One player flying in and out of the fantasy spectrum all season has been Carlos Gonzalez. Yet many wonder who he is, where he came from, and is he for real?
Gonzalez was signed out of Venezuela at the tender age of 17 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. After playing five seasons at the minor league level Carlos was quickly regarded as the No. 22 prospect in the MLB.
During the winter of 2007, he was traded amongst others to the Oakland Athletics for star pitcher Dan Haren. The following offseason, Gonzalez found himself on the move once again. The Athletics traded him amongst others to the Colorado Rockies for slugger Matt Holliday.
But was it a coincidence the slugger had been dealt in two of the most blockbuster deals within the last three seasons?
The 2010 numbers don't lie. Carlos is currently hitting at a .318 clip with 25 home runs, 79 RBI, 78 runs, and 19 steals. Many feel as if his statistics are skewed because of the nine game stretch between July 30th and August 8th in which Carlos compiled 20 hits in 40 at-bats, including six home runs and 13 RBI. During this stint, he had three four-hit games; on July 31st he ended the game against the Chicago Cubs in walk off fashion, hitting a home run to complete the sixth cycle in Rockies' history.
Okay, so maybe hitting 24 percent of your home runs in a nine game stretch does skew your statistics a little bit. Yet Carlos still has numbers on his side to provide a strong case to consider him as a mid to late first round fantasy selection in the 2011 season.
Gonzalez began the season hot, finishing the month of April hitting .350 with three home runs and 17 RBI. Through the months of May and June, the average cooled off to .299, but he still picked up nine home runs and 29 RBI.
July was his big month, where he hit .382 with nine home runs and 22 RBI, leading into August, where he is currently hitting a cool .300 with four home runs and 11 RBI.
The numbers favor Carlos Gonzalez in this case; pre (.314) and post (.331) All-Star break he has hit over .300, so you can’t knock his consistency. And, let’s not forget his stolen bases—he has averaged four every month. That’s one steal every fantasy week!
Currently, Gonzalez sits at the sixth best overall fantasy player in Yahoo baseball leagues, and the fourth best positioned player behind Miguel Cabrera (Tigers), Josh Hamilton (Rangers), and Albert Pujols (Cardinals). He doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
As for 2011, I see his stock sitting at the mid to late level first round. Expect an average closer to the .310 mark based on trends, with 20-25 home run production, close to 100 runs and RBI, and 20+ stolen bases.
But you make the call!