The Paul Goldschmidt Dinger Test

Is Paul Goldschmidt underrated? Probably, yes. Is Paul Goldschmidt the most underrated player in all of baseball? Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s a tricky question, with no possible answer. I mean, on the one hand, Goldschmidt is the National League vote leader at first base for the All-Star Game, and his lead is something like a million votes. People know who Paul Goldschmidt is, and they think he’s great. But there’s also the feel test, and while everyone’s results will be different, it feels to me like Goldschmidt doesn’t get enough credit. Not that he cares — championships aren’t won upon public opinion — but more time should be spent considering his exploits. All those things we’ve said this year about Bryce Harper? Goldschmidt hasn’t really been any worse.

Some of it is the player himself — Goldschmidt isn’t one to linger in the spotlight. And some of it is the team — there’s no such thing as a forgettable MLB franchise, but relatively speaking, the Diamondbacks aren’t the Yankees. It’s easy enough to understand maybe overlooking Goldschmidt, or perhaps taking him a little for granted, yet he really is something else. He really is, right now, an MVP contender. Let’s seize this opportunity to focus on Goldschmidt and take the Paul Goldschmidt dinger test. What is the Paul Goldschmidt dinger test? It’s what’s starting right now. Geez.

For no particular reason, I selected eight different Goldschmidt swings from this year. You’ll see slow-motion video, pausing with Goldschmidt halfway through swinging. Your task, then, is very simple: vote in the poll. The vote: whether you think Paul Goldschmidt hit a home run. Answers will be provided at the bottom of the post, but don’t skip ahead until you’re finished. What’s the point of skipping ahead? You aren’t being graded on this.

Good luck to everyone!

Goldschmidt swing No. 1

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Goldschmidt swing No. 2

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Goldschmidt swing No. 3

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Goldschmidt swing No. 4

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Goldschmidt swing No. 5

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Goldschmidt swing No. 6

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Goldschmidt swing No. 7

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Goldschmidt swing No. 8

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

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Answer Key

Goldschmidt swing No. 1

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Yes!

I’m not actually sure who Tyler Wagner is, but I’m sure that, a few weeks ago, he gave up a dinger to Paul Goldschmidt. There doesn’t have to be any shame in that. It’s the first big-league dinger surrendered of Wagner’s career, and there are worse guys to give it up to. You notice Goldschmidt went out the other way. This year he has five home runs to the opposite field. His wRC+ that way is 207; for his career, it’s 194. He already has more opposite-field homers than he hit last season.

Goldschmidt swing No. 2

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Yes!

You know Jered Weaver knew. Would be hard not to know. Goldschmidt is dangerous hitting to right and right-center, but he’s been even better up the middle. On the year, he has a 264 wRC+ to center, ranking him fifth in the league.

Goldschmidt swing No. 3

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Yes!

Nevermind Brett Anderson’s extraordinary groundball rate; you can’t keep the ball down against everyone. This year, against southpaws, Goldschmidt has a 220 wRC+, ranking him third in the league. His wOBA, if you prefer, is a silly-looking .501.

Goldschmidt swing No. 4

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Yes!

So, Goldschmidt has that 220 wRC+ against lefties, but he also has a 203 wRC+ against righties, even though in theory that’s the platoon disadvantage. And maybe this is what a platoon disadvantage looks like, for Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt’s been baseball’s second-best hitter against righties, and he’s been baseball’s very best right-handed hitter against righties.

Goldschmidt swing No. 5

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Yes!

To review, Goldschmidt has been outstanding hitting to the opposite field. He’s been outstanding going up the middle. And he’s been baseball’s best pull hitter, with a 354 wRC+. Second place is more than 50 points away. Second place, as it happens, is Giancarlo Stanton. Goldschmidt is the very model of an all-fields threat, and that’s the very model of an ideal offensive superstar.

Goldschmidt swing No. 6

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Yes!

Unsurprisingly, Goldschmidt is at his best when he puts the ball in the air. On fly balls, he has a 356 wRC+, third-best in baseball. Over his career, it’s a somewhat comparable 283. How about trying some Statcast data? On balls hit in the air, Goldschmidt has averaged a batted-ball speed of 98.7 miles per hour, second from the top. He’s no Stanton in that regard, but no one else is a Goldschmidt.

Goldschmidt swing No. 7

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

Yes!

Maybe we don’t need splits. Splits are fun, but they can distract from the overall picture. Overall, the only hitter better than Goldschmidt this year has been Harper. So, Goldschmidt has been the No. 1 right-handed hitter, a good deal more productive so far than Miguel Cabrera. Goldschmidt also has baseball’s No. 2 walk rate, because, in case you haven’t noticed, he’s terrifying. He does everything. He hits for average. He hits for power. He gets on base in between the extra-base hits. Used to be a time Goldschmidt was considered a middling prospect and a future platoon first baseman. What he’s become is one of the greatest hitters of his generation, and he’s not 28 until September.

Goldschmidt swing No. 8

Did Paul Goldschmidt hit a dinger?

No

Way to keep him in the yard, Gio Gonzalez.





Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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It’s actually pretty impressive to predict this horribly from work, where the images/video are disabled. I want to see what I can do if I see the images.