Photo Credit: Keith Allison
The hype machine enveloped Adrian Gonzalez last year and fantasy owners expected other-worldly power numbers. “He’ll win the MVP!” some clamored. “He’s a demigod put on this earth to mash taters!” others yelled. “I’d totally let him bang me! In a platonic way!” another chimed in. Yeah A-Gone love was at an all-time high, but the Gonzalez we saw in Boston was eerily similar in fantasy production to the guy in San Diego.
San Diego (2010): 31 HRs, .213 ISO, 16.4 HR/FB
Boston (2011): 27 HRs, .210 ISO, 16.4 HR/FB
W-w-wait. But the power was supposed… a-and Fenway Park, but… left-handed?
Collect yourself and join me after the jump:
That’s right. “Yo Adrian!” turned into, “No! Adrian!”
It’s worth pointing out that Gonzalez hit .338 last year, which is 45 points higher than his career mark. It’s also worth noting that his BA is due to drop back to Earth thanks to the .380 BABIP and the fact that his GB% jumped to a career-high 46.7 percent (in other words, how the hell does a slow mu’fucka like A-Gone hit more ground balls AND boost his BABIP to 40 points higher than his previous career-high?).
Now I’m not saying Adrian Gonzalez is a terrible fantasy option. He’s a top five first baseman. In fact, I’m actually expecting better power numbers if his shoulder holds up. Oh that’s right, I almost forgot to mention his shoulder. (Note: That’s just a joke. I didn’t almost forget. I just wanted to lull you into thinking that I was getting ready to launch into a pro-Gonzalez stretch. Suckers.)
Gonzalez had surgery on his shoulder in October 2010 and it started bothering him shortly after the All-Star break. Obviously Gonzalez showed last year that he’s capable of playing through an injury and putting up great numbers. Still, the shoulder is something to watch.
There is one area that I think Gonzalez will improve, and that’s in his home production. He had just 10 HRs and a .169 ISO last year in 351 PAs at Fenway Park and those numbers should improve. That said, the increase may not be as great as some might expect. Keep in mind that his power plays to the opposite field, so a healthy shoulder won’t necessarily mean an 80 point ISO jump as he won’t be launching a ton of bombs over the short right field fence.
I admit that Gonzalez has one of the higher floors in fantasy, but he’s not worth taking in the first round of a 12-team draft. First base is simply too deep to be wasting a first round pick on a player coming off a relatively disappointing season with a recent history of shoulder problems. Can he rock 10 or more HRs in his second season in Boston and top the 130 RBI mark? Yeah, it’s possible. Problem is, you will be forced to pay face value for that ceiling. Sorry, but I’m not sold that a major power boon is coming and for that price, I’ll pass.