Key Stats: Let’s take the glass half-full approach on the 2010 season of Carlos Gonzalez. He was the number one ranked player according to the player ranking formulas of Yahoo and ESPN among others last season despite only playing 145 games. This would have been his line in a 162 game season:
124 runs, 38 HR, 131 RBI, 29 SB, .336 AVG
That would have meant that CarGo led all of baseball in runs and RBI. Instead we had to settle for an NL batting crown and the only player with more than 30 home runs and 20 steals. The bottom line is that there is no player more qualified to help a team in five categories than CarGo.
Skeptics Say: The glass half-empty folks seem to be winning. Most analysts don’t even place CarGo back as the top outfielder let alone the top player after he was best in 2010. His .384 BABIP, 0.30 K:BB, and 20.4 HR:FB rates last year would all indicate that his average and home runs were certainly inflated.
Peer Comparison: I started keeping track of the number one players according to Yahoo in the 2006 season. Here is how the players have been ranked following a season in which they were ranked number one.
Johan Santana (age 27) 2006 Rank: #1 2007 Rank: #22
Alex Rodriguez (age 31) 2007 Rank: #1 2008 Rank: #14
Albert Pujols (age 28) 2008 Rank: #1 2009 Rank: #1
Albert Pujols (age 29) 2009 Rank: #1 2010 Rank: #2
Carlos Gonzalez (age 24) 2010 Rank: #1 2011 Rank: ???
Looking at the list, it shows that being number one means a player won’t fall too far too fast. It also means that Pujols is a great among the greats. Part of the draw in drafting in CarGo at number eight is that if he doesn’t rank in the top eight, he won’t be too far off from that at age 25 heading into 2011.
Lineup Outlook: CarGo was the number three hitter in 90 of the Rockies games last season. He hit .358 in that spot during the season, and has continued to hit there during Spring Training, so he’ll figure to continue batting in that spot. If he moves from that spot, he could be in trouble. His 6.3% walk rate is not great, but since Troy Tulowitzki hits behind him, pitchers are in a tough spot if they try to make CarGo chase and he doesn’t. Behind anyone else in the lineup, CarGo could definitely get pitched around.
What They’re Saying: Yahoo: #2 Outfielder & #8 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #2 Outfielder; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #2 Outfielder & #11 Overall; John Halpin of Fox Sports: #1 Outfielder & #3 Overall; RotoChamp: #2 Outfielder & #10 Overall; Charlie Saponara: #3 Outfielder & #10 Overall; Fantasy Newsman: #3 Outfielder
Projection: Even with this projection in bringing down all five of his 5×5 numbers, this guy is still a top ten pick.
100 R 29 HR 107 RBI 25 SB .310 AVG .935 OPS
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