Diamondbacks' Goldschmidt Developing More Than Just Power

PHOENIX—Paul Goldschmidt hit the first home run at the Diamondbacks' spiffy new spring training facility in Scottsdale this year, a long drive onto the berm in left field that went 420 feet if it went an inch. It was both an example of his previous work and a harbinger.

The first baseman was tied for the minor league lead with 11 homers while hitting .351/.492/.742 in his first month at Double-A Mobile this season, although it should not be surprising. Goldschmidt was third in the minors with 35 homers and was named the high Class A California League MVP last season at Visalia after being an eighth-round pick in 2009 out of Texas State. 

"He's always done what he's doing now," Arizona farm director Mike Bell said. "The more you hit, the more pitches you see, your hand-eye coordination keeps getting better."

It was a situational at-bat that caught Arizona manager Kirk Gibson's eye this spring. With runners on the corners and the infield in, he fouled off of a two-strike pitch and laid off a breaking ball before driving an RBI-single to center field.

"That's what I'm looking for. I'm looking for guys that are going to dig in in those situations. I don't want to see guys just pulling off the ball. 'Goldy' is a young kid, and he shows some spirit about himself. I like it," Gibson said.

The 6-foot-3, 244-pound Goldschmidt has always had that tool. He was the Southland Conference's hitter of the year his last two seasons at Texas State, and had 36 homers in 2009-18 at Texas State and 18 more at Rookie-level Missoula. Goldschmidt also has an eye—he was leading the Southern League with 28 walks in 28 games—and an uncommon athleticism for a player his size. Bell has seen a work ethic to go with it.

"I'm just as impressed with his defense," Bell said. "He wants to be an above-average defender and he puts in the time to do that. He moves well."

Snake Bites

• Righthander Charles Brewer pitched three scoreless innings in his return to the mound May 6. Brewer suffered a concussion the second week of April, when he struck his head on a cement wall while moving to avoid a foul ball that was hit into the Mobile dugout. Brewer, 11-8, 2.45 with an organizational-high 153 strikeouts at low Class A South Bend and Visalia last season, made his next start before telling anyone of his injury.

• Visalia lefthander Tyler Skaggs led the Cal League in strikeouts with 53 in 39 innings. The 19-year-old was 1-3, 3.46 through his first seven starts.