Question Submitted to RotoBaller >>
Fantasy Baseball Question: Why is everyone so enamored of Paul Goldschmidt? Guy is going really early in mock drafts. Where would you recommend taking him?
League Type, Categories and Player Pool: Roto 5x5, Mixed league
Roster Positions: Standard
RotoBaller Detailed Analysis >>
Thanks a lot for your question! And thank you for awakening me from my winter hibernation from fantasy baseball! Every year I need a couple months to regroup after the grueling slog of multiple competitive daily leagues. Lucky for you, around the new year I usually start my stats / fantasy consumption, and I’m well on my way to preparing for 2013!
Paul Goldschmidt’s ranking / ADP was something I was also puzzled over, so let’s dig into things further. Last year, his first full year in the bigs, he hit .286-20-82-82-18 in 514 AB. He was 24 years old. Those are very respectable numbers, good for 53rd overall and 5th for 1B. But his ADP is 20 (per Mock Draft Central) and he’s ranked within the top 25 almost universally, which means his backers are expecting a season around 285-28-100-95-15 . That would put him in elite hitting company and warrant a top 25 pick. The question is – what are the chances he actually achieves this?
What I won’t give you is an iron clad probability. What I can give you is a list of pros / cons to help understand how credible the projection is.
Pros (in favor of achieving the projection):
- Learning to Hit Righties – Goldschmidt hit righties better as the year went on
- Better Control – While a 22% K-rate for the year isn't great, and won’t let him hit higher than .290 without some serious BABIP luck, Goldschmidt cut his K-rate from 24% to 20.5% from the first to second half last year (his BB% also increased 1.5% from first to second half)
- 30th in OPS - As a 24 year old he was the youngest player in the top 30
- Legs - He racked up 18 SB last year
There are other stats as well, but the general picture is of a young emerging power hitter who should put up very solid 1B numbers and be right around the top 5 1B in fantasy.
- Limited Power Last Year - He only hit 20 HR last year in nearly a full season
- K's - Goldschmidt still strikes out a lot (33rd), and if you look at the names right around his in K%, you’re hard pressed to find guys who batted north of his .286. The chances he’ll repeat that avg. are slim unless his K% improves
- Legs? - Can you really count on a slugger like this to steal 18 SB again when he averaged less than 10 all previous seasons?
- Two Words: Eric Hosmer
- Track Record - Significantly, he hasn't put up those lofty projected numbers yet – if he had, it would be a lot easier to project him to do it again!
To me, this is a case of fantasy group think: some projections and pundits have this guy breaking out in a monster way, and everyone jumps on the bandwagon, which in turn causes more people to proclaim his monster campaign is nigh, which in turn causes even more people to jump on the wagon…rinse and repeat. This happened last year with Eric Hosmer, a similarly unproven player who ended up being a drag on every team he was on.
Here’s the thing: consider this handful of players who are being drafted after Goldscmhidt on Mock Draft Central: Adam Jones, Josh Hamilton, Giancarlo Stanton, David Wright, Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson, Jose Reyes, Dustin Pedroia. These are ALL guys who put up solid numbers year in and year out – they are proven, and they are being drafted in the first three rounds because of credibility and reliability. Goldschmidt has neither, but he does have a lot more hype! I guess I’m the exception to many out there, because I wouldn't draft Goldshmidt ahead of any of these guys.
YOUR ANSWER! >>
In summary, we have a young power hitter who did some special things last year, and could be on the verge of a true breakout, but has yet to truly justify his draft position / ranking. If Goldschmidt is being taken off the board in the 2nd round, I would definitely pass. If he gets to the 4th or 5th, then he could provide nice value, but even there you’re still banking on a guy to get to a level he has never been at before!
Hope this was helpful and thanks for your submission!
- The RotoBaller Staff