I get it. A big bat gets paid bazillions of dollars, leaves the worst hitting park in baseball, and that transforms the player into a dynamic offensive weapon. I certainly buy that to a point with Adrian Gonzalez, but it seems like most of my fantasy brethren have been hitting the hookah pipe a bit too frequently when it comes to estimating Gonzalez’s fantasy value in 2011.
Over at Fanball in a well written article by Greg Ambrosius entitled NFBC: The Rise of A-Gone, Gregg points out how voters are loving them some Adrian Gonzalez because of the move out of Petco and to Fenway Park. Greg gives the data simply: before the Trade Gonzalez went 27th or 29th in the 15 team mixed league drafts for the NFBC. After the trade to Boston that number jumped to 20, 18, 16, 14 and 11.
Does that meteoric rise make any sense? Greg does a great job in the piece laying out the statistical reasons that seem to be behind the rise in Adrian’s ADP numbers. Greg also points out a rather interesting number that some may not be aware of – in each of the past four seasons Gonzalez has gone deep at least 20 times on the road (he never hit more than 14 at home). Does this mean he is a lock for 40 homers? I think “lock” is too strong a term for a guy who has hit 40 homers only once in his career. Why? I think it will surprise many people to learn that Fenway wasn’t exactly a homer heaven for left-handed batters last season. Seriously. Here are the Park Indices number for left-handed hitting batters, in the homer category, for 2011 for Petco and Fenway (100 is neutral, under 100 favors pitchers, over 100 favors hitters).
Petco: 64, 16th in the NL
Fenway: 86, 9th in the AL
The truth of the matter is that Fenway really doesn’t boost the power numbers of left-handed batters at all with a mark of 88 the past three years, 12th in the American League. Shocked aren’t you?
Beyond that, there are two major issues that concern me.
First of all, Gonzalez had shoulder surgery and while everyone believes he will be at or near 100 percent this season it’s quite possible that he will not be allowed to swing a bat until March. Do you really want to spend a first round pick on a guy who will only have a month of hacks under his belt before games count?
Second, what about the wealth of talent at first base in 2011? If you look at the Fanball Staff Rankings you will notice that I’m the lowest of the ranking members in terms of my placement of Gonzalez as I have him at 9th at the position. Is that too low? I’ll freely admit that it might be, by a lot. Still, I’d take Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Mark Teixeira and Ryan Howard ahead of him with no problem. I think you have to also toss Prince Fielder into that mix even with some of his struggles last season since he still had 32 bombs and posted a .401 OBP (Gonzalez was at 31 and .393 by the way). Kevin Youkilis is also coming back from surgery but I might be convinced to move him behind the Red Sox new first baseman. Finally, the move of Adam Dunn to the White Sox would appear to give him a legit shot at 45 homers if not more. After all, U.S. Cellular Field in Chitown is first in Park Indices for homers the past three years, and fourth for left-handed batters.
Add all of that up and I’m gonna let someone else take Gonzalez with the 16th pick. I’ll happily wait 20 selections to roster Adam Dunn.
And finally, in the I told you so file…
Edgar Renteria was disrespected, or whatever he said, when the Giants offered him a 1-year deal for $1 million. Guess he had a right to feel that way. It looks like he got a deal from the Reds for $3 million. I don’t know if that makes him seem smart, or if that means the Reds are just lost?
By Ray Flowers