Monday, November 28, 2011

Season in Review: Adrian Gonzalez


Preseason Predictions:
.304 BA, 37 HR, 123 RBI, .947 OPS, 6.7 fWAR, All Star, MVP, GG

Actual Stats:
.338 BA, 27 HR, 117 RBI, .957 OPS, 6.6 fWAR, All Star, MVP-7th place, GG 

Prior to the 2011 season, the Red Sox made a huge splash trading for perennial All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for a package of minor leaguers, including top prospect Anthony Rizzo. It was a large price to pay, but was expected to be worth it since they were receiving one of the league's best hitters since he was traded to San Diego prior to the 2006 season. Coming into the season, I was expecting big things from Gonzalez, as he was moving from the hitters' hell, Petco Park, to the hitter-friendly Fenway Park. The first baseman responded with one of the best offensive seasons of his career. He posted a .338/.410/.548 triple-slash line. The batting average and on-base percentage were career highs, and his slugging percentage was three points shy of his career high. However, the slugging percentage was driven up by his 45 doubles and three triples (seriously, Adrian Gonzalez legged out three triples) rather than his home run power. Even though he was playing in a much more hitter-friendly ballpark, he hit just 27 home runs, despite hitting at least 30 every year since 2007 while playing home games in Petco Park. Because of this, his ISO fell to .210, his lowest since 2006, his first full big-league season. While his K-rate stagnated from his 2010 rate, his walk rate fell to his lowest since 2007, at 10.3%. Of course, that is still above average, but just not as impressive as it has been in the past. Gonzalez was on his most torrid pace from May through July, when he hit .370 (.404 in June), with 17 home runs and 75 RBI.

Final Grade:
Gonzalez may have fallen short in the power department, but he was one of the best hitters on a lineup filled with big bats and hit in the three spot all year. He did his job driving people in while putting up an extremely impressive triple-slash line. Add on his Gold-Glove performance at first base and his career-high 6.6fWAR, and I am inclined to give Gonzalez an A- for the season.   

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