There are a couple of fantasy baseball deep sleepers each year that can make the difference for your team. The following 2012 profile of Paul Goldschmidt will analyze the chances that he might be one of the next big sleepers. He was selected based on my simple selection process which is detailed in this introductory post.
ADP as of this posting: 142.97 (Round 12/13 in 12-team league)
Projected 2012 Role: Starting 1B
2011 Production: .250 AVG, 8 HR, 28 R, 26 RBI, 4 SB in 177 PA
My 2012 Prediction: .270 AVG, 30 HR, 80 R, 90 RBI, 5 SB as starter
Do you want to know why people are excited about Goldschmidt’s potential? I’ll sum it up like this: 83 HR in 315 minor league games. That translates to nearly 43 HR’s over 162 games. In other words, the kid’s got muscles. He catapulted to the major league level last year while skipping over Triple-A so he was in a situation where he had to adjust quickly. That situation didn’t turn out amazing for him but it didn’t turn out horribly either. He had hit .317 in his minor league career but only managed a .250 AVG last year and his power numbers didn’t quite match up to his prolific minor league numbers.
He has the characteristics that you expect to see in a young slugger. Comparing him to a Mike Stanton, they have a similar walk rate (about 10%), strikeout rate (25-30%), flyball rate (nearing 40%) and HR/FB rate (over 20%). One of the differences in Goldschmidt is that his linedrive rate is higher which plays a role in his potential for a higher batting average than a Mike Stanton.
There’s no doubt about Goldschmidt’s power but he is stashed away at the bottom the Diamondback’s lineup at this point which certainly doesn’t help him out because it limits his plate appearances and RBI/Run opportunities.
At this point in time, Goldschmidt is being projected to be drafted in around the 12th round which means that he would likely have to be a starter for your team if you want him. That’s a high-risk proposition. While everything I mentioned is positive thus far, you should be aware of the possible negatives. Having skipped Triple-A, there will likely continue to be lots of learning for him to do and he might experience high strikeout rates with the potential to be sent back down to the minors at any point to make some adjustments (a la Brandon Belt). Also, Lyle Overbay has been signed to backup Goldschmidt so is ready to spell Goldy whenever struggles come about. Any small hiccup with the youngster and the Diamondbacks might get cautious which is not what you want to happen with your 12th round draft pick.
Sleeperific. This is a potentially roster-changing player for your team. Imagine getting a legitimate power hitter in the 12th round after all. However, we’ve seen our fair share of young stars struggle to adjust in their first years and Goldschmidt could be no different. He represents a risk. If you draft him, create your own insurance plan behind him (the Diamondbacks did it for themselves already).