After his latest monster game last night Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is now hitting .301 with 32 homers and 114 RBIs on the season. He also brings an added dimension offensively that few first basemen can match, stealing a team-high 14 bases.
I was curious about how rare it is for a first baseman to hit .300 with 30-plus homers, 100-plus RBIs, and double-digit steals. Here’s the full list during the past 40 years (since 1974):
Jeff Bagwell 4 times
Albert Pujols 3
Andres Galarraga 2
PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT 1
Joey Votto 1
Derrek Lee 1
Mo Vaughn 1
First things first: Yes, that’s the same Mo Vaughn. He stole 11 bases in his MVP-winning 1995 season … and never stole more than four bases in any other season.
Overall during the past 40 seasons six different first basemen have hit .300-30-100 with double-digit steals and they’ve done it a total of 12 times, led by Jeff Bagwell’s four seasons of .300-30-100-10. If he can keep his batting average above .300 for the next two weeks Goldschmidt would become the seventh first baseman in the club since 1974.
Welp, that didn’t last long. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is going back on the injured list with more knee issues. If it matters the Sox say it’s not a big deal and they expect him back sooner rather than later, but they also said that his post-2017 knee surgery was just a “cleanup” at first and that basically cost him a year. So.
Pedroia has played in six games and is 2-for-20 with a walk.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Pedroia’s career may be nearing an end. Sure, he’s under contract for two more years after this season, but he’s also in a unfortunate spiral that so many players experience in their mid-to-late 30s.
Running a website like this makes it all the clearer, actually. When you search a player’s name in our CMS, you get every post in which he appears in reverse chronological order. Just about every long-tenured player ends with about six posts in which he is alternately placed on and activated from the disabled/injured list. Then an offseason link to a big feature in which he’s written about as being “at a crossroads” followed by something vague about “resuming baseball activities” and then, inevitably, the retirement announcement. I can’t count the number of guys whose careers I can tick off in that way by browsing the guts of this site.
I hope that’s not the case for Pedroia. I hope that there’s a “Pedroia wins Comeback Player of the Year” post in the future. Or at the very least a silly “Miller’s Crossing” reference in an “And that Happened” in which I say “the old man’s still an artist with the Thompson” after he peppers the ball around in some 3-for-4, two-double game. I want that stuff to happen.
It’s just that, if you watch this game long enough, you realize how unlikely that is once a player starts to break down.