Fantasy Baseball 2012: Don't Worry About Carlos Gonzalez's Slow Start

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Fantasy Baseball 2012: Don't Worry About Carlos Gonzalez's Slow Start
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Carlos Gonzalez had himself a rough opening week. The Rockies outfielder managed a measly three hits in 17 at-bats, as well no home runs, no RBI, no runs and lastly, no walks.

On top of that, most of those at-bats have come against historically weak pitchers from the Astros. Given that fantasy owners are at their most reactionary during the onset of the season, some are beginning to worry about the guy they invested a first- or second-round pick in. However, CarGo will be just fine. Actually, he will be better than that.

We've seen Gonzalez begin a season playing poorly before, namely last season. If you can remember, he was viewed by many as a potential bust candidate in 2011 coming off an incredible 2010 campaign. And his performance in April did little to dispel that talk. CarGo finished the first month with only one long ball and an ugly slash line of .228/.277/.304.

Many of his owners simply wanted to bail and deal him at that point. Kudos to those who did not, as it did not take Gonzo too much longer to get it going, as the guy absolutely mashed in May, hitting seven home runs and finishing with a slash line of .282/.375/.544. CarGo did not stop there, and he finished another season as one of the best outfielders in fantasy.

If fantasy owners are still worried about CarGo's slow start, there's actually an explanation for it, other than his past, that should ease their minds. Like most left-handed hitters, Gonzalez historically fares much better against right-handed hurlers than he does against southpaws. Gonzo's slash line against righties is .307/363/.545, compared to .275/.318/.464 against lefties.

Well, guess which type of hurler Gonzalez has primarily faced this year? Eleven of his 17 at-bats have come against left-handers, and he has struck out three times and only managed one hit against them (.091 average). In his other six at-bats, he has only struck out once and has two hits (.333 average).

CarGo has had 1,131 at-bats against righties in his career compared to only 534 against lefties, so not only is Gonzalez generally a bit of a slow starter, but he has also had some bad luck in the early going in terms of the pitchers he has faced.

Gonzo is simply too good of a player when he's playing to his potential, which is often, to not be patient with him for what may be another rough April. CarGo was injured for part of last year, so he did not even amass 500 ABs, yet he finished with 26 home runs, 20 steals, 92 runs and 92 RBI.

You simply can't find many players who can produce like that. Only 12 major leaguers last year finished with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Gonzalez did not only join the 20-20 club last year, but he has done it the past two seasons and is one of only two players (Chris Young is the other) to reach both marks in 2010 and 2011.

The difference between Young and CarGo is that Young puts up these numbers while batting in the low .200s, but CarGo does it while hitting .300. Gonzalez is a special player in fantasy, a true five-category stud.

He is 26 years old, now entering his prime, and if he can stay healthy he could very well finish as the top fantasy outfielder. Considering the mounting evidence there is that he will turn it around, all his owners should be doing is sitting back and waiting for him to explode. 

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