This might be controversial.
It certainly was 19 years ago when Dolly the Sheep was born. Her arrival marked the first time scientists managed to successfully clone a mammal, and it captured the world’s imagination in ways both good and bad.
Naturally, people saw the achievement as a pre-cursor to some slightly darker version of Multiplicity, and here we are in 2015, still modifying genes of farm animals.
But I say unto you today, as an avid believer in science, progress and the Arizona Diamondbacks, that we should shed our fear of genetic engineering and clone Paul Goldschmidt.
With a full head of hair and muscles to boot, let’s face it, Goldschmidt is the closest thing baseball has to Captain America, and his statline through nearly one-third of the season has been equally comical/cartoonish/heroic.
Five Goldschmidts are better than one. (Courtesy of ESPN)
Two years ago, Goldschmidt came just shy of the MVP, but it’s not hard to see that he’s only now reaching his potential. Through 50 games, Goldy is batting .351 with 15 home runs and 43 RBIs. Stretch that out to a full 162 and he’d be staring down the barrel of a 49-homer, 142-RBI season.
He’s averaging a round-tripper every 14.8 at bats, but is by no means selling out for power, with a career-high walk-to-strikeout ratio and one of the best in the league.
Only Bryce Harper has rivaled Goldschmidt’s numbers, and in some statistical cases, hasn’t even then. The 27-old-old slugger has created a league-leading 53 runs for his team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and has been nothing short of obscene with runners in scoring position.
Paul Goldschmidt leads MLB in HR with RISP and is tied for the league-lead in RBIs with RISP. (Courtesy of Fangraphs)
Goldschmidt’s star keeps shining brighter, too. During the team’s latest road trip, admittedly against the Milwaukee Trash Can Punches, Goldy went 9-14 with three home runs. His stats over the past two weeks? .417/.541/.792.
The Diamondbacks have scored 234 runs – more runs than anyone in the NL to this point – but at 23-27, the Snakes have needed every bit of his production just to stay competitive. Imagine though, if you will, what an entire team of Goldschmidts might be like.
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Using Elias Sports Bureau’s Runs Created stat, nine starting Goldschmidts alone would produce 477 runs, 209 runs more than the MLB-pacing Blue Jays.
Yes, Mark Trumbo and David Peralta are great, but just think what Paul Goldschmidt might hit like if he were hitting in front of Paul Goldschmidt. Goldy has already been intentionally walked a whopping 10 times in 2015. One might hazard a guess that number would be lower if cloning were in play.
Sure, there would be hiccups. You might expect the DBacks’ defense to suffer, and perhaps it would. But Goldschmidt is a former Gold Glove winner and so far this season has exactly zero errors. Could he, at 6’3 and 225 pounds, cover ground like A.J. Pollock? Probably not. Could he play 3B as well as Yasmany Tomas? Sadly, I think we all know the answer to that.
But what about pitching, Tyler? What about pitching?? Yeah, you’re probably right. But no one is saying we have to get entirely clone-happy here. There’s nothing wrong with the DBacks trotting out a bunch of Goldschmidts and Chase Anderson. I will say we haven’t seen the man or his genetic copies pitch, so maybe giving the Cap’n a shot on the mound wouldn’t be the worst thing.
I’m aware this idea might not be popular. Critics might use words like “foolhardy,” “unnecessary” and “why?” But history is the ally of scientific advancement, so while other teams spend countless hours digesting analytics and studying shift effectiveness, I, for one, vote the Diamondbacks invest all their resources into the cloning of their most prominent player.
What’s the worst that could happen?