The Philadelphia Phillies welcome in the Arizona Diamondbacks of the NL West Division for a weekend wraparound series at Citizens Bank Park.
Finally…Goodbye Toronto! I seriously will never understand how they chose the Blue Jays to be the Phillies “Interleague Rival” and the last few seasons have not lessened that sentiment. If it all dates back to Joe Carter…
Forget it, we won’t even go there right now.
Most of you are probably reading this as I walk the course at Oakmont for the U.S. Open, following around some of the best golfers on the planet.
Meanwhile, the Phillies prepare to face an Arizona Diamondbacks opponent led by one of the best baseball players on the planet in Paul Goldschmidt. With his presence in the Dbacks lineup, the decision of where to place my “Roadblock” focus on this series was not a difficult one whatsoever.
Although the 2015 NL MVP runner-up anchors the middle of their batting order, Arizona still sits 10 games under the .500 mark and in 4th place in the NL West standings.
It is no secret that the Phillies have struggled mightily over the last month. The excitement has faded on what once seemed like the foreshadowing of an exciting 2016 summer. However, a below mediocre Diamondbacks team could be just what the doctor ordered for the boys in red.
Only one problem: they have to stop Goldschmidt. The powerful first baseman leads Arizona in six different offensive categories, including RBI, slugging, on-base, OPS, and perhaps surprisingly runs (42) and stolen bases (8). He is tied for the team lead in homers with an even dozen.
Honestly, before I even tried to take a close look at the Dbacks roster, he was the only one that jumped right out to me. I don’t know if that speaks more to his talent or the underwhelming roster of this team that plays its home games out in the desert.
“Goldy” will not turn 29 years of age until September of this season, and he has grew to become one of the most feared hitters in the game. An 8th round pick coming out of Texas State University in 2009, he blew through every level of the minor leagues.
Goldschmidt only took two and a half seasons in the minors before making it through to the big leagues, with a .317 average, .407 OBP, and 83 bombs down on the farm. Those numbers are insane, and the Hurricane Goldschmidt was only getting started.
Since debuting for a full season in 2012, the three-time NL All-Star has hit .300 or better three times, with one season at a .286 mark. He has eclipsed 20 dingers in three of his four full seasons (20, 33, 36) and has another season with 19 bombs.
With his 12 home runs already this season, barring a major injury, he will continue this power trend. His two Silver Slugger Awards are no surprise considering he has an OPS of better than .850 in every full season he has played and has knocked in 100+ runs twice.
My favorite offensive stat for the 6’3″, 225 first baseman is that he has stolen 15 or more bags on three different occasions. He is not just a slugger, but a multi-talented ballplayer. Goldschmidt is on pace to reach that steals mark again this year.
And I guess I should not leave out he also boasts two Gold Glove Awards.
Looking closely at what I have covered already, it seems like there is always a year missing the mark, a down year in his four seasons. That would be the 2014 season, when Goldschmidt missed two months after breaking his hand.
He had 69 RBIs, 19 homeruns, and 9 stolen bases at the time of the injury. There is a good chance those numbers would have been more in line with his other seasons had it not been for the hand.
As I sit back and look at tapes and scouting reports of Goldschmidt, it may be the first time I am shaking my head and thinking that there really is no way to get him out consistently. Maybe with the exception of the occasional rosary.
He has hit .299 off of right-handed pitchers over the last three seasons while producing an obscene OPS of .944 versus them.
You may not want to know what he does to lefties, but I feel as though numbers this ridiculous have to be presented. Goldy hits to the tune of a .344 average with an OPS of…wait for it…yeah, 1.050.
Basically, a lefty has as good a chance at retiring Goldschmidt as I do matching a Jordan Speith golf drive, if you were to add three of my shots together.
The Phillies can try to shift him, but it would be dangerous because Goldy is a very capable all-around hitter. He does tend to pull the ball on the ground more often, but it is not glaring. He can still shoot the ball the other way with consistency.
Interestingly enough, righties do have some success getting him out in on his hands. The problem is that Goldschmidt is an extremely patient hitter. He will wait you out and force you to throw him away.
If you are a southpaw, anything in the zone is a problem. He will hit it if you throw with your left hand. What I am saying is, good luck to Adam Morgan in tonight’s opener. And maybe Adam should consider praying that rosary.
Goldschmidt is pretty good at this baseball sport. He can hit a ball moving at high velocity while changing direction really well, maybe better than any player not named Harper or Trout. He is extremely athletic for his position.
In my opinion, Goldschmidt is one of the most underrated players in all of baseball. I just hope the Phillies do not forget just how good the guy standing at first base is this weekend, because if they do, he will be rounding the bases quite a few times over these next four days.