Prospects: Top 5 Candidates Who Could Be Arizona's 2012 Paul Goldschmidt

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Prospects: Top 5 Candidates Who Could Be Arizona's 2012 Paul Goldschmidt
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

By Opening Day 2011, many had projected the Arizona Diamondbacks would follow their 2010 NL West last place finish with another season in the cellar.

By the All-Star break, the Diamondbacks were just three games behind the NL West leading San Francisco Giants at 49-43, pitcher Ian Kennedy was in the midst of a Cy Young campaign and center fielder Justin Upton was en route to a fourth-place MVP finish.

Still, the Diamondbacks were reeling from the loss of shortstop Stephen Drew to injury, the struggles of second baseman Kelly Johnson and the inconsistent play at first base by the likes of Xavier Nady, Juan Miranda, Russell Branyan, Lyle Overbay and Brandon Allen.

Then on August 1, the Diamondbacks tapped a Double-A prospect by the name of Paul Goldschmidt and went on a tear, winning the NL West just as the Giants were suffering demolition problems of their own.

In the end, the rookie Goldschmidt contributed eight home runs and 26 RBI to go along with an OPS of .808 and 28 runs scored in his 48-game 2011 MLB season.

In going from worst to first, Arizona relied on the unknown yet highly touted and honored Goldschmidt, who had been named to virtually every minor league All-Star team imaginable in 2010 and 2011.

With the Diamondbacks looking to repeat in 2012, the question emerges:

Who will be Arizona's 2012 incarnation of late 2011 rookie sensation Paul Goldschmidt?

The D'backs have several impressive prospects waiting in the wings, just waiting for the opportunity to prove themselves in the show.

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