Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Prospect: Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

1b  |  23 years old  |  8th round pick by ARI 2009  |  Texas State

I had intended to write a little bit about unrated 2011 prospect Paul Goldschmidt today and lo and behold, the Diamondbacks have called him up to the bigs. Goldschmidt, who has simply ripped apart the AA level at Arizona's AA affiliate in Mobile, hit 35 home runs last season at high-A but even that wasn't enough to be considered a Baseball America top prospect in 2011. And its no fluke. Except for his Frehman season at Texas State in 2007, Goldschmidt has had an OPS above 990 at every stop and has hit above .300 and consistently hit a home run every 14-16 at bats. He gets on base consistently, hits for average, hits doubles and seems to have all the qualities of a big-time slugger, but then I read this from ESPN Insider: 
"Goldschmidt has plus raw power and a pretty good idea of the strike zone, which should combine to give him a pretty healthy MLB career as at least a solid backup. Whether he's more than that depends on whether his fringy bat speed will play enough to let him get to that power -- and with a fair number of soft-tossers kicking around the National League, he might be able to make it work. He's a below-average defender at first who might have to DH, and could end up as more of a right-handed platoon/bench bat who starts against lefties. Arizona has gotten just a .241/.312/.398 line from its first basemen this year, and I do think Goldschmidt could exceed that low bar if given the chance."
Well, it does say he should be at least a solid backup in the Majors but I suppose there has to be a reason why even Baseball America said nay-nay to Goldschmidt as a Top 100 prospect and even as a top 10 Diamondbacks hope.

Scouts claim he has a giant hole in his swing and if this is true, the tech-savvy Major League pitching industry will find it. I guess we could hold him up against Ron Kittle who also put up monster numbers at the age of 23 and 24 and see that Kittle himself became a solid backup. And if Goldschmidt has any statistical weakness (because I have never seen him actually play), its that, like many power hitters before him, he strikes out a lot.

Goldschmidt is also a smart guy (apparently). He compiled a GPA of 3.87 in Finance and was named the Southland League's Student Athlete of the year in 2009.

I don't know if he's going to be a superstar but his ability to adapt to the next level, his consistent power and batting average and his ability to know the strike zone don't strike me as skills that would make him a solid backup.

Prediction: Goldschmidt struggles early in Arizona, striking out too much for the pundits, shows occasional power, but hits for low average and forgets the strike zone. He starts next year in AAA, tears it up, comes back up in late May and never looks back and becomes an Adam Dunn-type hitter with better average.

1 comment:

jjack said...

Awesome that you used his Anchorage Bucs photo. Alaska Baseball League for the win! Goldschmidt was kind of a sleeper prospect but up here in the frigid north we knew he'd make the show.