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Will Paul Goldschmidt sustain his all-star form despite seeing more breaking pitches?

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt moved ahead of NL West rival Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers for top honors at first base for the MLB all-star game.

“We’ve got great fan support here,” said Goldschmidt. “It just shows the type of support that the fans here give us as players.”

Goldschmidt ranks first in the league in hits (88), doubles (27) and total bases (160) with 15 home runs and a 0.943 on-base plus slugging percentage, so it is a well deserved honor. But is there a downturn on the horizon?

The 26-year-old first baseman has feasted on the power pitchers in the league, those in the top third of the league in strikeouts plus walks, but has been much less effective against the finesse pitchers (bottom third of the league in strikeouts plus walks). His OPS against the former is 1.049 this season but 0.868 against the latter. This season his batting average is 0.341 against the “hard stuff” but just 0.243 against breaking balls.

And the league may be taking notice. There has been a steady down tick each month in the amount of fastball pitches he has seen and an increase in breaking balls.

Right-handed throwers are also painting the low, outside corner to great effect, causing Goldschmidt to swing and miss on a majority of breaking pitches low and away.

Goldschmidt swing miss vs RHP

The All-star honor is much deserved, but keep an eye on the pitching mix Goldschmidt sees the rest of the season – if it starts to slant even more towards breaking pitches it could be a tough second half for Goldy.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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