As the baseball season dwindles down to meaningless games, teams start to call up the youngsters or even the long journeymen of the minor leagues. However, the Colorado Rockies are still playing for something. The playoffs.
The Rockies used to be known for the big two: Larry Walker and Todd Helton. While Walker has since retired and Helton is hanging on by a thread, the Rockies have found their new centerpiece, Carlos Gonzalez.
The journey for Gonzalez, who also goes by the nickname "CarGo" has been one for Hollywood. He was originally signed as a skinny 17 year old outfielder by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002 out of Maracaibo, Venezuela. In 2007, Carlos was traded in probably one of the worst trades in retrospect. The Diamondbacks traded Gonzalez along with Aaron Cunningham, Brett Anderson, Chris Carter, Greg Smith and Dana Eveland to the Oakland Athletics for Dan Haren and Connor Robertson.
While the trade originally favored the Diamondbacks, the A's made out with the better product, as all of the players traded are now appearing in different ballparks around the country. But none of them have produced like Gonzalez.
The story doesn't end there. The A's seemingly gave up on Gonzalez after a so-so season with them, as they traded him along with Huston Street and Greg Smith to the Rockies for Matt Holliday. Since then, Gonzalez has left his mark on the game of baseball. Not only in Colorado but around the Major Leagues.
After being re-called up late in the 2009 season, Carlos Gonzalez made his mark by batting .588 in the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies. His hot streak didn't end there, as the stats have proven thus far in the 2010 season.
An outfielder that went undrafted in most fantasy leagues, Gonzalez is currently leading the National league in batting average (.340), is second in the league for RBI's (97) and because of a late surge is now 5th for homeruns with 31.
Sure, you can say Joey Votto or Albert Pujols have been the best players this year. That's because the Cardinals and Reds constantly verse each other in big markets, compared to CarGo hidden in the NL West. Now the reasons why he's better than them.
1. The protection behind Gonzalez. Votto is granted the protection of all-star third basemen Scott Rolen. Pujols is protected by power swinging Matt Holliday. Now you're going to say well isn't Gonzalez protected by Troy Tulowitzki? He sure is, however he wasn't for the majority of the season because of Tulo's injury. Gonzalez has been playing in a less stared lineup then Votto and Pujols, as the Rockies are mainly made up of major leaguers who have outlasted their prime.
2. Carlos Gonzalez steals the show in the outfield. Yes, it's great to see King Albert smack a 450 foot bomb as equal to Joey Votto. However, they both play first base, a position where you don't always see the most athletic guys play. Gonzalez has played multiple outfield positions this year, making fantastic catches over and over again. Not only that, but the outfielder even has a hose in his arsenal.
If you say Josh Hamilton is the best player in baseball, I disagree. Sure, he's an outstanding player with a great backstory to go along with it. But there hasn't been a player that I've seen since the debut of Seattle Mariner outfielder Ichiro Suzuki first burst onto the scene in 2001 as exciting as Carlos Gonzalez.
When I say Ichiro, Carlos Gonzalez brings the same excitement that he did. Both are extremely gifted in the field, both hit for average, both are speed burners and both currently don't present problems in their clubhouses. The one tool that Gonzalez has that Ichiro doesn't have is the power, which makes him a real five-tool player.
And as the season sizzles down, the Triple Crown race will heat up. And for whoever wins the majority of those three categories (since receiving the Triple Crown is nearly impossible), will win the MVP. I just answered your question. Carlos Gonzalez will win the MVP of the National League and will be known as the most exciting and best player in the MLB.