Buy or Sell – The Arrival of Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Olson’s Career Season


Two of baseball’s best first basemen have an NFBC ADP First Draft next to each other. Those two players are Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Olson, and coincidentally (not) they are featured in our next installment of the Fantastic Baseball Buy or Sell series. Both players usually pick 50, and that feels like a position where fantastic managers should either target them early or wait. Towards the end of the season in 2021, we often found corner infielder streamers to connect to 15-team lineups. Goldschmidt left quietly on a tear to end the 2021 season to rack up some quality stats across the board. Olson built on his 2018 and 2019 seasons to finish with the best career numbers.


Things look bleak now, but there will be baseball in 2022! Why not get a head start and enter a Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Kick off the season with a Best Ball League or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new one-season league to try to conquer. There is no better time than now to play baseball!


Paul Goldschmidt (1B – TSL)

At 33, Paul Goldschmidt stole 12 perfect goals after totaling 10 in 2018 and 2019. Goldschmidt not only slyly racked up double-digit steals, but he absorbed counting stats and home plate appearances with 31 home runs, 102 points, and 99 RBI in 679 PA. He’s no stranger to high batting averages and OBPs with a BA of .294 and OBP of .365 in 2021 compared to a career of .276 BA and .360 OBP. From a counting stats perspective, it’s nice to see Goldschmidt hovering around 100 points plus RBI.

buy or sell

Watching the rolling wOBA we noticed Paul Goldschmidt started off slow and then picked it up towards the end of the season. Counting statistics, wOBA, and other metrics also show this. From April to June 2021, Goldschmidt hit 11 home runs, 41 runs, 42 RBIs and a 0.252 batting average. The .319 wOBA, .294 BABIP and 102 wRC + also line up.

buy or sell

Then, from July to October 2021, Goldschmidt smashed 20 home runs, 61 runs, 57 RBIs and a 0.334 batting average. Again, Goldschmidt’s .426 wOBA, .368 BABIP and 172 wRC + make sense. Whether you are a Goldschmidt member or not, these numbers indicate that we should be buying, not selling, the dominant performance in the final two months or so of the season.

buy or sell

Goldschmidt batted ball data

If we eliminate the shortened 2020 season, Paul Goldschmidt’s batted ball data looks similar with a% LD% of 23.5%, 40.3% FB%, and 39% Pull% in 2021. In Goldschmidt’s career, he had an LD% of 22.9%, 35.6% FB% and 37.4% Pull%. Most appear to be close to career averages outside of flyball and pull rates.

The same trend goes with plate discipline, as Goldschmidt typically had an above-average O-Swing% at 28.1% in 2021 with a career rate of 26.3%. Interestingly, Goldschmidt’s 81.1% Z-Contact% and 77.6% Contact% were just a few percentage points below the league average.

However, when Goldschmidt does make contact, he shoots the ball with a 13.6% barrel rate (85th percentile) and a hard hit rate of 50.6% (91st percentile). Throughout the Statcast era dating back to 2015, Goldschmidt has consistently posted double-digit barrel rates with a career rate of 11.8%.

Many Goldschmidt’s batting metrics on Baseball Savant ended near or better than peak seasons in 2017 and 2018. Even 2015 stood out with Statcast numbers. Goldschmidt averaged 34 homers, 105 homers, 104.3 RBIs and 15.3 steals in 2015, 2017 and 2018. Other than goals stolen, the tally stats look like one would expect from Goldschmidt – over 30 circuits plus 100 circuits and RBI.

In 2021, Goldschmidt placed 20th with an exit speed of 96.6 mph on FB / LD with a maximum exit speed of 112.2 mph. This went from the exit speed of 94.5 mph (# 44) on FB / LD in 2019, and then 95.9 mph (# 14) in 2018. We have to go back to 2017, when Goldschmidt posted a speed output of 96.6 mph on FB / LD which ranked No. 9 this season. The contact quality numbers line up, as evidenced by xwOBA of 0.396 and xwOBAcon of 0.467 which ranked in the league’s top 6% in 2021. Ball hit measurements lead us to buy more than for sale Goldschmidt after a near career season.

Should we buy or sell Goldschmidt?

