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Saturday, January 11, 2014

FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: CARLOS GONZALEZ OUTFIELDER COLORADO ROCKIES

                                                          Carlos Gonz├ílez

It was learned during the offseason that oft-injured Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was forced to undergo an emergency appendectomy and while the surgeons were at it, they also removed a small hernia around his navel area.  Just another malady to add to the growing list of injuries Gonzalez has had in his still young career.  Widely considered one of the most talented and complete players in fantasy baseball, Gonzalez is slated to once again be a first round pick despite missing virtually the entire second half of 2013 with ligament damage in his finger of all things.  The finger injury derailed what was looking like a fantasy baseball and maybe even real life baseball MVP campaign as Gonzalez went into the All Star Break hitting .302 with 25 HR's and 64 RBI while also stealing 16 bases.  It was pure fantasy baseball gold and the sky seemed to be the limit.  However the injury buy struck again and it is Gonzalez' habit of getting hurt that makes all owners who invest in the guy this season crossing their fingers and toes that things won't go bust.  So without further delay let's delve in a bit deeper on Gonzalez who has been a big time favorite of mine through thick and think since he became a star player.

First let's look at Gonzalez' last four seasons and the great numbers he compiled:

2010:  .336 35 HR 117 RBI 111 R 26 SB
2011:  .295 26 HR 92 RBI   92 R   20 SB
2012:  .303 22 HR 85 RBI   89 R   20 SB
2013:  .302 26 HR 70 RBI   72 R   21 SB

Looking more closely at those numbers, one can easily understand why Gonzalez is annually one of the most sought after players in the game.  The way he fills up all five standard ROTO categories is extremely rare and valuable in today's game and four straight 20/20-plus seasons in the bank is tremendous.  However in only two of those seasons listed above did Gonzalez have more than 500 at-bats which speaks to the injuries and the stunting of his overall potential output.  Gonzalez career high in plate appearances came in 2010 when he had that incredible monster season with 35 home runs and 26 steals to go with 117 RBI.  He also chipped in 111 runs scored and a .336 batting average.  All five of those categories were career highs and it speaks to what Gonzalez COULD have done in the three subsequent seasons if he didn't get hurt.  Gonzalez certainly was on his way in 2013 to duplicating that 2010 campaign and that is why he deserves to be a first round pick once again. 

Getting a read now on what we could expect for 2014, we do have to be safe and grade out Gonzalez like he will be spending at least one stint on the DL.  This standard operating procedure for Gonzalez and has to be done in order to adequately figure out the numbers we could expect.  On that front Gonzalez will likely hit between 25-30 home runs to go with around a .300 batting average.  However what is a bit different this season is that Gonzalez is slated to hit LEADOFF for the Rockies in 2014 which means a boost in the runs column while taking away a bit of his RBI.  Thus Gonzalez should be bumped up to near 100 runs scored and downgraded a smidge to around 80-85 RBI.  The stolen bases will be interesting to see as well as Gonzalez will be put in more positions to runs this season out of the number 1 spot.  Count on seeing Gonzalez seriously challenge the 30 stolen base mark as long as he doesn't fear injuring the finger again.  The numbers could be that good and thus securing Gonzalez in the first round is the smart play this season.

When you combine all of the numbers, Carlos Gonzalez is looking like another fantasy baseball monster who can fill up all the categories with ease.  He is lumped right there with Andrew McCutchen and Adam Jones and honestly I have no issues with how you all rank those three.  I would go Jones first given his durability and consistent statistical baseline followed by Gonzalez who has the potential to do bigger things than McCutchen if he stays health.  The health is the million dollar question however and it will hover over him all season.  If he does stay healthy, watch out.

2014 PROJECTION:  .307 25 HR 84 RBI 105 R 29 SB

Be sure to check back for more of the starting pitching rankings as we move forward through the week.  Let us hear your thoughts.

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