Year after year, the No. 1 pick in fantasy drafts has always been the same guy. The other four players to make up the top five have rotated each year, but the names remain the same. However, I think that trend will change next year. Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt will be the No. 1 overall pick in 2016.
Paul Goldschmidt is having one of the best years of his short career. In 136 games, he has 27 home runs, 97 RBI, 130:101 K:BB ratio, 21 stolen bases and a .318/.432/.552 line. Even though he had more home runs and RBI in 2013, he currently has a better batting average, OBP and slugging percentage this season.
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Goldschmidt has even stepped up his value by displaying his speed. He had a career-high 18 stolen bases in 2012. That was, until this season. As of this writing, he has 21 stolen bases. In the 20 remaining games, he could easily reach 25 and possibly even 30.
The combination of contact, power and speed make Paul Goldschmidt a top-three pick. But my case is for Goldy to be the No. 1 pick.
So, let’s take a look at the other four players. According to ESPN’s Draft Rankings, these were the first five players drafted. Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton, Clayton Kershaw and Goldschmidt.
Trout: 135 games, 34 HR, 76 RBI, 10 SB, .293 batting average
McCutchen: 133 games, 21 HR, 88 RBI, seven SB, .301 average
Stanton: 74 games, 27 HR, 67 RBI, four SB, .265 average
Kershaw: 13-6, 2.15 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 259 K
Now, to compare.
Trout is leading in home runs. Goldschmidt leads in RBI, batting average and stolen bases. Kershaw is actually the No. 2 pitcher on his own team. Stanton so far missed two months with a broken hamate bone in his left hand. If he is fully healed when he returns, he will still be a top-10 pick.
Paul Goldschmidt is a little older than some of the other players, but he is in his prime now. Trout, McCutchen and Stanton are amazing, but will improve even more over the next couple of years. Now, how scary will that be?
Throughout his career, Goldy has lowered his strikeout percentage and raised his walk rate from 2013 to this year. He also made improvements to his HR/FB and ground ball rates. Trout improved on his strikeout and walk rates, While his HR/FB rate increased, his FB and ground ball rates regressed.
I will excuse Stanton from this comparison because of the time missed. As for McCutchen His K and BB rates increased slightly. His HR/FB rate rose by 0.1 percent, while his FB and ground ball rates dropped by 1.8 and 2.1 percent, respectively.
Paul Goldschmidt clearly has all the tools to be the No. 1 pick. He has improved in all hitting stats from year to year. Injuries haven’t plagued his season significantly (his 2014 season was cut short with a broken hand). Goldschmidt is the No. 4 player and No. 1 hitter on the ESPN Player Rater throughout the season. Trout is No. 16/12, McCutchen is 31st/19th and Kershaw is No. 2/2.
If I had the first overall pick, Paul Goldschmidt would be the clear choice for me. The numbers don’t lie.