Paul Goldschmidt talks about hitting | Baseball FanGraphs

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Paul Goldschmidt has been one of baseball’s top players for over a decade. Seemingly Hall of Fame bound, the 35-year-old St. Louis Cardinals first baseman boasts a career 145 wRC+ to go with a .296/.391/.527 slash line, 322 home runs and 55.9 WAR. A seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, he’s been awarded five Silver Sluggers and is coming off a season where he was voted National League MVP.

He has been as good as ever in the current campaign. Over 186 plate appearances, Goldschmidt cut .319/.403/.546 with seven homers and a 163 wRC+. With the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2011 to 2018, he came to St. Louis before the 2019 season in exchange for Carson Kelly, Luke Weaver, Andrew Young and a competitive balance pick.

Goldschmidt sat down to talk hitting when the Cardinals visited Fenway last weekend.


David Laurila: Some guys like analytics, while others like to keep things as simple as possible. Where are you located?

Paul Goldschmidt: “Somewhere in the middle?” I mean, you have to know your swing and you have to know the pitchers, but once you get in the box you have to see the ball and react. So for me, it’s sort of finding that middle ground.

“I am also always changing. I always adapt. I always try to learn and improve myself. I don’t think there’s a point where you totally get it, you’re still trying to figure out what it takes to perform.

Laurila: How do you use keystroke analysis?

Goldschmidt: “The most important thing for me is to find the why. Analytics are very good at telling you what’s going on, but they don’t necessarily give you the answer to why something is happening, whether it’s fly ball rate, ground ball rate , hard-hit ball rate, strike zone judgment – ​​all of those things. It’s good to identify the things you’re doing well or not well, but the real challenge in this game is knowing why. With this, you can make adjustments and hopefully perform to the best of your ability.

Laurila: What tends to be the problem when you’re not well?

Goldschmidt: “It’s usually as simple as, ‘Am I swinging on the right pitches, and am I swinging the ball well?’ But again, the why isn’t always obvious. Is it a timing issue, or is it actually a swing issue? Or are pitchers just throwing you a certain way? Sometimes they are simply better than you, especially on any given day.

“That’s the big question we try to answer every day: what do I need to do to be successful? And what makes it difficult is that it’s not always the same. Every game we try to do similar things, but one day it could be a three strike game and the next day it could be a three home run game. You could try to do very similar things and get very different results. Understanding why one day is better than another is one of the hardest parts of the game.”

Laurila: So when you’re not well, it doesn’t tend to be one thing in particular?

Goldschmidt: “I think the easiest thing is to get in a good position to hit, in time. This will lead to seeing the ball better and swinging on the right pitches. Honestly, it’s the thing I work on every day. It’s just not always the same. The same thought doesn’t always produce the same feeling, or what you see on the video. »

Laurila: What would I see if I compared a video of your swing and setup over your career?

Goldschmidt: “It would be quite similar, although when I first came on I was a lot wider with my setup. But my keys are basically the same, and the swing is still the same. I’m still very straight forward in n “Not having much movement. So the setup would probably be the biggest difference. As far as the look of the swing, going up even before the professional ball, it would be quite similar.

Laurila: How about working with hitting coaches over the years? Different coaches obviously have different ideas.

Goldschmidt: “There are a lot of different ways to hit, so it’s about trying to learn and adapt. You determine what you do well and what you struggle with. I am always open to new suggestions. You try them, and if they don’t work, you have to be prepared to let them go. What works for someone else may not work for you, and vice versa.

Laurila: Can you give an example?

Goldschmidt: “It could just be an exercise. One drill that a lot of guys use is swinging a heavy bat. I tried it at times when I was struggling and it didn’t really transfer. I haven’t seen it really improve my swing or my timing. We’re all trying to hit the same area, but again, the same keys or exercises don’t always work for all guys.

Laurila: A heavy bat is obviously for practice purposes, but what about what you swing in games. Has this changed at all?

Goldschmidt: “I used the same bat until early last year. I went to Marucci and did the tests they have there, and they made a slight adjustment. It’s very, very similar to the bat I’ve used my entire career, though.

