Paul Goldschmidt, Speed Demon

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For the second consecutive season, Paul Goldschmidt will take the field as the starting first baseman for the NL All-Stars. If you him take and rake at the plate, it’s easy to understand why. Goldschmidt is enjoying his best offensive season yet, ranking ninth among MLB hitters in home runs (20), third in walk rate (18.1% of his plate appearances), and second in adjusted OPS (94% better than the big league average). The former 8th-round pick has cobbled together one of the most impressive early-career resumes ever for a first baseman. Among players at the position with at least 2,000 career plate appearances through age 27, just Frank Thomas (183 OPS+), Lou Gehrig (179), Jimmie Foxx (175), Johnny Mize (174), Albert Pujols (167), Hank Greenberg (160), George Sisler (155) and Jeff Bagwell (154) have outhit Goldschmidt (152 OPS+).

Everybody knows Goldschmidt can take over a game offensively, but did you know he can also beat teams with his legs? While he might look like a base clogger, the 6-foot-4, 245 pounder is far from your stereotypical plodding first baseman. Goldschmidt has swiped 15 bases already in 2015, which ranks 10th among all players and puts him in the same territory as Starling Marte, Lorenzo Cain and Brett Gardner. He’s an efficient base thief, too, with a 79% success rate. If he keeps hitting bombs and stealing bases at this pace, Goldschmidt’s 2015 will go down as one of the best power-speed seasons ever at a position where players turn in sundial times down the first base line.

Goldschmidt is on pace to launch 40 homers and nab 30 bases in 2015. There’s only one first baseman currently in the 40-30 club: Jeff Bagwell, who accomplished the feat in 1997 (43 HR, 31 SB) and 1999 (42 HR, 30 SB). If you lower the bar to 30 homers and 30 steals, it’s still an ultra-exclusive club (Joe Carter had 32 HR and 31 SB in 1987). Lower the bar even further to 30 homers and 20 steals, and just six players (Bagwell, Carl Yastrzemski, Rafael Palmeiro, Carter, Derrek Lee and Ryan Klesko) have ever displayed such a potent bat and base running prowess. No one’s going to mistake him for Billy Hamilton, but Goldschmidt doesn’t cease being a threat when he reaches base. If pitchers don’t home him close during the All-Star Game in Cincinnati on July 14, Goldschmidt’s wheels could help the NL earn home-field advantage during the World Series.