In the mile-high city, there is an outfielder having the best baseball season you haven't heard about.
His name is Carlos Gonzalez, and he has been a menace to National League pitching this season.
Gonzalez, 24, is a tall, lean lefty with a sweet swing.
Originally from Venezuela, Gonzalez is in his second full year with the Colorado Rockies. He came to the Rockies in the Winter of 2008 when the Rockies dealt Matt Holliday to the Oakland A's.
Gonzalez has made A's general manager Bill Beane regret this trade.
In 2009, Gonzalez spent the first two months of the season dominating the Pacific Coast League for the Rockies Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs.
On May 29, the Rockies fired manager Clint Hurdle and replaced him with Jim Tracy. A week later, Gonzalez got the call to the majors.
Gonzalez struggled at first, posting a .607 OPS in June. He quickly improved that to an .860 mark in July. Since August 1, 2009, he has been one of the best hitting outfielders in baseball.
Gonzalez hit 11 home runs and batted .330 over the last two months of 2009. In the playoffs, he hit .588, homered, stole two bases and scored five runs as the Phillies defeated the Rockies in four games.
This season, he has continued to hit at almost the same astounding level.
Consider his numbers: 135 hits, six triples, 25 home runs, 77 RBI, 75 runs, 18 stolen bases, 239 total bases .327 BA, .355 OBP, .579 SLUG, 136 OPS+.
These numbers equate to him being second in hits, sixth in triples, fourth in home runs, third in RBI, fourth in runs, first in total bases, first in average, third in slugging, and sixth in OPS among National League hitters.
Among outfielders, his numbers demonstrate why he is now one of the finest hitters in baseball.
Gonzalez leads all NL outfielders in average, home runs and RBI—winning the outfielder batting triple crown.
He is also first in slugging and OPS.
Among all major league outfielders, he is second in home runs, tied for third in RBI, second in batting average, third in slugging, and third in OPS.
Among all outfielders, Gonzalez trails Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista in most of those categories—two players whose fantastic seasons have drawn them plenty of notice. However, Gonzalez easily trumps Bautista in batting average (by 67 points) and speed (four more triples and fifteen more stolen bases).
The title of, “Best Outfielder in Baseball” is a debate between Gonzalez and Hamilton.
Since July 1, Gonzalez has staked his claim to the title by playing out of this world baseball.
In the six weeks since that date, he has stroked 12 home runs, hit .388, posted a 1.170 OPS and swiped six bases.
On July 31, Gonzalez hit for the cycle against the Chicago Cubs. He saved his best for last, smashing a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Gonzalez has also been one of the most versatile outfielders in baseball. He's played 52 games in center field, 35 in left, and 24 in right. He's made only one fielding error this year.
The only thing Gonzalez doesn’t do well is take walks—he has 19 on the season.
Despite all this success, Gonzalez has received little attention.
Gonzalez barely made a blip in the NL All-Star voting, and was not named as a reserve by the players or NL manager Charlie Manuel. He was chosen as one of the five players for the “Fans Final Vote,” but he finished third.
As previously demonstrated, Gonzalez has maybe the best all-around numbers of any outfielder this season, yet he doesn’t even get total recognition from fantasy baseball players. In Yahoo! fantasy leagues his ownership is 93 percent.
However, ESPN’s Fantasy Player Rater ranks Gonzalez as the best player in all of baseball (for the standard fantasy categories). But, he still isn’t owned in all ESPN fantasy leagues.
Carlos Gonzalez should be getting a lot more attention.
His statistics clearly demonstrate why he’s having one of the best offensive seasons in baseball.
Joey Votto has had an MVP-type season for the NL Central-leading Reds, but Carlos Gonzalez should not be forgotten in the discussion about the National League's Most Valuable Player.
In fact, Gonzalez should be at the top of that list.
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