Paul Goldschmidt had been comically unlucky to start the season but on Tuesday, his luck started to turn for the St. Louis Cardinals.
After going 4-5 in the first game of the year, Paul Goldschmidt has hit into some bad luck for the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s still really early, but positive regression has slowly started to happen for the 33-year-old first baseman.
Before Tuesday, Goldschmidt sat in the 95th percentile in average exit velocity and 98th percentile in hard hit percentage. Despite hitting the ball above 95 mph more than 70% of the time, he had yet to hit a homer and his batting average sat at just .231 and his OPS was at .568.
The difference between his expected and actual numbers have been comical. Goldy had an 80 point difference between his expected batting average and actual, 250 point difference between actual and expected slugging, and about an 120 point difference between actual and expected wOBA.
Expected stats like these are descriptive though, not predictive, but it is clear that Goldy has been unlucky. However, given how the laws of statistics and luck work if Goldy kept hitting at the level he had since the start of the season, things were bound to turn around.
In the first inning, Goldy stepped to the plate looking for career home run 250 and was able to find it.
This ball left the bat at 106.3 mph and went 385 ft, another hard hit ball. However, this one was never close to an out. Pulled in the 6th, Goldy still had four at-bats in the Cardinals’ 14-3 win over the Nationals.
Other than his popout to third, Goldy’s other two at-bats ended in balls over 100 mph. In the 4th, he almost homered again, launching a ball at 103.3 mph to the wall in left. In the 5th, he hammered a 106 mph single to drive in a run as well.
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Goldy caused some worry when he missed the home opener with back tightness last week. Fans saw that he hadn’t hit a homer yet and began to worry. However, he leads the entire MLB with 25 hard-hit balls. The power outage from Goldy has likely been because even though he has 25 hard hit balls, he has only three barrels which adds a launch angle caveat to hard hit balls.
This could be from the back tightness, or this could just be meaningless noise in a still-small sample. There are more things we could dig into and dissect with Goldy’s sample, but it’s too early in the season to put much weight into things.
One thing is for certain, Goldy has been cranking the ball at the plate and if he can keep doing it, his luck will continue to turn around as it did on Tuesday night.