Yo, Adrian!

0514 Adrian Gonzalez
A moment to contemplate the sheer force of awesome that has been Adrian Gonzalez in a Red Sox uniform:

  • If the season ended today, he would set a career high in OPS and tie his career high in OPS+. No big deal; he's playing half his games in Fenway now, right?
  • Wrong. The offensive environment for Adrian Gonzalez as a member of the Red Sox with Fenway Park as his home field in 2011, as measured by Baseball-Reference, is 98 (100 is historically average), exactly the same as it was for Gonzalez as a member of the Padres with Petco Park as his home field in 2009. Yes, offense is down that much.
  • He's slugging .574 in that environment, 23 points better than his career high to date.
  • Since hitting a meager .266/.344/.388 through April 23, Gonzalez has hit .400/.427/.709 with an amazing 31 RBI in 26 games (196-RBI pace).
  • Having demolished Chicago with a 10-for-15 performance, including two four-hit games, this weekend, Gonzalez is the first Sox player in nearly three years to put four-hit games so closely together. No surprise, Dustin Pedroia was the last to do it: He went 4 for 4 on consecutive nights in late August, 2008. 

The pace is unsustainable, of course. His BABIP is through the roof. On the other hand, his line drive percentage is low, and his home run-fly ball ratio is about normal. Hopefully, the line drives come back and offset some of that BABIP regression.

But, those disclaimers out of the way, we should enjoy it while we can. This is exactly what the Sox thought they were getting, if not moreso. Carl Crawford should be taking notes.

23 comments… add one
  • yep, this guy is a beast…i don’t even remember anymore who the sox traded for him…sure the current clip is unsustainable, but no reason to believe he won’t have monster numbers when the season’s done…defensively he is, without stats, just anecdotally, a giant vacuum cleaner at first…i’m actually forcing myself not to like the guy [only because of the uniform he wears]…carl who?

    dc May 23, 2011, 4:16 pm
  • Meanwhile, Heyman says Matsuzaka might need TJ surgery.

    I'mBillMcNeal May 23, 2011, 7:19 pm
  • Congrats to the SFs here…it’s always nice when a big-money (or big-traded) player actually works out. There have been way too many disappointing busts in both our teams’ recent pasts, it’s good to have some successes on both sides. Makes for much better feelings (although undoubtedly fewer words) than the ‘who has the bigger busts’ kind of discussions.

    AndrewYF May 23, 2011, 7:31 pm
  • Now you’re going too far. Because Fenway isn’t playing like a hitter’s park this year, you want to call it Petco East? Do you have any understanding of small samples and how park factors are calculated? I’d suggest you do a bit more studying and less extrapolating from very small data sets. We have all of baseball history to show that Fenway is a bandbox. Even one season of mediocre Sox hitting isn’t going to change that.
    A-Gon is a great, great hitter. And he’s obviously still adjusting to Fenway. Once he does, he’s going to be a mainstay in that lineup for years to come. I wouldn’t assume the BABIP will come back to Earth either. He’s that good.
    Anthony Rizzo though is doing some sick things in the PCL – he’s got 14 HRs in 40 games.

    James YF May 24, 2011, 6:28 am
  • Thankfully Andrew the Yankees haven’t had many recent “busts”, not of the Crawford/Lugo/Rentaria variety at least. Granderson is cementing his true value. Teixeira is plenty good. Sabathia has been the rare case to match absurd expectations. Even Burnett helped them with a ring so his stinker of 2010 is forgivable.
    The closest the Yanks have had is overpaying their own guys, and I can’t fault them one iota for that. The A-Rod contract is worse than the Jeter contract which is worse than Jorge’s, but as they’ve shown with Jorge, the contracts won’t prevent moves if necessary.

    James YF May 24, 2011, 6:41 am
  • It’s funny how “James YF” constantly criticizes people for using small sample sizes, then calls Crawford a bust based on the same time period.
    And I’m not sure you can call Renteria, who spent only a year in Boston, a “bust”. And saying “Burnett’s crappy season is excused because he got a ring” is pretty laughable. Using that logic you could excuse Lugo because he “helped them with a ring” in 2007.

    Atheose - SF May 24, 2011, 9:03 am
  • “Anthony Rizzo though is doing some sick things in the PCL – he’s got 14 HRs in 40 games.”
    LOL, I can hit 14 HR’s in the PCL. Too bad he goes from one extreme (the PCL) to the other (Petco) when he’s called up. Good player, over inflated numbers. How’s Kyle Blanks handling the transition to the bigs? Like PE said Don’t Believe the Hype!
    Meanwhile what happened to the “gem” of that deal Casey Kelly?
    Congrats Sox fans you have yourselves quite a hitter.

    John - YF May 24, 2011, 9:19 am
  • james tends to lay it on a little thick, but we all think we know what fenway is regardless of some newly minted stats that might suggest otherwise…historically it’s been considered a hitter’s paradise…it’s just anecdotal though, from some of those same guys that vote for the gold glove award…the monster may take away a few line drive homers, but it gives them back with bloops into the monster seats…the pesky pole gives a few more, but that dramatic swing of the fence to the left of the pole takes some away…seems like nearly every wall-ball winds up an automatic double, unless it’s a wicked line drive, played exceptionally well, or it’s a turtle running to first base, but i’m sure there’s a stat for that too…center field in fenway might be the toughest place to hit one out, but if it falls and rolls into that corner, the batter can run all day…hitter’s park, i dunno, i tend to believe the anecdotes…but it doesn’t matter where you’re hitting if you ain’t hitting…

    dc May 24, 2011, 9:38 am
  • Crawford’s entire career is a pretty big sample. When the hits aren’t dropping, his entire value drops. To expect a repeat of his 2010 – his career year – was folly. To give him 7 years based off of it was idiocy. Even his defense is a net negative this year.
    Agreed on the PCL. Still, Rizzo is smoking.

