Adrian Gonzalez: 6 Bold Predictions for the Rest of 2011
In the offseason, a lot of bold and brazen predictions were made regarding the 2011 Boston Red Sox.
They were going to win a million games. They were going to score a zillion runs. They were going to make the New York Yankees weep in the streets like children who just had their balloons snatched away from them.
Unfortunately, recent three-game Bronx sweep aside, none of those predictions are possible. Fortunately, however, one March forecast has held up: Adrian Gonzalez has been a monster in the presence of the Green Monster.
What can Sox Nation expect from the slugger moving forward? At the very least, greatness.
Going, Going, A-Gone
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The long ball was elusive for the beast with the bat during the month of April, but once May rolled around, the bombs began dropping.
Since May 1, Gonzalez has gone deep eight times. No one doubted his power, but this recent surge certainly suggests there’s plenty more in the tank.
If you’re anticipating 40-plus round trippers in A-Gone’s inaugural year in Boston, then you’re not alone. His career best is 40, but we all know he can do better than that.
Take Them Home Tonight
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Leading all of baseball in RBI with 37 in 41 games, Gonzalez is serving up plenty of production in the three-hole. With Ellsbury’s OBP resurgence back at the top of the lineup and the team hitting especially well as of late, there always seems to be someone clogging up the base paths and in need of being freed.
Enter Gonzalez, the resident base path plumber, plunger bat in hand. One flush (swing, that is), and the base paths are cleared.
If Pedroia can get hot again and Crawford can live up to his resume, there will be even more RBI opportunities for A-Gone down the road.
If you’re expecting him to exceed his career-best 119 RBI from 2008, you’re also not alone.
Nothing Average Here
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Gonzalez is locked in at the plate, tearing the cover off of the ball at an incredible pace. Currently boasting a .327 average, he’s about as consistent as you can expect a batter to be, and that’s been in the midst of an incredibly damp and chilly spring, which is typically not a good time to be a hitter.
When the weather heats up, Gonzalez will stay hot. If you’re expecting him to finish the season over .300 and leading the league leaders in average, once again, you’re not alone.
He Who Wears the Crown…
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Yes, Jose Bautista seems to be standing in his way for the time being, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Gonzalez to finish the year as the first Triple Crown batting champion since Carl Yastrzemski did it while in a Boston uniform way back in 1967.
Other notable Boston Triple Crown winners include Ted Williams, Pedro Martinez and Cy Young—all greats of the game. Is it so hard to believe that Gonzalez could join that group?
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With two Gold Gloves already awarded to him in 2008 and 2009, Gonzalez seems destined for the gold treatment again in 2011.
Fan concern about his surgically-repaired shoulder now a distant memory, A-Gone is diving around the diamond like a Mountain Dew ad, snagging hits away from batters and digging out balls as if he were wearing a shovel on his hand.
With the ability to do it with his bat and his glove, Gonzalez is on his way to MVP status and what should be a banner career year.
Follow the Leader
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Varitek may be the Captain of this team and Pedroia may be the voice, but Gonzalez is quickly becoming the leader.
After a recent home run against the Yankees by struggling catcher Saltalamacchia, Gonzalez met the backstop at the dugout steps and congratulated him. Salty, smiling ear to ear, seemed to thank Gonzalez, who was noted to be helping the young catcher with his swing.
Clearly A-Gone’s presence is being felt just as much off the field as it is on it and that can be just as powerful as a walk-off two-run double off of the Green Monster, which Gonzalez did last night against the Orioles.
See, greatness is looming. There’s nothing bold about that prediction.