Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Emergence of Carlos Gonzalez

OPS - Post All Star Break (min. 200 PA) Playoff Teams
1.044 Matt Holliday (A's/Cardinals (1.019 OPS w/Cardinals) 2nd Overall - ML
1.042 Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies)
1.018 Albert Pujols (Cardinals)
1.003 Ryan Howard (Phillies)
.998 Joe Mauer (Twins)
.996 Kendry Morales (Angels)
.994 Mark Teixeira (Yankees)
.992 Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) 10th Overall
.962 J.D Drew (Red Sox)
.954 Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) 15th Overall

Most of the names are very familiar and expected (Pujols, Mauer, Howard, etc.). The only real surprise to me is Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies).

After a disappointing 2008 with the A’s, where he only hit 4 HR in 302 AB with a .242 BA, he was traded to the Rockies, along with Huston Street, in the Matt Holliday deal in November 2008. He was also one of the many players traded by the D-Backs to Oakland for Dan Haren in December 2007. His good performance in the 2nd half has probably earned him an offseason without being traded, but we'll have to see.

He didn't even get an at-bat this year until June and was only hitting .202 with 1 HR at the All-Star Break, which was before he started getting regular playing time. He eventually batted all over the lineup, although ended up hitting most often in the leadoff spot. He played about an even amount in LF and CF (putting up his best numbers in CF), although he sometimes played both positions in the same game.

The Rockies are loaded with outfielders, including Brad Hawpe, Seth Smith, Ryan Spilborghs and Dexter Fowler. Gonzalez shares playing time with Fowler and Smith. Fowler was once considered a top ROY candidate (at least by some) this year before he went on the DL. Eventually Gonzalez will be an everyday starter, but he seems to be getting some kind of playing time every game, with a good number of starts.

Gonzalez's lofty 2nd half numbers are mostly the result of a monster August, where he posted the 2nd highest OPS in entire league, behind only Matt Diaz: .370, 6 HR, .714 SLG, 1.146 OPS. His September numbers were respectable too: .277, 5 HR, .543 SLG, .885 OPS. The Rockies were winning before the emergence of Gonzalez (21-7 in June), but he gives them another weapon and could be a factor in the playoffs.

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