Fantasy managers with Paul Goldschmidt on their squads in 2021 may have won leagues with the hot spell from July to October. According to Razzball Player Evaluator, Goldschmidt finished 15th best player between Max Scherzer and Rafael Devers. As one of baseball’s most consistent hitters over the past decade, how should we value him in 2022? It’s fun watching a player’s Swing-Take profile on Baseball Savant as it shows Goldschmidt thriving in the heart of the zone and showing above average plate discipline with catches in the pursuit zones.

STEAMER’s first screenings have Goldschmidt with 30 home runs, 99 runs, 87 RBIs and seven stolen bases. It seems they are expecting some regression in BABIP to 0.314 which brings the projected batting average down to 0.276. However, the projected OBP .360 looks like the OBP 2021 .365. The Cardinals’ roster looks very heavy, with Tommy Edman, Goldschmidt, Tyler O’Neill, Nolan Arenado completing the top four. Even Dylan Carlson in the five hole is worrying us, but there is still room for growth.

Currently, Goldschmidt goes to the 57 pick in the first champions of the NFBC ADP Draft as a fourth first baseman. He passes just behind Randy Arozarena. Based on the makeup of the list, Arozarena appears to be the best choice for stolen bases, as they typically dry out early for potential bats in five categories. It is worth hooking Goldschmidt as a safe accumulator as there is a drop at first base just around Goldschmidt and Pete Alonso.

Buy or Sell – Matt Olson’s Career Season

As we discuss one of Paul Goldschmidt’s most consistent first basemen, let’s move on to Matt Olson, who finished with a career best season. Olson has set career highs at all levels with 39 home runs, 101 runs, 111 runs batted in and four goals stolen. While Olson’s career batting average of 0.252 looks unappealing, he relied on the 2019 season with a 0.271 batting average in 2021.

Olson’s batted ball data

Considering that Olson typically hits a ton of flying balls (43.7%) with a high pull rate of 40.4%, he didn’t have a high BABIP of 0.269 in 2021. However, interestingly, the rate Olson’s pulling went from a career rate of 45.1. %. Olson possesses legitimate raw power and he may not have needed to shoot the ball that much.

From a plate discipline perspective, the career-best Z-Contact% of 84.1% stood out from a career-high Contact% of 78.6%. Sometimes we find powerful hitters like Olson struggling to make constant contact. However, Olson’s contact rates line up with league averages in 2021, when they have generally fallen below previous years.

Olson Statcast Data

As an elite hitter, Matt Olson finished with a career-best maximum exit speed of 115.3 mph, which ranked at the 95th percentile. Although Olson’s 12.7% barrel rate (83rd percentile) is lower than the quarry rate of 13.1%, it remains above average. Olson’s exit speed of 96.1 mph on FB / LD ranked 25th between Tommy Pham and Miguel Cabrera. This dropped from an exit speed of 97.2 mph on FB / LD which ranked 5th in 2019 and 97.5 mph (No.4) in 2018. Olson’s Statcast data further proves the interest of its elite raw power.

Based on Olson’s rolling xwOBA, we note that production dropped towards the end of the 2021 season. Fortunately, in the rotisserie leagues, it’s a build-up game, and it leads us to buy rather than buy. ‘for sale Olson’s career season.

Should we buy or sell Olson?

Unlike Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Olson passed out down the stretch. From April to July 2021, Olson hit 27 home runs, 68 runs, 67 RBIs and a .280 batting average. Olson’s 0.392 wOBA, 14.3% barrel rate and 155 wRC + supported first production.

Then, from August through October, Olson finished with 12 home runs, 33 runs and 44 RBIs with a .255 batting average. As expected, the wOBA fell to 0.356 with the barrel rate falling to 9.8% and the wRC + to 131. Overall, this is the natural progression of the long fantasy baseball season.

STEAMER’s early showings have Olson with 39 homers, 93 points, 104 RBIs and three goals stolen with a .258 batting average. The counting stats don’t surprise us, but we’re hoping for a better batting average near the 2019 and 2021 seasons. It’s tough to draft a hitter like Olson in the top 50 picks with an ADP of 42 top draft champions as a. third 1B in the table. Based on the underlying metrics, fantasy managers should buy, not sell Olson in 2022. However, the first ADP looks fair, but also a bit high for a hitter who won’t provide the stolen bases. While this is a sexy choice, we can find some power later in the drafts.


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