Carlos Gonzalez Has Quietly Been A Stud

Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera have grabbed most of the headlines, but arguably the best fantasy option this year has been neither of those two players. Cast your gaze to the Rocky Mountains. The biggest fantasy stalwart has been Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies.

Gonzalez owns the fourth-best wOBA (.429) in all of baseball and has the second-most home runs with 21 in only 316 plate appearances. The one thing that separates him from the rest of the pack, however, is the fact that he also has 13 stolen bases. In fact, of the 30 players with the most home runs in the league this year, only Carlos Gonzalez and Mike Trout have double-digit stolen bases.

He’s been incredible across the board. Here is how the 27-year-old outfielder stacks up in all standard rotisserie categories:

Category Total Rank
Home Runs 21 2
Stolen Bases 13 15
Runs 59 1
Runs Batted In 57 5
Batting Average .307 22

Even in his worst category, batting average, Gonzalez is still performing at an elite level. He’s hitting .307, which currently ranks in the top 14% of all qualified players this season. And though it’s hard to believe, in every other fantasy category, he’s been even better.

This should remind fantasy owners of his phenomenal 2010 campaign, in which he hit .336/.376/.598 with 34 home runs and 26 stolen bases. He even scored 111 runs and knocked in 117 that season. Elite production across the board, and it looks like Carlos Gonzalez is once again on pace to compile those sorts of numbers. Don’t be fooled by his .353 BABIP, either. He has a career .348 BABIP and plays in Coors Field. The Rockies almost always have a team BABIP north of .300 at home.

The real surprise with Gonzalez this year has been the level of his power production. Granted, he’s hit at least 22 home runs in three-consecutive seasons, but he’s currently trending to outperform his career best by a rather large margin. ZiPS projects him to have 39 home runs this season. He also owns a .332 ISO this season, which is well-above his previous best of .262 in 2010.

Gonzalez has experienced a power spike because he’s finally abandoned his ground-ball tendencies and has begun to put the baseball in the air. He only had a 29.5% fly-ball rate last year. It’s not surprising that his ISO fell to a career-low .207 (not counting his half-season in Oakland). In fact, the last three seasons, we’ve seen his power decline as he had begun to put the baseball on the ground more often.

Year GB% FB% GB/FB ISO
2010 42.5% 36.6% 1.16 .262
2011 48.4% 33.6% 1.44 .231
2012 48.9% 29.5% 1.66 .207
2013 37.5% 41.5% 0.90 .332

It’s been a dramatic change in GB/FB ratio for Gonzalez, and his power numbers have subsequently increased. That’s wonderful news for fantasy owners, as his power numbers should continue to outpace his career norms if his GB/FB ratio remains consistent throughout the remainder of the season.

We’ve seen everything else before. We’ve seen the high average, the high stolen bases, the high run totals. But this level of power production is new, and it has propelled him to the top of the fantasy ranks. Everyone can talk about Cabrera, Davis, Trout and Goldschmidt. The real diamond, though, is Carlos Gonzalez.




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J.P. Breen is a graduate student at the University of Chicago. For analysis on the Brewers and fantasy baseball, you can follow him on Twitter (@JP_Breen).

7 Responses to “Carlos Gonzalez Has Quietly Been A Stud”

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  1. rotobanter says:

    agreed- just has to stay healthy and from a fantasy perspective i’m hoping he doesn’t b/c i dont have him in a single league. Last year he yielded me Harper, Cain and Dickey.

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  2. Andrew Wolfe says:

    I’m tired of hearing of this argument, but I think it is relevant. Carlos has Tulowitzki hitting behind him which mentally gives him coverage. However, Tulo will be out for the next 5 weeks, which might negatively affect Cargo’s statistics. Let’s see what happens.

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  3. Shawnuel says:

    Goldsmith has gotta at least be in the conversation, as well.

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  4. Paul says:

    Love Cargo, grabbed him in the second round of a keeper league draft last year. So glad i did, a very underrated elite player.

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  5. Devon F says:

    Wouldn’t a different batted ball profile affect his expected BABIP though, making him a candidate for slight regression in the batting average department? Flyballs typically don’t have as high of a BA as ground balls, but perhaps I’m ignoring the Coors Field factor… or the CarGo being awesome factor.

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