A buddy of ours from Mobile (Alabama, not that tiny burg tucked into the mountains southeast of Phoenix) has been yapping at us all year about one Paul Goldschmidt, a young first-baseman who has been hitting the crap out of the ball.
"He's the next Mark McGwire," our friend likes to say, a blessing or a curse depending on your point of view about the onetime-home-run-king-turned-steroid-tainted-bum.
Our friend points out that the good-looking Goldschmidt has been a crowd favorite in Mobile, as much for his enthusiasm on the field as his prodigious taters and gap shots.
The dude can hit, of this there is no doubt.
Goldschmidt's numbers at Double-A Mobile have been staggering. The 23-year-old Texan leads all the minor leagues with 30 homers and 93 RBI's, highly impressive stuff. He's said not to be at all bad with the glove, a plus.
All in all, it's been a surprisingly quick ride to the Bigs for the 6-4, 235-pound fella, who the Diamondbacks drafted down in the 8th round back in 2009--the 246th pick overall that year.
Goldschmidt got called up to the big team yesterday, and joins Arizona in the Bay Area tonight for the first in a critical three-game set against division-leading San Francisco.
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We don't know if he'll be in the starting lineup in such a spot--that would be asking an awful lot from the kid.
Based on his stats, we are sure that Goldschmidt inevitably will strike out a bunch--think Mark Reynolds and Chris Young territory. But from the highlight reels we've taken a peek, he will probably hit the ball hard--and for a very decent average--once he adapts to major league-level pitching.
That promises to be a tough learning curve, especially during what is emerging as an actual pennant race with the upstart D-Backs squarely in the middle of it.
For sure, we'll be watching tonight.