Fantasy Baseball: Carlos Gonzalez in 2011

I was having an argument with a friend of mine last week about the value of Fangraphs WAR statistic. He doesn't see much value in it, while I think it is useful when comparing players as it takes out ballpark effects and considers fielding for hitters. While fielding is not a stat fantasy owners care much for, ballpark factors are useful when deciding whether to draft one player over another.

The argument my friend gave for saying WAR was almost useless was because he didn't like the fact that, according to WAR, Andres Torres was as good as Carlos Gonzalez, as both players had a WAR of 6.0. So we went back and forth about the value of WAR, and whether who had the better chance of duplicating their 2010 season-Torres or CarGo.

I thought Gonzalez had a better shot at duplicating his 2010 season until I saw his BABIP of .384 and his home/road splits. Gonzalez hit .380-.425-.737 with 26 HRs, 76 RBIs and 10 SBs at home, and just .289-.322-.453 with 8 HRs, 41 RBIs and 16 SBs on the road. 

What also surprised me was the fact that CGonz hit lefties very well in 2010. In 222 ABs, he hit .320-.353-.572 with 14 HRs, 42 RBIs and 8 SBs against lefties. In 2009, in just 58 ABs against lefties, CGonz hit .276-.343-.466 with 2 HRs and 6 RBIs. 

So, in 2010, CGonz had a BABIP of .384, which was 3rd best in all of baseball behind Josh Hamilton and Austin Jackson. He also hit .380 with 26 HRs at home and hit lefties to the tune of a .320 batting average. What fantasy owners will have to decide is whether this is what we should expect from Gonzalez, or if 2010 was a career year.

I have a feeling he will not duplicate any of those stats in 2011, but will still be a productive fantasy hitter. I can see him hitting 25 HRs, 90 RBIs and 25 SBs in 2011. All are very good numbers, and probably still deserving of a first round pick in fantasy drafts.

Anything less will be a disappointment for a 2011 first round pick.

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