This is the second in a series that looks at the five best players at each position for every Major League team. The focus of this article is the first and third basemen with the Arizona Diamondbacks, a franchise that began play in 1998.
The Best First and Third Basemen in Diamondbacks History
5. Craig Counsell – The current Brewers manager spent six years with the Diamondbacks in two stints in the 2000s. A versatile infielder, Counsell also played second base and shortstop. His biggest claim to fame was when he hit .381 and earned the National League Championship Series MVP award in Arizona’s championship season of 2001.
4. Eduardo Escobar – In his two full seasons with Arizona, Escobar posted some solid numbers. He had 35 home runs and 118 RBIs, along with a league-leading 10 triples in 2019. Two years later, he earned his only All-Star selection after tallying 22 home runs and 65 RBIs in 98 games before being traded to the Brewers at the end of July. Escobar is filling in for an injured Anthony Rendon with the Angels after being traded by the Mets earlier this season.
3. Jake Lamb – Escobar’s predecessor, Lamb also had two quality seasons manning the hot corner in the desert. He had 29 home runs and 91 runs batted in during the 2016 season, then put up 30-105 marks and was selected as an All-Star the following year. He gets the nod over Escobar on the list because he helped the Diamondbacks reach the National League Division Series in 2017 (after a 4-for-5 performance in the Wild Card game).
2. Mark Reynolds – He was a productive player during his four seasons with Arizona, but he was also a strikeout machine. Reynolds hit at least 28 home runs and drove in at least 85 runs every season from 2008-10, including hitting 44 homers and driving in 102 runs in 2009. However, he also led the National League in strikeouts with more than 200 in each of those three seasons. Reynolds also hit two home runs during the 2007 playoffs as the Diamondbacks reached the NLCS.
1. Matt Williams – He finished off his storied career by driving in 381 runs in 595 games over five seasons in the desert. Williams hit .303 with 35 home runs and 142 RBIs in 1999. That season, he earned his only All-Star selection with Arizona and finished third in the NL Most Valuable Player voting behind Chipper Jones and Jeff Bagwell. Overall, he led the Diamondbacks to three postseason appearances and drove in seven runs during the 2001 World Series.
5. Travis Lee – Like Williams, Lee started Arizona’s first game (he homered in a 9-2 loss to the Rockies on March 31, 1998). Lee played 2 1/2 years with the Diamondbacks and finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1998.
4. Mark Grace – The slick-fielding Grace played 335 games in three seasons with Arizona. He homered and drove in three runs during the 2001 World Series victory.
3. Conor Jackson – He split his six seasons in Arizona between first base and left field. Another solid fielder, Jackson drove in 247 runs in 526 games from 2005-10, and he helped the Diamondbacks reach the NLCS in 2007.
2. Chrisitan Walker – Arizona’s current first baseman has been with the team since 2017, when he played sparingly in the National League Division Series. Like many of the other first basemen on this list, Walker is a superb fielder. He won a Gold Glove in 2022 while also posting career highs with 36 home runs and 94 runs batted in.
1. Paul Goldschmidt – Before he became an MVP with the Cardinals (during the 2022 season), Goldschmidt spent his first eight years with the Diamondbacks. He earned six All-Star selections, three Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger awards. In 2013, he led the National League with 36 home runs and 125 runs batted in while hitting .302 and finishing second in the NL MVP race (to Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen).
Two years later, he posted a .321-33-110 stat line and was the runner-up to Bryce Harper in MVP voting (he also finished in the top 10 two other times. In addition to his regular season numbers, Goldschmidt has four home runs and 11 RBIs in eight postseason games.
Other articles in the Diamondbacks series:
Catchers and managers
Middle infielders – coming soon
Outfielders – coming soon
Pitchers – coming soon