Paul Goldschmidt is having a breakout season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and is making a case to be considered the best first baseman in the National League.
Goldschmidt has captured the attention of baseball fans across the country with the season he is having. Here are five lessons we have learned from his breakout first half.
Goldschmidt Is America's First Baseman
What is more American than a boy born in Delaware who played college baseball in Texas and ultimately wound up playing in the majors?
The Arizona Diamondbacks would argue nothing.
Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports says it was the D-Backs' bullpen that decided to put the nation on Goldschmidt's back:
The notion of the tall, broad, earnest and clean-cut Goldschmidt as America's First Baseman was born in the Diamondbacks' bullpen. A few of the relievers had watched the NFL draft, got to talking about the Dallas Cowboys – America's Team, once – and somehow, in the way things can only come together in the merging of idle cerebral cortexes in a bullpen, Goldschmidt became part boy next door, part superhero. The man (and his wife, Amy) volunteers at the local children's hospital. He's finishing his undergraduate degree – started at Texas State, interrupted by the 2009 draft – through online courses.
If you ask Goldschmidt, though, he doesn't represent a nation. He is just a normal guy playing the game he loves.
The first baseman says, "The attitude I have is whether you're going good or bad, I just stay away, don't read it, don't listen. I change the channel sometimes on TV."
Whether Goldschmidt believes he is "American's First Baseman" or not, he certainly has America's attention.
Goldschmidt Can Do It All
When Goldschmidt was moving through Arizona's system, there was concern surrounding his defensive abilities.
Goldschmidt has put all those concerns to rest.
John Sickles of SB Nation writes that Goldschmidt is constantly working to improve his defense:
By all accounts, Goldschmidt has worked very hard to improve his defense and mobility through better conditioning. Although his height/weight data is the same as when he entered pro ball, he's in notably better physical condition compared to his college days.
The 25-year-old has become a good fielding first baseman and has also emerged as one of the best bats in baseball.
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy says of Goldschmidt, "What's impressive is just not his hitting, but he's an all-around ball player, a great ball player, a tremendous first baseman and base runner. He can steal a base. He's got the whole game."
That's pretty high praise coming from the manager of a division rival.
The praise is also coming from the media. Buster Olney of ESPN talks about what Goldschmidt is doing this year in the video to the right.
Goldschmidt Is a MVP Candidate
Goldschmidt is easily the most valuable player on the Arizona Diamondbacks and an argument can be made that he will win NL MVP this year.
If you look at not only the stats for Goldschmidt's season so far but how he has performed in crunch time, it is hard to argue that anyone else would win NL MVP.
Goldschmidt's season can be described as clutch.
David Schoenfield of ESPN says Goldschmidt might be having one of the most clutch seasons ever.
According to Schoenfield, Goldschmidt is having a season on par with what Willie McCovey did in 1969 when McCovey hit .320 with 45 home runs and 126 RBI.
Willie McCovey won the MVP that year.
While comparing Goldschmidt to McCovey may be a bit out there, the point is that Goldschmidt is having a season that should garner him MVP attention.
Goldschmidt Is a Role Model
In the day and age where many athletes and celebrities are constantly looking for more money and attention, there are few quality role models for young and aspiring athletes.
Paul Goldschmidt shatters the perception of what it means to be a star on a team.
He doesn't like attention, he isn't in it for the money and he wants to work harder than anyone to win.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes about the humble life Goldschmidt lives:
Paul Goldschmidt gets out of the Ford F-150, wearing a T-shirt and jeans, proud he can finally afford to buy a new car, getting rid of his in-laws' hand-me-down SUV with more than 200,000 miles on it and no longer needing to fit his 6-3, 235-pound frame into his old Hyundai. Oh, sure, he still prefers to carpool and would rather cook a few burgers in the backyard than dine at a five-star restaurant.
Goldschmidt signed a five-year $32 million contract with Arizona earlier this year.
Many at the time thought this was a steal for the Diamondbacks, and each day it seems more and more that this is true.
This speaks to the mindset of Goldschmidt. He knew he wanted to play in Arizona and knew he didn't want the distraction of contract negotiations during the season.
Goldschmidt does it all and does it all correctly on and off the field.
Goldschmidt Is the Best First Baseman in the National League
Goldschimdt may have finished behind Joey Votto in All-Star voting, but that doesn't mean he isn't the best first baseman in the NL.
Votto edges Goldschmidt in runs, hits and batting average, however Goldschmidt beats Votto in RBI, home runs, stolen bases and WAR.
Goldschmidt is showing this season that he isn't just a slugger, he is the complete package.
This isn't to say that Votto isn't a complete player, but Goldschmidt has the edge. He is younger and is constantly getting better.
The highlight video is just a taste of what Goldschmidt does day in and day out for the D-Backs.
Paul Goldschmidt is not only a superstar for the Diamondbacks but will be an all-star for many years to come.
While there will be many more things we learn about Paul Goldschmidt throughout his career, those were five things this season has taught us.
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