The date was February 26th, 2011; a friend and I were watching a Spring Training game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. In the bottom of the ninth inning a large man who definitely looked like he belonged on a ball field stepped to the plate with two on and delivered a mammoth 3-run homer. We still can recall the sound of the ball off the bat, a resounding crack which probably left one side of the ball flat and the other side jealous. Neither of us had heard much about this guy, but what we saw was raw, unadulterated power. We immediately dug deeper into career numbers, with a deeply rooted gut feeling that he would soon be a star. The brute bomber I speak of is none other than current Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
In 2011 Goldschmidt was supposedly “too raw” and the D-Backs went with a first-base platoon of Juan Miranda and Russell Branyan. Yes, really. Branyan ended 2011 with 5 HR and 14 RBI with 2 different teams; Juan Miranda had 174 AB, tallying 7 HR and 23 RBI; Xavier Nady split time at 1B and OF as well. Overall the first-base production was lacking, and Goldschmidt was eventually called up after compiling a .306 BA, 30 HR and 94 RBI in only 366 at bats with Double-A Mobile. He showed great discipline with 82 walks, which contributed to his .435 OBP. After his call to the Show he continued to produce with 8 HR and 26 RBI over 156 AB, adding 4 SB for good measure. Goldschmidt opened 2012 as the everyday first baseman and put up some very solid numbers (20 HR, 82 RBI, 82 R, 18 SB), most notably in the stolen bases column, which aside from Eric Hosmer is pretty much a lost category among first basemen.
Goldschmidt has begun the 2013 season with even better numbers, and the fast-paced start could mean a huge year for him. Goldie currently is the owner of a .314 BA with 7 HR, 27 RBI, 20 R and already 4 SB which has him ranked above all other first basemen in standard 5x5 Rotisserie formats. His strikeouts are a bit high, but with a .314 average and 27 RBI no one cares about that. If you went with Goldschmidt, kudos to you fine Sirs and Madams, as you are good as gold at First Base.
Focus, execution of the game plan and ridiculous command of brilliant stuff-- that is what we have seen out of Mets' Ace Matt Harvey thus far in 2013. Harvey came into last night’s start on extra rest and it apparently helped. Harvey had a perfect game 6.2 innings deep into last night’s interleague affair with the White Sox. Alex Rios got the only hit allowed by Harvey, an infield single with two outs in the seventh. Harvey walked none and struck out 12 batters over 105 pitches and 9.0 IP. He settled for a no-decision as Hector Santiago was very good for Chicago and the Metropolitans would walk-off in the bottom of the 10th. Harvey is now the owner of a 1.27 ERA, 0.69 WHIP and a spotless 4-0 record with 58 K over 49.3 innings of work. Harvey is currently ranked #1 overall in CBS 5x5 Roto rankings.
Tuesday’s Hot Shots:
- Yuniesky Betancourt slugged another homer Tuesday. You may want to start drinking the Kool-Aid.
- J.J. Putz was forced to leave with elbow soreness; David Hernandez had pitched the 8th so Heath Bell got the save. Chances are it will be Hernandez should Putz be out for an extended period.
- Travis Wood was good Wood and kept the Cardinals at bay over 6.2 innings allowing only 1 earned run.
- Craig Kimbrel was cruising through 2 outs in the ninth with back-to-back strikeouts. He then served up back-to-back jacks to Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo which tied and then won the game for the Reds.
- James McDonald was placed on the DL on Tuesday and some clamoring for Gerrit Cole has already begun, but the Pirates instead have called up RHP Duke Welker from Triple-A.
- Brian McCann got his first two RBI of the season Tuesday; he could be a nice source of run production for those who stashed him.
- Justin Upton will be out of the lineup Wednesday, probably to clear his head after scuffling the past few games.
- Roy Halladay’s status is expected to be updated on Wednesday by the Phillies.
- Brandon League entered a tie game and gave up a two-run HR to Paul Goldschmidt to earn his second straight loss.
- Chase Utley went 3-for-5 with a solo homer (now 7 HR on the year) off of Tim Lincecum in a Philadelphia win. His pop seems to be back.
- Kyle Kendrick was good again. He had 6 K over 88 pitches and is now 4-0 with a 1.71 ERA with 32 K and 8 BB in his last 42 IP.
- JA Happ was stuck in the head by a liner Tuesday and carted off on a stretcher. The great news is he is currently responsive and doing well. He may be released today with a head contusion and laceration to his left ear.
- Junichi Tazawa will be the closer in Boston until a healthy Bailey or Hanrahan can emerge. Tazawa has great stuff and could essentially run away with the job, but I believe Bailey should return to the role within a few weeks.
- Mark Trumbo hit his 9th homer in Houston, it was of the 3-run variety and he is slugging .850 in May.
- Zach McAllister pitched well and gave up zero runs for the first time in his Major League career and has been solid off the waiver wire with a 2.63 ERA.
- Will Middlebrooks and David Ross collided in a sliding grab on a popup in foul territory; the 3B will get a CT scan and X-Ray today, but is said to be fine.
- Jarrod Parker will make his next start for the A’s. Teammate Josh Reddick was placed on the DL (wrist)
- Roberto Hernandez, or “The Artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona,” pitched well enough to win on Tuesday, once again showing better command and strikeout ability with 7 K. He earned a no-decision, though, due to another Rays’ bullpen blow up. He is now a fairly trustworthy start in deep leagues, with 37 K in just under 37 IP.
- Jose Altuve was moved to the 3-spot in the order, and he responded in a big way with his best fantasy day of the season: 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB.
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Follow Shawn on Twitter @CasKnowsRoto