Key Stats: I rejoiced in the off season after the 2010 season when it was announced the Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez. One of the best power hitters in the game leaving Petco was awesome. I immediately tagged him as the 3rd ranked 1B going into 2011. Gonzalez certainly delivered last year, but not the way we expected. I was looking for a .280 AVG, 40 HR, 90 Runs, 110 RBI. He sorta came through. He exceeded my runs and RBI expectations, missed the mark on the HR’s… 27 is disappointing, but I’m not gonna complain since he traded that for a .338 AVG. What happened? He hit almost a career high in liners and set a career low for fly balls. With the monster in Fenway, A-Gone nearly set a career high with 45 doubles, 1 shy of his 2007 total. Too bad we don’t score doubles in most leagues.
Skeptics Say: His .338 AVG was inflated by a .380 BABIP. Yes. That is ridiculously high. I wouldn’t bet on that happening again, however another season of .300 AVG baseball isn’t out of the question either. The monster is tall, and it’s close to home plate. I’d gladly take a Gonzalez that bounces doubles off it all day and comes in around 30 HR’s and a .300 avg than the 40 HR, .280 hitter we’ve seen in years past. Besides, based on the amazing work done by Fangraphs Bradley Woodrum here, even with a decline in line drives, leading to a decline in avg, and an uptick in fly balls, he’ll just hit more homers anyway. At the end of the day, that’s not a bad thing.
Peer Comparison: High line drive rate, low fly ball rate, good HR/FB ratio…It would seem that Gonzalez moved from the Prince Fielder mold to the Joey Votto mold. Votto is applauded for his consistency and across the board skills. Gonzalez showed that same across the board contribution in his new home last year. One year might be a small sample size, but if Gonzalez continues this he could be a more powerful version of Votto, which is freakin scary.
Lineup Outlook: It’s the Red Sox…they are so good that even a player with Carl Crawfords pedigree is going to have a tough time finding a spot in the batting order. Pencil in Gonzalez for another 100+ runs and 100+ RBI.
What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline – #4 First Baseman; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com – #4 First Baseman & #10 Overall; RotoChamp - #12 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP – #3 First Baseman and #10 Overall
Projection: I like the diea of Gonzalez cutting back a little on his line drives and increasing the fly balls some. Lower average, but an uptick in HR’s.
.315 AVG, 30 HR’s, 105 Runs, 115 RBI’s, 0 steals, .390 OBP, .910 OPS in 580 AB’s.