Laurila: What was the slight adjustment?

Goldschmidt: “It was 34 inches, 32 ounces. Now with the button it’s 35, 33.”

Laurila: How does a different button impact your swing?

Goldschmidt: “They do a full test – it probably took two to three hours – and the best way to describe it is if you’ve ever gotten in shape for golf clubs. You test different models, lengths, weights… and again, everyone is different. The knob is not always the same effect for each guy. I’m not even sure of the specifics for me, I was just looking for the best bat.

Laurila: If you were blindfolded and handed over three similar, but not exactly identical bats, would you know which one was yours?

Goldschmidt: “I hope so. But I’ve never done that. Some guys change bats all the time depending on how they feel, but I’ve basically used the same bat my whole career. Like I said, what I’m swinging now is very, very similar.

Laurila: Who are the guys you’ve enjoyed talking about typing the most with during your career?

Goldschmidt: “I mean, our hitting coach now, Turner Ward, taught me so much. I talk to him every day. I had him all the way back to Double-A, Arizona with the Diamondbacks. Even when he was with other teams, he was a guy I could always call.

“Tim Laker is another guy who had a huge impact on me. I got to play with JD Martinez in Arizona, and he taught me a lot. There are so many guys. I talk to everyone that I can, trying to pick up everything I can.

Laurila: What about the guy whose locker is next to yours in the visitor’s clubhouse here at Fenway? From the Talks Hitting interview I did with Nolan Arenado a few years ago, his approach is quite simple and straightforward.

Goldschmidt: “Yeah, and we actually hit in a very similar way, so it’s been great to have him here for the last two years. We speak the same language. Some guys speak it a little differently or have different feelings, but he and I think about hitting the same way. It’s kind of, ‘Hey, I feel that. What do you do when you feel that in your swing or when the pitchers do that?'” That’s been helpful.

Laurila: One last thing: did you have to make any adjustments due to age? At 35, your body is no longer the same as at 25…

Goldschmidt“I think the most important thing is to try to keep my body moving in the right way and to stay strong. I have to keep moving efficiently so I can do the things I did when I was 10 years old. less. More of that happens away from the cage. I’m more in the weight room. Before, which came a little more naturally… I mean, when you’re younger, you can just get out of bed and your body moves the way you want it to. When you get older, it takes a bit more work. But it’s doable, that’s for sure.”


Past “Talks Hitting” interviews can be found via these links: Jo Adell, Jeff Albert, Greg Allen, Nolan Arenado, Aaron Bates, Alex Bregman, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, JJ Bleday, Bobby Bradley, Jay Bruce, Matt Chapman , Michael Chavis, Gavin Cross, Jacob Cruz, Nelson Cruz, Paul DeJong, Josh Donaldson, Brendan Donovan, Donnie Ecker, Rick Eckstein, Drew Ferguson, Justin Foscue, Michael Fransoso, Ryan Fuller, Joey Gallo, Devlin Granberg, Andy Haines, Mitch Haniger, Robert Hassell III, Nico Hoerner, Rhys Hoskins, Eric Hosmer, Tim Hyers, Connor Joe, Josh Jung, Jimmy Kerr, Heston Kjerstad, Steven Kwan, Trevor Larnach, Doug Latta, Evan Longoria, Michael Lorenzen, Gavin Lux, Dave Magadan , Trey Mancini, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Hunter Mense, Owen Miller, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Daniel Murphy, Logan O’Hoppe, Vinnie Pasquantino, Brent Rooker, Drew Saylor, Trevor Story, Fernando Tatis Jr., Spencer Torkelson, Mark Trumbo, Justin Turner, Trea Turner, Josh VanMeter, Robert Van Scoyoc, Chris Valaika, Zac Veen, Alex Verdugo, Mark Vientos, Matt Vierling, Luke Voit, Anthony Volpe, Christian Walker, Jared Walsh, Jordan Westburg, Jesse Winker, Mike Yastrzemski, Nick Yorke, Kevin Youkilis

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