Make the Case: Can Anyone Challenge Paul Goldschmidt?

DBacks Paul Goldschmidt

The Arizona Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt has been the king of all the first baseman especially in Roto leagues. His name is constantly in discussion to come off the board in the first round and generally in the first handful of picks.

In this edition of “Make the Case,” Ben Rolfe and I debate which first baseman could challenge Goldy for the top spot that position.

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Getty Images

Getty Images

Wil Myers (BR)

When Kyle posed the question of who is the most likely person to challenge Paul Goldschmidt for the number one first baseman this year, I looked at just what he gives you in roto and realized that that is a really tough question to answer. Goldschmidt is a true five category contributor for roto so I wanted to try and identify which of the five categories I thought was the hardest to gain this year and that is what led me to the answer of Wil Myers.

The reason for selecting Myers comes down to his speed. The hardest category for a player to grow to meet Goldschmidt is steals. Rizzo is probably the closest of the top five but I still struggle to expect 10 steals let alone 20 from him.

In contrast Myers has stolen 48 bases across the last two years and to expect close to 20 again this year is not a stretch so let’s tick that category. In terms of power, runs and RBI he has had 58 HRs across the last two years (28 & 30) and had a combined 193 runs and RBI in 2016. 2017 was slightly lower but I do expect a little more from that offense this year as the young players should continue to develop around him and to expect 180-200 combined runs and RBI is not a huge stretch. We now have four of the five categories covered but the last one is going to need some pretty big improvement.

Last year Wil Myers hit below 0.250 and for him to be better than Goldschmidt he is going to need to be at least 0.290 if not 0.300. In order to do that he is going to have to cut down his strikeouts from over 27% to closer to 20% and given that his best is 21.7% in 2015.

I would argue it is doable. Myers is only 27 and we have seen him develop as a hitter in San Diego so now working on plate discipline is that last thing he really needs to do to become an all-around top tier talent at the position. The last point I will make is that he hit 0.293 in his debut season with the Rays in 2013 while striking out nearly 25% so he has shown he can hit for average and still strikeout.

Ideally you would think to make it sustainable he needs to cut the strikeouts down and focus on getting the ball in play. I’m not saying it’s going to be a sure thing but it is feasibly possible and finding a guy with a few years MLB experience who is still young enough to grow as a hitter is rare but Myers might just be that guy in 2018.

Matt York - Associated Press

Matt York – Associated Press

Cody Bellinger (KR)

While Ben makes some strong points in regards to Myers taking over the top overall spot, the clear answer for me is Cody Bellinger. A season ago, he was a revelation after getting the call from the Dodgers. Bellinger hit 39 homers with 97 RBI, scored 87 runs all while hitting .267. These numbers are very similar to the first season for Kris Bryant, only Bellinger hit 13 more home runs in 102 less plate appearances.

The power production should not be a question going into 2018. 35 plus homers and a RBI total approaching the century mark feels very fair.

As Ben mentioned when talking about Myers, the stolen base potential must be there to challenge Goldy. Bellinger had seven steals when he was called up to Majors last season and added 10 more in Los Angeles. The potential to reach 20 is very much in the realm of possibilities.

The last piece for Bellinger to eclipse Goldschmidt is the batting average. A sub .270 average will not get the job done. Bryant was able to make a jump from .275 to north of .290. Bellinger has to show the same type of growth. It would likely need to be accompanied by a increased walk rate and cutting down on the strikeout rate.

Stay tuned to for more in the “Make the Case” Series.

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