Fantasy Baseball 2014: Owners Can’t Afford To Worry About Carlos Gonzalez
He’s missed 79 games over the last two seasons, has struggled with multiple injuries and seems to always be playing with one.
And I don’t care.
Carlos Gonzalez is easily one of the best players in all of baseball. He hits for power, hits for average, steals bases, he does it all. An undisputed top-five draft pick, Car-Go has owners contemplating whether or not he is worth that pick, due to injury concerns. Along with Troy Tulowitzki, Gonzalez just simply hasn’t been able to stay on the field for a full season. Granted, it’s a fair reason to consider passing up on Gonzalez in fantasy land, but there’s just one problem.
He’s too good.
Over the last four seasons combined, Gonzalez is one of only two players in baseball to post at least a .300 batting average, belt 100 home runs and steal 50 bases. Gonzalez is a legitimate 30/30 threat, which is incredibly rare in fantasy circles nowadays. But even if he doesn’t quite reach that plateau, he is an absolute lock for at least a 20/20 season. Gonzalez is the only man in baseball to post four consecutive 20-home run, 20-steal seasons, and has been a consistent producer. During that same span, he’s averaging a .310 batting average, 27 home runs, 91 RBI, 21.8 steals and 61.5 extra base hits. This is a guy who simply puts up monster numbers every single season, and while he is likely going to miss some time, he’s still worth the first round pick.
In 2013, Gonzalez vastly improved his play away from Coors Field, which is something we’ve been waiting for. His .323 average on the road was impressive, especially when you consider that number was down to an ugly .234 in 2012. In fact, he batted for a better average on the road than at home last season. He also hit two more home runs away from Coors Field, which is impressive, seeing as his home ballpark is one of the most home run friendly in baseball. Of course, that comes to play, too. Coors Field has ranked inside the top-10 in home runs per game every season since 2001, including a handful of top-three ranks. The altitude plays a large roll, but Car-Go has the power and skill to be a 30-home run guy at any venue. According to ESPN. Gonzalez’s true distance of 409.31 feet was among the highest in baseball.
Look, there’s obviously going to be some injury concern here. The guy hasn’t played a full season in his career and his coming off an injury to his middle finger, one that resulted in him missing the final 73 contests last season. Gonzalez, however, opted out of surgery and stated that the issue won’t alter his swing, which is (to me) a good sign that it isn’t too much of a bother. Simply put, there aren’t many more high upside players on a per-game basis in fantasy land than Car-Go, and while the injury concerns are legitimate ones, they aren’t nearly enough to warrant passing on him in the first round.
If he’s there, grab him.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.
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