Boston Red Sox: Is Adrian Gonzalez a Legit Candidate for the Triple Crown?

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Boston Red Sox: Is Adrian Gonzalez a Legit Candidate for the Triple Crown?
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Boston Red Sox Executive Vice President and General Manager Theo Epstein knew what he was getting in to this past offseason when he acquired Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres.

The acquisition was made in exchange for outfielder Reymond Fuentes, right-handed pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and a player to be named later.

The question is, did the Red Sox know Gonzalez might be viewed by some as a legitimate Triple Crown Candidate in his first year with the club and worth every dime of his 2011 $5.5 million contract?

A batter earns the Triple Crown when he leads the league in three specific categories, those being, home runs (HR), runs batted in (RBI) and batting average (AVG). The Triple Crown generally refers to leading a specific league such as the American League (AL) or National League (NL) in these three major categories.

Through the first 63 games, Gonzalez leads the AL in runs batted in with 57, is second in batting average at .338 and has 12 home runs, eight home runs shy of Jose Bautista’s AL-leading 20.

Gonzalez is on pace for a .347 average, 148 runs batted in and 31 home runs.*

If these numbers come to fruition, his projected average and runs batted in maybe enough to lead the American League but his home runs may fall shy for a league leader.

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The glimmer of hope may be that 81 of his games played will be at one of the smallest ballparks in all of major league baseball, Boston’s Fenway Park.

Fenway, known as a hitter’s park, especially for left hander’s with a short right field porch, makes it entirely possible that Gonzalez hits in upwards of 45 to 50 home runs which just may be enough to lead the AL.

The triple crown hasn't been won by any player since 1967, 44 years ago, coincidentally by a former Red Sox player named Carl Yastrzemski. 

One things for sure, if Gonzalez can continue to keep going at this pace, he'll surely be on track to be a viable MVP candidate.

*Source: Yahoo Sports

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