePit Rating: 9.71 [breakdown of votes below]

For almost anyone else, batting .297 with 24 HR, while stealing 32 bases and being nominated for a Gold Glove, would likely be a career peak. After all, it’s a combo of BA, HR and SB achieved only once in the entire history of first-basemen (Jeff Bagwell in 1999). But for Goldschmidt? It was enough to trigger headlines such as “Goldschmidt not offering excuses for down 2016 season”, in which he said, “I honestly didn’t play as well as I needed to, I didn’t hit enough balls hard, and when you’re doing that, you’re not going to hit as many home runs, It wasn’t just home runs, there was a lot of other things I didn’t do as well, and that all falls on me.”

Damn. I’ve heard of being your own harshest critic, but really... Tough crowd. We’ve become desensitized, perhaps, to just what a great player Goldschmidt is. No, not just great: phenomenal. Since the start of the 2013 season, no NL position player has put up more bWAR than Paul. And it’s not even close, with Goldschmidt more than four wins in front of the #2, Buster Posey. He’s almost guaranteed to pass Luis Gonzalez on top of the franchise all-time bWAR list this year. Paul comes in to Opening Day tomorrow just one win behind - despite having currently played 415 games, over two and a half full seasons, less than Gonzo had with the Diamondbacks.

I suggest that we all enjoy Goldschmidt’s 2017. For sadly, there is certainly a risk this might be his last Opening Day - and anyone who remembers the Brandon Webb era knows, you only appreciate great talents after they are gone. There’s a scenario where the season goes south quickly, and Mike Hazen opts to cash in on talents like Goldschmidt and Pollock, for the trove of prospects they would bring. I understand, absolutely, that reasoning. But it doesn’t mean I would like it. Not one bit. Instead, I prefer to imagine Paul leading us to the post-season this year. But even if that falls short, anyone prepared to bet against him being our 2017 MVP?

Thought not.

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