ESPN analyst admits two D-backs have ‘exceeded expectations’
It takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong.
Baseball analyst Keith Law of ESPN is a big man.
OK, so he wasn’t necessarily totally wrong, but in an Insider piece, Law listed six Major League Baseball players whom have exceeded his initial expectations and he thinks will continue to do so.
A third of the list is made up of Arizona Diamondbacks. Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin — the club’s best player and pitcher — are the first two mentioned on Law’s admission.
He’s among the best in the game at addressing holes or weaknesses, whether in his swing or on defense or on the bases, such as closing the hole he’d showed on the inner half in his first half-season in the majors, where right-handers especially could beat him with velocity. Now, he has become a very patient hitter with power to left and to right-center, an above-average to plus defender at first, and an asset on the bases because of how well he reads pitchers.
Goldschmidt, an eighth-round pick out of Texas State by the Diamondbacks in 2008, currently leads the National League with 34 home runs and 118 RBI — 15 more than any other player on the senior circuit. He also tops the NL in slugging percentage, OPS (on-base plus slugging) and ranks 11th with a .305 batting average.
What I did wrong, however, was to violate one of my cardinal rules — always bet on good athletes. Corbin, a basketball star in high school, is very athletic, and if you believe in the maxim that athletic guys are more likely to experience large improvements … well, that’s what happened here, as Corbin showed up in 2013 with a faster arm, and the better fastball and slider to go along with it.
The 24-year-old lefty leads the D-backs with 14 wins in his first full year as a member of the rotation. Corbin went 12-2 in his first 14 decisions and represented the franchise at the MLB All-Star Game in New York in July.
Also appearing on Law’s list were St. Louis second baseman Matt Carpenter, Dodgers’ phenom Yasiel Puig, Washington’s Ian Desmond and Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino.