I have to admit, coming into the 2011 season, I was high on Adrian Gonzalez and his chances for an excellent season hitting in the middle of the Red Sox lineup, but had some concerns about him recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. Moving from San Diego's Petco Park, the worst hitter's park in baseball, to Boston's Fenway Park is a dream come true for any hitter.
I ranked Gonzalez as my 4th ranked fantasy first baseman coming into the season. Here is what I wrote about him in my updated rankings back in early March:
4. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS-assuming he is healthy by mid-April, Gonzalez could have a monster season hitting in the new Big Red Machine's lineup in Boston. AGonz has hit 30 or more HRs in each of the last 4 seasons, and has driven in 100+ runs in 3 of the last 4 seasons. He could easily go 35-120-.290 this year, while Buster Olney thinks he can go 45-140. I guess that is possible, but a lot would have to go right for Gonzalez. And if he does do that, he will be the #1 pick in 2012.
Yes, it is true, Gonzalez has 4 seasons of 30 or more home runs. Since 2006, his home run production has gone from 24-30-36-40-31. Those are pretty remarkable power totals when you consider he was playing half of his games in Petco Park.
More on Gonzalez after the jump:
Coming into this season, Gonzalez extra base hit totals have ranged anywhere from 64 last season to 79 in 2007, but this year he is on pace to break that. Thus far this season, he is hitting .350-.407-.588 with 16 HRs, 27 doubles, 3 triples, 74 RBIs and 59 runs scored. He is on pace to hit 31 HRs, drive in 144 runs and have close to 90 extra base hits. Pretty amazing when you consider he is coming off offseason shoulder surgery.
And, I don't think we have seen the best from Gonzalez, as his batted ball data tell you his shoulder might still not be 100% recovered from the offseason surgery. His line drive and fly ball rates are down and his ground ball rates are way up this season. Consider this: he has a career batted ball line of (LD/GB/FB) of .21/.41/.38. This year his batted ball line is .19/.47/.34, yet he is still hitting home runs at the same rate as he has in his career, so we could see an even more power from Gonzalez in the second half.
And maybe Olney's prediction of a 45-140 season from him may have been just a year too early.
Honorable Mention: Prince Fielder, MILW and Miguel Cabrera, DET