SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Don't ask Paul Goldschmidt about his breakout season of a year ago. That's ancient history. Besides, anyone who tries to get the Arizona first baseman to talk about himself is wasting his breath. Goldschmidt is as humble and low-key as a big-time player can get, But at the plate, his bat makes a lot of noise.
In his second full major league season a year ago, he led the National League in RBIs with 125, tied for the lead in homers at 36 and hit .302. Oh, and he won a Gold Glove for his defense.
It was a performance that earned him a second-place finish to Andrew McCutchen in MVP voting.
The Diamondbacks have made him the face of the franchise. When they tried to lure Japanese hurler Hiroshi Tanaka, Goldschmidt was part of the entourage. When Arizona needed to take someone to Australia to promote the season-opening series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Goldschmidt made the trip.
"Goldy is a franchise's dream," Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said. "He is as big a star off the field as he is on it. ... He exemplifies what a role model is and goes above and beyond to assist the organization with the recruitment of players, building our community presence and representing it with the highest level of class and dignity."
And he's a whale of a bargain, by the standards of baseball salaries these days.
Before last season, after one full year in the majors, he signed a four-year, $32 million deal that kicks in this year and puts him under contract through 2017 with a $14.5 million club option for 2018.
Now the question is whether he is a one-year wonder or truly destined for something special. Given his temperament and dedication, the latter seems a safe bet.
Not that he'll say much about that.
"I never really thought about it," Goldschmidt said. "You want to go out and play well every year. It doesn't matter whether you had a great year or a bad year the year before, you've got to go out and do it. We all start with no hits, no RBIs, no average so it doesn't matter what happened."
Teammate Aaron Hill marvels at how Goldschmidt carries himself at age 26 with such a short time in the big leagues.
"How he's able to slow the game down already is impressive," Hill said before Monday's workout. "Sometimes it takes a guy a little longer than that. If he can continue to have the same work ethic and mind frame and is always trying to get better, he's' going to have a long, successful career."