Paul Goldschmidt is having one heck of a breakout season. As of this writing he has 43 runs, 15 homers, 58 RBI, and 6 steals, which sporting a .326 average through 227 at bats. Are we witnessing the maturation of an elite performer that we will be talking about drafting in the first round in upcoming seasons? I think so and I’m going to spend the rest of this post trying to convince you as well.
I typically follow a 4-step formula when I profile a player. I usually open with some sort of joke, which admittedly are hit and miss. At best they get a slight chuckle, while at their worst they cause you to roll your eyes right to the back button. For example:
What is the secret to Goldy’s success? Jazzercising!
I warned you that the jokes were hit or miss.
2. Biographical Information
Next, I give some biographical information. I dig up something about the player as a person that I think is interesting, while also given pertinent information like their handedness. I do this because I think it’s not only fun to learn more about the player, but it think it increases the enjoyment of fantasy baseball as you can root more for your guys. Plus, if you realize you have something in common, you might want to be friends some day. For example:
The 25-year-old righty is universally praised for both his humility and his work-ethic. Goldschmidt met his wife Any in college and they were married in 2010. In their free time together – according to playerswives.com (Why have I not discovered that site until now?!?!) – she routinely trounces him at golf.
His hobbies include medieval reenactment and antiquing. No? Oh. Well that must be this guy then. Wait until you click through and see that cute kitty!
If you didn’t feel like you knew Paul Goldschmidt before, you sure feel like you do now after that handy bio.
At this point it’s time to get to the numbers. I love this part and with no hyperbole I can say that I spend a metric crapton (larger than an Imperial crapton) of time researching this section. In addition to the numbers I like to add context, such as lineup and stadium factors. For example:
I have written before about how I believe Goldschmidt’s work ethic has lead him to make adjustments at the plate that brought his strikeouts down and his walks up. I can’t find where I wrote that before, which drives me crazy because I love a good opportunity to point out that I was right, and right I was because Goldy’s striking out at a 21.7% clip, the lowest of his career, while his BB% is at 11.8%, his highest. He’s not just a power bat, he’s an accomplished all-around Major League hitter.
His ISO has also surged this season. Well, surge might be too strong a word because he’s always muscled the ball, but it is sitting high at .263, a sustainable number for Goldy. Additionally, Goldy’s home runs and fly balls are traveling over 315 ft on average. So it’s not surprising that his HR/FB is 15%, another sustainable number for Goldschmidt. Put simply, 15% of the fly balls that he hits leave the yard. Goldy hit ball, ball go far.
But beyond maintaining the home run pace, this bodes well for this bating average as well. Well hit balls go for hits more frequently than a dribbler to the short stop (duh). So we’ve established that the homers are here to stay, his batting average is likely to stay strong, plus his position in the lineup will allow him to drive in and score runs. Throw the fact that he he’ll add a dozen steals this year and I want to marry this guy.
4. Fantasy Outlook
But what does this mean for fantasy? We’re at the point in the season where many of the key batting indicators have stabilized. Goldy’s breakout is legit and it will continue. Consider him part of the core to a very strong dynasty team and I fully expect he’ll be talking about in the first round conversation of 2014′s fantasy baseball draft because he’s elite, no question about it.