2012 Projection: Can Paul Goldschmidt Deliver More Than Just Power?

While first base is generally considered among the deepest in all of fantasy sports, things have gotten even better with a recent influx in youngsters at the position.  Among those who have burst onto the scene is the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt, who made the jump from Double-A to the Majors as a 23-year old (he turned 24 in September) and posted the following line:

156 At Bats
.250 Batting Average (39 Hits)
8 Home Runs
26 RBI
28 Runs
4 Stolen Bases
.333 On Base Percentage
.474 Slugging Percentage
.323 BABIP

Goldschmidt caught everyone’s attention during his time at Double-A in 2011, hitting 30 HR in 366 AB.  You couple that with the 53 HR he hit over his first two seasons after being drafted in the eighth round of the 2009 draft and you have a player with 83 HR in 1,178 AB in the minor leagues.  That’s a home run every 14.2 AB.

Let’s compare that to some of the best home run hitters in the Major Leagues in 2011:

  • Jose Bautista – HR every 11.9 AB
  • Matt Kemp – HR every 15.4 AB
  • Mike Stanton – HR every 15.2 AB
  • Ryan Braun – HR every 17.1 AB

Obviously the competition is dramatically different, but in his first taste of the Major Leagues Goldschmidt delivered a home run once every 19.5 AB.  With more experience would it really be a surprise if he delivered like one of the elite sluggers in the game?  If it is power that you are looking for, Goldschmidt is going to be a great selection, especially calling Arizona home.

With power should come RBI and at least some R, especially since he should ultimately hit fifth or sixth in the lineup.  Obviously, if he starts the season hitting seventh (or settles into the sixth slot) he won’t score as many runs as he would hitting fourth or fifth, but if he can get to 70+ he should be alright.

The problem with Goldschmidt is the potential to struggle mightily in the average department, and it’s a potentially big issue.  He has suffered from strikeout issues since being drafted, and they culminated in the Major Leagues last season:

  • 2009 – Rookie League (287 AB) – 22.4%
  • 2010 – Single-A (525 AB) – 26.9%
  • 2011 – Double-A (366 AB) – 20.1%
  • 2011 – Majors (156 AB) – 29.9%

It’s not a surprise to see the leap forward against the tougher competition and, given what he did in Single-A in ’10, it may not be a completely unrealistic number either.  He did show some improvement with a little experience, going from a 32.6% strikeout rate in August to a 27.3% mark in September.  It’s not much, but at least it’s something.

If he can maintain a mark in the 27-28% range, given his power upside, he isn’t likely going to kill you in the average department (think around .255-.270).  The problem is it’s going to be a risky proposition.

What happens if the power isn’t quite what we expect?  The average is going to plummet (as is his overall value anyways).

What happens if the strikeouts remain extremely high?  He’s not going to hit for a strong average, which also will cost him RBI opportunities (since he won’t be making contact).

What happens if he doesn’t have much luck?  Well, you can see above, because it’s going to be the same scenario as if high strikeouts.

You put everything together and here’s what I am projecting for Goldschmidt for the 2012 campaign:

.260 (130-500), 29 HR, 85 RBI, 70 R, 6 SB, .318 BABIP, .337 OBP, .500 SLG

The bottom line with Goldschmidt is that, while he has the potential to have a monster 2012 season, he also has the potential to be a player similar to Mark Reynolds.  Obviously that’s a player with value, but not quite as much since he’s almost going to cripple you in one category.  Just keep that in mind before setting your sights on him on draft day.

Is he a player I would recommend?  Yes, but more as a corner infielder and if I can get him at a discount.  There’s too much risk involved in investing highly in him.

What are your thoughts of Goldschmidt?  Is he a player you believe is worth drafting?  What type of numbers are you expecting from him in 2012?

***** Order the Rotoprofessor 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, complete with updates from January through the start of the season, for just $6! As an added bonus, if you purchase by 3/15 you will be entered to win a Michael Pineda autographed baseball! To place your order click here. *****

Make sure to check out our 2012 projections:

State of the Profressor - March 5, 2012
Spring Training Summary: March 4: Julio Teheran, Francisco Liriano & More

One comment

  1. Nick Tenaglia says:

    My take is that he will be the next Mark Reynolds….

    Last year Goldy had a .250 Avg with a reasonable BABIP of .323, considering his LD Rate of 21% (expected BABIP of .330). Considering that all 1Bs last year combined for a LD Rate of 20%, I wouldn’t say that Goldschmidt’s numbers are anomalies for his skill set. That being said, even with an above average LD Rate, his Avg was below the norm – so I would say that expecting even a .260 number would be best case scenario.

    Now as far as power numbers are concerned, he is easily destined for major power production. Last season, the #6 spot in the D-Backs order racked up about 640 PAs. So let’s use Goldschmidt’s 11% BB Rate and 20% HR/FB Ratio to throw out some scenarios…
    Let’s assume his K-Rate can vary anywhere from 25% to 29%, and his FB% can range from the 36% he put up last season, to the league average for 1B’s in 2011 of 38.6%. Using those two variables (K% and FB%), and assuming 640 PAs, Goldy’s HR total can range anywhere from 27 to 32.

    Lastly, again looking at the D-Backs #6 spot from last year, the #6 batter scored a total of 81 runs, with a .335 OBP. Seeing as how that OBP number is right in line with what Goldschmidt should produce, 75 Runs should be a fair projection for him if he gets full-time PAs. Also, the D-Backs #6 hitter also knocked in 92 runs, which is actually a number that I think Goldschmidt can improve upon, seeing as how his OPS should be higher than the .750 that all of the #6 hitters put up last year.

    If I had to throw out a projection, it would be extremely similar to that of the Professor, but with a lower average (.252) and more RBIs (94)

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