2011 Fantasy Projections, No. 10: Why Carlos Gonzalez Is Due for a Regression

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2011 Fantasy Projections, No. 10: Why Carlos Gonzalez Is Due for a Regression
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Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

Last season was the year of Car-Go. The former Arizona and Oakland farmhand led all outfielders not named Jose Bautista in runs (111), home runs (34) and RBI (117). He finished second among outfielders to Josh Hamilton in batting average (.336) and added 26 stolen bases, making him the most prolific five-category producer of the season.

In fact, Gonzalez was the first player to post at least 35 HRs, 110 runs, 110 RBI, 25 steals and a .330 batting average since Ivan Rodriguez recorded a 35/116/113/25/.332 line in 1999 with the Texas Rangers.

So why is Car-Go just the No. 10 player on our 2011 big board?

Gonzalez’s .384 BABIP last season was third-highest in baseball and will likely regress into the .340 range in 2011. His o-swing rate (percentage of whiffs on pitches outside the strike zone) was 37.0 percent in 2010, 15th-worst in all of baseball, suggesting his plate discipline is lacking. Further, Car-Go’s 2010 contact rate was just 77.6 (MLB average was 80.7).

According to Hit Tracker Online, 38 percent of Gonzalez’s home runs last season were categorized as “just enough," meaning “the ball cleared the fence by less than 10 vertical feet, or that it landed less than one fence height past the fence. This, compared to the MLB average of around 27 percent, suggests a few of Gonzalez’s dingers were perhaps the result of a touch of luck. (Hit Tracker data helped us predict a significant decrease in Prince Fielder’s HR total from 2009 to 2010.)

Although there’s no denying the 25-year-old’s raw talent (Baseball America ranked him as the Diamondbacks’ No. 1 prospect in 2008), Car-Go’s 2010 season is simply unrepeatable in the post-steroids era. Without a ridiculous .384 BABIP, his batting average will likely drop into the .300 range and his sketchy plate discipline could rear its ugly head.

While Ryan Braun is due for a bounce-back season and Carl Crawford is batting in an All-Star lineup, Carlos Gonzalez fits in as our third-ranked outfielder in 2011.

 

  PA R HR RBI SB AVG
2010 stats 636 111 34 117 26 .336
3-year average 423 65 17 57 15 .299
2011 FBI Forecast 650 100 29 100 22 .300

 

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