Best All-Around Baseball Player - 2012
Paul Goldschmidt only is in his second season as a major-leaguer — and we usually don't award our coveted Best All-Around plaque to such a newbie. But Goldschmidt is becoming the consummate player. He hits lots of home runs and doubles (16 and 34 respectively), he's fleet of foot for a 6-feet-3, 230-pounder, makes stellar defensive plays at first base — and studies game film hours a day to prepare for pitchers the D-backs are slated to face. It's paid off this season, as Goldschmidt has been one of a few Valley of the Sun bright spots in local sports. We watched him play the superb Washington Nationals this season when he did something big guys never do: After reaching first base on an error, he made it to second rather than settling for the easy one-bagger. Then, before the pitcher could deliver the next pitch, the behemoth stole third (he knew the pitcher's delivery habits from his intense preparation), rattling the catcher so much that he threw the ball over the third baseman's head into left field. Goldschmidt scampered home to the adulation of his manager and teammates. But the dude has been doing it all season: The steal described was his 11th. Did we mention that he's also had one of the two or three best batting averages on the team all season? Power, average, steals, defense, smarts — sign the dude to a rich, long-term contract!