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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: ADRIAN GONZALEZ 1B LOS ANGELES DODGERS

When it comes to the draft, this peanut stand has always gone on record saying your first two picks of a standard league draft should included a slugging first baseman or a five-tool player.  However we do make some leeway there in terms of going third base or shortstop with the outfielder if the value presents itself that way and that in turn means looking for a more affordable slugging first baseman you can get in Round 3 or later.  A guy who has always fit this profile over the last four seasons or so has been Los Angeles Dodgers veteran Adrian Gonzalez.  While his days of being a 40-home run monster for the San Diego Padres or the monster MVP-type slugger he was in his short stay in Boston with the Red Sox are long a thing of the past, Gonzalez had settled into being an ultra-consistent 25-HR/100-plus RBI/.280-.300 hitting first baseman with the Dodgers.  While not top tier numbers, Gonzalez was no slouch when it came to fantasy baseball first baseman and his draft price was always a round or two cheaper then some other guys around his statistical profile as he entered into the boring veteran part of his career.  2016 was seen as being no different as Gonzalez was still in his prime at the age of 34 and still in a prime spot in the middle of the Dodgers lineup.

Fast forward to present day and what we have seen out of Gonzalez almost three months into the 2016 fantasy baseball has been more than a bit disappointing.  While the .271 average pretty jives with the .274 mark he had a year ago, Gonzalez sits on just a paltry 6 home runs through 284 at-bats.  That puts Gonzalezon a pace for just 17 long balls which is not up to par for a starting first baseman in fantasy baseball.  In addition, the 32 RBI Gonzalez had going into Tuesday's games was also well behind his usual 90-100 pace.  Combine that with just 24 runs scored and zero steals and Gonzalez has been more UTIL or CI bat then a first base one. 

 Now in digging into the advanced numbers, Gonzalez' average is actually in the LUCKY territory as his BABIP sits at a high .332.  This is doubly disturbing as it means Gonzalez should be more of a .260 hitter or worse given the likely regression which should be on the way soon.  Throw in the drop in fly ball rate that Gonzalez also is carrying around and we have every right to be worried about the veteran. 

When you put it all together, it certainly looks like Adrian Gonzalez is starting to decline right before our eyes.  34 is not old but it is starting to get a bit up there and Gonzalez was never considered a good athlete which adds to the trouble we are seeing.  Also we are well into the season now which means a slow start can be discounted.  As a result, we may have to start believing that Gonzalez is no longer the slugging fantasy baseball first baseman we always knew him to be. 


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