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Carlos Gonzalez Scouting Review

The Colorado Rockies recalled OF Carlos Gonzalez, and new manager Jim Tracey promised he would get five starts per week.  Whether the Rockies are a better team with Gonzalez playing ahead of Ryan Spillborghs, Seth Smith or Dexter Fowler is a question that will be answered soon enough.

As I have done previously with Jake Fox and Vin Mazzaro, I went back and reviewed what Baseball America said about Carlos Gonzalez in 2008 and 2007. For additional info, I went back to John Sickels' The Baseball Prospect Book 2006 for an additional season's scouting report.   Because he exhausted rookie eligibility after 302 ABs with the A's last season (242/273/361), there is no prospect report for 2009. 

Baseball Prospectus 2009 lists Carlos Gonzalez' PECOTA comparables as Pedro Valdes, Lloyd Moseby, Felix Jose, and Alex Fernandez. In 2008, the comparables were Juan Encarnacion, Edgard Clemente, Felix Pie and Brandon Moss.  The trend there looks like it is worsening as the top comp went from a 22-year-old Encarnacion (7 HR and 7 SB in 164 Abs with the Tigers) to a 23-year-old Pedro Valdes (for intents and purposes, a major league zero in Age 23 season with Cubs).  Still, Lloyd Moseby's Age 23 season saw 18 HRs, 27 SBs and a 315/376/499 slash stats line.

The scouting reports and PECOTA comparables lead me to think either a post-hype sleeper or too many character issues to overcome.  Which do you think it is?

2006 John Sickels, B+ Arizona Diamondbacks:

Watch out for this one.  A toolsy Venezuelan signed in 2002, Carlos Gonzalez began to blossom last year, tapping into his natural power and improving his strike zone judgment.  He posted a +19 OPS in the Midwest League, a sharp improvement compared to a mediocre +3 percent mark in short-season ball in 2004.  Scouts report that his swing looked much better in '05 and that he made major adjustments dealing with breaking balls and change-ups, which were problems in '03 and '04....If he continues to develop as a hitter, only the lack of speed will prevent him from being a true Seven Skill player....his ceiling is very high, he is very young...

2007 Baseball America, #3 Arizona Diamondbacks:

...followed up his 2005 MVP campaign in the Midwest League by again showing the all-around ability that gets scouts excited...The Diamondbacks have an embarrassment of outfielders, and Gonzalez can hit with any of them...a quiet approach at the plate with good bat speed and quick hands...a prototype right fielder and has the best outfield arm in the organization....can get in home run mode and over swing...and gets so anxious at the plate that he sometimes expands his strike zone.  He didn't always hustle last season...has played center field during winter ball...but he'll probably slow down to a slightly-below average runner as he fills out....

2008 Baseball America, #1 Arizona Diamondbacks:

...lacks nothing in the way of physical tools...tremendous bat speed, with a pure easiness to his swing that generates plus raw power to all fields.  The strength and leverage in his natural inside-out stroke makes the ball jump off his bat.  A prototype right fielder...his feel for the game has improved...Scouts and managers have often been turned off by Gonzalez' approach to the game, accusing him of giving away Abs or not hustling at times...a case of immaturity and lack of focus but not bad make-up.  To the contrary, they say he's a bright, outgoing person who wants to be a star...He gets himself in trouble when he tries to pull the ball too much...still an erratic defender...