Earlier this month, Paul Goldschmidt did something he had never done before in well over 800 major league games — he stole home.
The four-time All-Star scored on the back end of a double theft in which the New York Mets botched a rundown play and paved the way for a 5-4 victory for the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 16. New York’s Lucas Duda evoked memories of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series with an errant throw to the plate, prompting D-backs manager Torey Lovullo to call it “blind luck.”
But that play was about more than just good fortune. The Diamondbacks are one of baseball’s most aggressive baserunning teams, and Goldschmidt is a more than willing participant. With his latest steal, the power-hitting Goldschmidt, who is far from slow but whose speed on the bases will never be confused with Billy Hamilton’s, kept up his pace to potentially become baseball’s first 30-30 performer in five years.
Mike Trout and Ryan Braun were the last to get there, as each collected at least 30 homers and 30 steals in 2012. A first baseman has not reached both benchmarks since 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Bagwell did it in 1997 and 1999. That should warm Goldschmidt’s heart — he grew up as an Astros fan in Texas and was a fan of both Bagwell and Craig Biggio.
As for Goldschmidt’s shot at achieving 30-30 in 2017, he has a few factors in his favor. First, there’s the D-backs’ take-no-prisoners approach on the basepaths. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Snakes are the runaway leaders in successful double steals under first-year skipper Lovullo, following a philosophy also employed by dismissed predecessor Chip Hale.
By Doug Mittler