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Fantasy Outlook: Carlos Gonzalez

Fantasy Outlook: Carlos Gonzalez
Carlos Gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez went off in the second half of the 2015 season

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2015 Season Recap

While it was a largely forgotten season in the Mile-High City, Rockies’ fans held the much-envied position of bearing witness to the aesthetically pleasing act of fluidity that is Carlos Gonzalez’ swing. Swinging with the unflinching grace of a prime Robinson Cano or Ken Griffey Jr. The two-time All-Star launched a career-high 40 home runs, recording the second most productive season of his career, thanks to an absolutely torrid second half.

While his career .290 batting average took a precipitous dip, his .540 slugging percentage managed to make up for it. The rising whispers and truculent backlash regarding his underwhelming first half proved to be unfounded as his third place ranking in the exit velocity category amidst his disappointing .197 month of April proved a positive omen of auspicious horizons. Entering June with a measly .215 batting average, four home runs and 13 RBIs, he connected on an astounding 21 long balls between the months of July and August, silencing the Doubting Thomas’ of the world into egg-on-their-face crickets.

2016 Projections

Our Consensus Projections have the Rockies’ star finishing with a solid line of 31 HRs, 88 RBI, and an .837 OPS. With the knee surgery that enmeshed him at the beginning of last year officially in his rearview, the 30-year-old arrived to Spring Training this year as fit as ever, particularly in his upper half.

If you have any persisting misgivings about whether Cargo is still in his prime, consider he had the fourth hardest hit ball last season (Exit Velocity wise) and two of the three players in front of him were Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout. The outfielders’ bat speed also remains top notch as his swing possesses the envious procession of fluidity followed by a sudden burst of violent, yet controlled hip rotation.

2016 ECR

Our Experts’ Consensus list him 45th overall on average but as low as 67, which serves to the inconsistency he has displayed in recent years. Beware of the career-long road struggles that continue to plague Gonzalez as evidenced by his uninspiring .294 OBP on the road this past campaign. Career wise, Gonzalez hits .324 at home which begs the age old question of whether he is primarily a 6 ft. 1 creation of Coors Field and its perpetually hitter-friendly, thin-air confines. Cargo also struggled against lefties this past season, batting just .195 with five home runs which is consistent with his career-long misfortune against southpaws (career .305 OBP).

2016 Season Outlook

When healthy, the All-Star is an elite player. His two-month stretch from July through August, which consisted of a home run rate of one HR every 8.8 at-bats, proved to be better than Giancarlo Stanton (before his season was cut short), Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and Chris Davis over the duration of their full seasons. While Cargo exhibits premiere plate coverage and full body extension in his swing, the resulting long route he takes to the ball ended in him hitting a measly .128 on combined 2-2 or 3-2 counts last year. In addition, he hit just .176 against “power pitchers” (considered to be top third in the league in strikeouts plus walks according to Baseball-Reference).

Also, the Silver Slugger’s leg-kick, while providing augmented power numbers, serves as a somewhat faulty timing mechanism which leads to frequent bouts of streakiness along with struggles against quality off-speed offerings. Moreover, this flawed approach resulted in the second highest strikeout total of his career (133) and lowest batting average over a full season.

Nevertheless, the Venezuelan still manages to strike gold against upper-echelon hurlers as 10 of his home runs this past season came at the hands of the Mets, Nationals, and Cubs who all finished top four in the NL in Batting Average Against. With budding star, Nolan Arenado, hitting behind Cargo, expect the fully healthy and fit three-time Gold Glove Winner to resemble more of the player that endeared himself to the Colorado Faithful in 2010 when he made serious pursuits for the Triple Crown and NL MVP Award.

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Anthony Castellano is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Anthony, check out his archive and follow him @AcasNY23.

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