First base is one of the deepest positions in all of baseball, possessing an eclectic crop of talent including power hitters such as Edwin Encarnacion and Anthony Rizzo, high-average hitters like Joey Votto and Jose Abreu and some who are just pure hittersMiguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt come to mind.

But if you could pick any of them right now to play first base for a season, who would be the best choice?

The obvious selection would be Cabrera. After all, he won the Triple Crown in 2012 and was the American League MVP in both 2012 and 2013. He is the best pure hitter on the planet, possessing the unique ability to hit for both average and power.

But Cabrera’s 2014 performance really makes him stand out from the rest of the pack. That year, he hit .313 with 25 home runs and 109 RBI in what was labeled a down year. Anybody who can hit over .300 and pass the 25-homer, 100-RBI plateau in a “down year” must be an absolute stud at the plate.

While Cabrera definitely is that, he would not be my choice this season. My selection would be Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, the best all-around first baseman in the league right now.

Not an overly heralded prospect coming out of Texas State, Goldschmidt broke out in 2012, hitting .286 with 20 homers in his first full big league season.

He improved on that in 2013 with MVP-caliber production, racking up a league-leading 36 home runs and 125 RBI while hitting .302. He also led the league in slugging percentage, OPS and OPS+, according to

Goldy was on his way to similar numbers last year, but he suffered a fluke injury when he was hit by an Ernesto Frieri fastball in early August, which forced him to miss the final two months of the season. He still finished with a .300 batting average, 19 home runs and an All-Star Game appearance, though, and he was primed for a huge year in 2015.

As expected, he has started this year on a tear. Through 15 games, the slugging first baseman has already hit five home runs, driven in a league-leading 16 runs, scored 13 runs and stolen two bases. He is also getting on base at a stellar .415 clip.

Cabrera is off to a hot start, too, hitting .367 with two home runs so far in 2015. But that doesn’t change the fact that I would want Goldschmidt as my first baseman right now.

Goldschmidt, 27, is five years younger than Cabrera and does not have the injury history that the Tigers slugger has. Cabrera had core surgery after the 2013 season to repair muscles in his groin that connect to the abdomen, and he had ankle surgery this past offseason to remove bone spurs in his right ankle and repair a stress fracture.

While Cabrera seems to have recovered from these injuries without much difficulty, the threat of injury is always there for him. Goldschmidt, however, has not been injured, except for that fluke last year, courtesy of a Frieri fastball.

Goldschmidt is also a better fielder than Cabrera is. Goldy won a Gold Glove in 2013, when his 5.4 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) was the sixth best in the league among first basemen, according to FanGraphs. Cabrera, on the other hand, has never won any kind of defensive award and has recorded mediocre-at-best defensive metrics throughout his career.

And don’t forget Goldschmidt‘s ability to steal bases. It’s not like he’s Billy Hamilton on the bases, but he stole 15 bases in 2013 and likely would have matched that in 2014 if not for his injury. That’s a high number of steals for a first baseman, and it’s another way that Goldschmidt separates himself from the rest of the pack.

Cabrera is undoubtedly the better pure hitter, but that doesn’t make up for the other areas.

So, taking into account his younger body, his fewer surgeries, his better defensive ability and the fact that he is a legitimate threat to steal bases, Goldschmidt is a better all-around player than Cabrera isand he is the player I would want at first base for one season.

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