Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks

Extending Paul Goldschmidt was a pretty smart move made by the Arizona Diamondbacks. While he might not be an “elite” first baseman, he is at the very least knocking on the door of elite, with a bouquet of flowers in his hand ready to join the party.

Not many thought this would be true of Paul Goldschimdt as he climbed through the minor league ranks. His all-or-nothing approach was bound to catch up with him, they said as he crushed pitching at every turn.

For his career in the big leagues, Goldschmidt has a .283/.363/.496 line with 35 home runs in less than 1000 plate appearances. Pretty good, no? Far from bad, that much I know for sure.

All batters have pitchers they just see well. Guys the seem to have figured out and guys against whom they take good swings and get some good luck. Paul Goldschmidt might play in a tough pitching, low scoring division but there are two pitchers he sees really well. Insanely well, in fact.

Paul Goldschmidt sees Tim Lincecum and Chris Capuano so well that it, perhaps, distorts his entire career line.

Let’s be clear – Paul Goldschmidt should not be punished for smacking Tim Lincecum and Chris Capuano to within an inch of their respective lives. The hits and homers count against them just as they count against anyone.

But the degree to which Goldschmidt dominates these two particular pitchers is really quite astounding.

Tim Lincecum 20 9 1 0 5 11 2 5 .529 .550 1.471 2.021
Chris Capuano 16 12 3 0 3 9 1 2 .800 .813 1.600 2.413
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/8/2013.

It was a joke among the Snakes’ broadcasters and writers after Monday night’s 9-2 DBacks win, in which Paul Goldschmidt went 4-5 with a home run. That moved the big first baseman’s line to what you see above: 12 for 15 with three home runs and three doubles.

Pair that with his famous numbers against Lincecum (nine hits with five home runs, impossibly) and you get a significant chunk of Goldschmidt’s career production. Like so:

  1. Total career line: .283/.362/.496, 35 HR, 59 2B, 135 RBI
  2. Career line without Lincecum & Capuano PAs: .267/.344/.452, 27 home runs, 55 2B, 115 RBI

That is, by my math, more than 60 points of OPS gone away, mostly from his slugging percentage. SIXTY! Among first baseman since the start of the 2011 season, that effectively turns him from Paul Konerko to Garrett Jones. That’s sort of a lot.

Taking this to an entirely geekier place than it needs to go, consider Paul Goldschmidt’s career weighted runs above average. For his career, Goldschmidt has created 38.4 wRAA, according to Fangraphs. Using their Guts (and my guile!), Goldschmidt can credit more than 16 of those runs to his 36 plate appearances against Lincecum and Capuano. That looks like this, if you crudely dump it into a pie chart. Who doesn’t love pie?

goldschmidt wraa

Again: not to suggest Goldschmidt is scrub who happens to beat up on a two-time Cy Young award winner and a veteran with an eight-year career. He’s still a nice player. It’s just so striking that he thumps these guys so well that it buoys his entire career numbers.

Trivial? Yes. Interesting? I think so. I’d love to hear of some other examples of a one player clearly dominating one or two particular pitchers to such a dramatic extent. Lay it down in the comments and we’ll investigate, y’all.