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Fantasy Outlook: Carlos Gonzalez

Aug 11, 2015

Carlos Gonzalez has been on a tear, but what can owners expect the rest of the way?

Carlos Gonzalez has been on a tear, but what can owners expect the rest of the way?

Carlos Gonzalez got off to a rather slow start this season and left many fantasy owners scratching their heads as their investment quickly lost value. If you had the fortitude to buy low in mid-to-late June, you probably feel almost like you cheated the selling owner. As we approach the stretch run for fantasy teams aiming for the playoffs, let’s examine Gonzalez’s outlook the rest of the way.

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Anytime you are attempting to project something such as fantasy baseball production, we have to remove emotion and remember that statistics tend to regress (positively or negatively) towards their mean. In late June, I wrote an article for FantasyPros that focused on the psychology of trades and how to properly analyze your fantasy team. I bring that up because the example I used was Robinson Cano, who at the time was one of the unluckiest hitters in baseball in terms of BABIP. Gonzalez was not too far behind and much like Cano, he was pulling the ball but generating an alarmingly high number of ground balls. After May 31st, Gonzalez’s BABIP sat at .252 and his ground ball rate was 53.5%. He had a grand total of four home runs and things looked bleak.

This is a fun narrative to toss around sometimes, but oddly enough as the weather warmed up so did Gonzalez’s bat. From June 2nd through August 9th, Gonzalez’s GB rate was 42.5% with a .343 BABIP while adding 21 more home runs to his total.  To put Gonzalez’s nine-week hot streak into context, nearly a third of his base hits during this time frame left the ball park. We now have a tale of two extremes, which leaves us to examine what owners can expect over the final six-to-seven weeks of the fantasy season.

In keeping with our philosophy of not letting the extreme swings (good or bad) affect our decision making, it seems reasonable to expect things to slow up a bit. Keep in mind that even the best hitters are prone to streaks that are good or bad (which is why baseball is inherently volatile on a day-to-day basis), but over the course of a full season they should perform reasonably close to expectations. Yes, Gonzalez still gets to play at Coors Field barring a waiver deal in August. But keep in mind the lineup overall was weakened by the departure of Troy Tulowitzki (sorry, Jose Reyes is not the same). Think of the insane production noted above that it took just to get him within shouting distance of his career averages after his putrid start.

In conclusion, owners should expect another ten to twelve homers the rest of the way as his HR/FB rate (30%) from this hot stretch is unsustainable (his career high was 23.9% in 2013). I will note that Gonzalez sports a career BABIP of .339, which is almost in line with the .343 BABIP he posted from June 2nd through August 9th, so I expect the batting average to remain healthy. If you bought low in June, congratulations. If you were a seller in June, I have no words that will console you. If you drafted Gonzalez and somehow rode this entire thing out, you are an owner with unshakeable resolve, and I hope you get rewarded in your fantasy leagues.

Adam Sutton is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Adam, follow him @DraftStars_Adam. You can find more of Adam’s work at DraftStars.net.

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