- Scott Spratt, Baseball Info Solutions
When the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth round of the 2009 draft, they were probably not expecting a star. It was a draft that featured Stephen Strasburg as the first overall selection, as well as Mike Trout toward the end of the first round, but Goldschmidt was only the 11th first baseman selected by any team and the 13th player selected by the Diamondbacks.
Goldschmidt reached the majors quickly, but as much because of the poor performance of first-base placeholders Xavier Nady and Russell Branyan as his own development. Still, Goldschmidt hit an impressive 83 home runs in fewer than 1,200 minor league at-bats before his 2011 call-up, so the power potential, at the very least, was there. The causes for concern were his tendencies to chase bad pitches -- he struck out 161 times in his only full season in the minors -- and to try to pull everything, which made him especially vulnerable to same-handed (right-handed) pitchers.
In close to two full seasons, spread over three years, Goldschmidt has evolved into one of the best power hitters in the majors, and as a result he is setting an MVP-level pace so far this season.
Paul Goldschmidt's improved plate discipline, line-drive ability and superb defense have him playing at an MVP-like level for the Diamondbacks, writes Scott Spratt.