The Worldwide Leader decided to host its fifth annual franchise cornerstone draft, with 30 of its experts choosing a player to build their fictional team around.
The first few picks — Mike Trout first, Bryce Harper second, Giancarlo Stanton third — were of little surprise, as each is one of the best young players in the game.
But the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt, a perennial MVP candidate who is just 27 years old, fell all the way to 14th.
Grantland’s Jonah Keri got quite a steal at that point in the draft.
Why Keri selected Goldschmidt: You can count the number of hitters who’ll go .300/.400/.550 every year on one hand. Goldschmidt’s a card-carrying member of that elite fraternity, and this season has been his best to date. He’s an absolute terror at the plate, and he’s still just 27 years old. The days of ignoring him — whether in the draft (he lasted until the eighth round), or coming up in the minors (he was never ranked as a top-100 prospect) are long gone. Goldschmidt is a blue-chipper, and a worthy franchise player.
ESPN Stats & Info says: Goldschmidt is hitting .302 with 50 stolen bases since the start of 2012, and he’s one of five MLB players hitting .300 with 50 steals in that span. Mike Trout is the only one of them with more home runs than Goldschmidt (90).
Amazingly, Goldschmidt was not even the first first baseman off the board, with Eno Sarris choosing the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo fifth overall. Because apparently production and statistics don’t matter.
Other questionable pre-Goldy picks included the Orioles’ Manny Machado, the Cubs’ Kris Bryant and the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig.
Nevertheless, there’s no doubt Goldschmidt, if he even gets wind of this, will not care. And the D-backs, well, they’re more than happy to build their franchise around a guy who is hitting .349 with 16 home runs, 45 RBI, an on-base percentage of .470 and an OPS of 1.147, numbers that rank near the top of the major leagues.