Fantasy Baseball First Base Player Spotlight: The Case of Paul Goldschmidt at His ADP
Ray Kuhn breaks down Paul Goldschmidt and what to expect from him for the 2023 season.
Paul Goldschmidt is one of the more interesting players you will see while preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts in 2023. While it may seem like an odd statement to make about a seemingly vanilla player who is 35 years old, stick with us, and it will make more sense.
Why You Should Target Paul Goldschmidt at His ADP
In a career filled with really good seasons, Goldschmidt had one of his best years in 2022 for St. Louis. The first baseman hit .317 with 35 home runs, 115 RBI and 106 runs scored while also stealing seven bases. With production like that, it should not be a surprise that Goldschmidt has an NFBC ADP of 23 in 244 drafts since March 1st. To further highlight the case for Goldschmidt, he hit a home run on Sunday in the World Baseball Classic, and through quarterfinal action he is hitting .333 with five RBI while batting in the heart of the order.
Based on that, it seems like all of the points are there and our case is made. But with that being said, Goldschmidt is not for everyone.
The first knock against Goldschmidt, and if you are going to take this approach then there are others that also should get knocked down a peg, is that he is not a true stolen base threat. While those seven stolen bases last season were a nice bonus, he is another year older, and that is not something we can count on moving forward. There is a common school of thought, and I mostly subscribe to it as well, that you want to leave the first few rounds of your draft with a strong baseline in both home runs and stolen bases, and if that is the case Goldschmidt is not your guy. While he does hit home runs and is a proven run producer, he doesn’t share the true upside as a Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. Jr. or Pete Alonso.
Next, there is the thought process that, as he is another year older, Goldschmidt will not be able to duplicate last season’s success, but is that really the case?
Last season, Goldschmidt’s .317 batting average was seemingly boosted by a .368 BABIP, although for his career, his respective marks are .295 and .349, so that production is in line with what he previously has done. The problem though is that Goldschmidt’s .xBA of .261 is sure to catch your attention if you are looking to knock him down a peg. Historically, he has outperformed expected batting average metrics, albeit maybe not to this extent, but even at .275 we are still dealing with a pretty good player.
In all honesty, we just need to be realistic with what to expect here for 2023. While there is such a large gap between Goldschmidt’s .578 SLG and his .482 xSLG, we also need to note that his xSLG ranked in the 91st percentile overall last season so it was still quite impressive. Goldschmidt also came close to his career high ISO of .265 by recording a .260 ISO in 2022.
If we want to follow the Statcast train, there was a lot to be impressed with about Goldschmidt’s batted ball data as he had a 15.7 degree launch angle, 11.5% barrel rate, and 46.9% hard hit rate last season. Additionally, he ranked near the top of the league in the following metrics:
- Hard Hit Rate
- Max Exit Velocity
- Average Exit Velocity
- Barrel Rate
While none of that looks like the portfolio of a player on the decline, it is still something we should at least keep in the back of our minds. Perhaps the most important thing to remember here, is that Goldschmidt might have had one of the best seasons of his career in 2022, so we should not go chasing his maximum production. At the same time though, he has been quite consistent throughout his career, and while there might be a few cracks, it is nothing that will blow up in our faces. Even with a few less home runs, RBI, and points on his batting average, Goldschmidt is still a top tier player you should feel comfortable with for 2023.
The biggest variable here is a personal one when it comes to roster construction and how you feel comfortable building your team.