    James YF May 24, 2011, 11:47 am
  • but we all think we know what fenway is regardless of some newly minted stats that might suggest otherwise
    What conventional wisdom tells us we know isn”t always the case. Fenway and lefties, etc. Advanced metrics are interesting (though not infallible) because they help us adjust our conventional wisdom, and replace our reflexive assumptions with deeper knowledge.

    SF May 24, 2011, 11:59 am
  • that seems a little unfair james…
    crawford career [incl 11’s sm samp size]:
    294/334/773/105
    crawford 2010:
    307/356/851/134
    crawford 2011:
    215/249/547/50
    to infer that the sox signed him solely because of 2010 is absurd, he’s been nearly as good in several of his prior seasons, having ops+ over 100 in 6 of his 9 seasons with the rays…i was drooling over the possibility of him being a yankee someday long before ’10…he had 9 good to great seasons in tampa before coming to boston…yes, his speed is neutralized in part by his lower obp, and he’s not a power hitter, but there’s no reason to believe he’s not going to get it together…in fact there’s 9 reasons [’02-’10] to believe he will…as for his defense, i have seen him make a few gaffe’s in left, but you hear about guys taking their hitting woes to the field with them…don’t bet against this guy…

    dc May 24, 2011, 12:03 pm
  • “…they help us adjust our conventional wisdom, and replace our reflexive assumptions with deeper knowledge….”
    huh? ;)
    i still stand behind my cryptic assessment of fenway’s design and its effect on batted balls…every ballpark has their quirks so i’m not picking on fenway…heck yankee stadium has that magical mystical jet stream that the yankees somehow even manage to take on the road with them once in awhile…

    dc May 24, 2011, 12:08 pm
  • What I said was clear enough, I thought. Offense is down to such a great extent this year that right now, the offensive environment in which Gonzalez is playing is the same as it was in 2009, despite the shift in home parks.
    And Crawford has been a terrific player for a long time. The only thing idiotic that I see regarding him is pretending as if his career year in 2011 was the only great season he’s had.

    Paul SF May 24, 2011, 1:56 pm
  • Yeah, to assume Fenway, after almost 100 years of evidence, is going to somehow tell us something new, is plain dumb. It’s perhaps the most hitter friendly park in the game’s history. We’re not learning anything new or deeper at this point. The only thing changing is the team on the field.

    James YF May 24, 2011, 2:16 pm
  • “Offense is down to such a great extent this year that right now, the offensive environment in which Gonzalez is playing is the same as it was in 2009, despite the shift in home parks.”
    That’s your problem right there. You’re extrapolating from broad trends to a specific player. That’s logic fail. It’s like asking about global warming during a snowstorm.
    “And Crawford has been a terrific player for a long time.”
    Actually he hasn’t ever been “terrific”. He’s been worth 5 wins exactly once – in 2010 and he’s had only two seasons above 4 wins. He’s a 3 to 4 win guy, at his best on average. The Sox overpaid greatly for that, especially with how we’re seeing that his defense doesn’t translate to Fenway.
    Calling Crawford “terrific” is like calling Gardner “outstanding”.

    James YF May 24, 2011, 2:24 pm
  • It’s perhaps the most hitter friendly park in the game’s history.
    Bwahahahaha! Two words: Coors Field.
    That’s your problem right there. You’re extrapolating from broad trends to a specific player. That’s logic fail. It’s like asking about global warming during a snowstorm.
    That’s actually not my problem at all. Nor is it a problem. The offensive environment affects players, and those who put up tremendous numbers in more hostile environments are more impressive than those who put up the same numbers in friendlier environments. Offense is way down, for whatever reason, continuing a multiyear trend that now has us replicating the offensive levels of 1992. That means it is harder to put up a given set of numbers this year than it was last year or the year before or in 1998 or what have you. Gonzalez is experiencing all the same factors the rest of the league is experiencing. The benefit he receives from hitting in Fenway instead of Petco is essentially canceling out (or is canceled out by, whichever way you want to look at it) the rest of those factors.
    He’s been worth 5 wins exactly once – in 2010 and he’s had only two seasons above 4 wins. He’s a 3 to 4 win guy, at his best on average.
    Um, “at his best on average”? Really? So, “on average,” he’s a 3-4 win guy “at his best”? By your own admission, “at his best” means more than four wins, so you can’t even be honest using your own convoluted measures.
    At any rate, Fangraphs says Crawford’s been a 3-4 win guy in all but three seasons of his career. In fact, he’s been a 4-5 win guy three times, a 5-6 win guy once and a 7-8 win guy once. Since 2004, he’s been worth less than three wins exactly once.
    So I would argue that, “on average,” Crawford is a five-win player, because that is actually he’s averaged for the past seven seasons, and that “at his best,” he’s worth six wins or better, because that is what he’s averaged in the past two seasons.
    I’ll close with this:
    Left fielders, by WAR, 2002-10
    1. Chipper Jones, 44.1
    2. Carl Crawford, 36.5
    3. Matt Holliday, 34.6
    4. Alfonso Soriano, 34.4
    5. Manny Ramirez, 32.5
    If you include 2011, Crawford and Holliday flip in the ranking.
    2004-10
    1. Matt Holliday, 34.6
    2. Carl Crawford, 34.1
    3. Alfonso Soriano, 23.8
    4. Johnny Damon, 23.1
    5. Jason Bay, 22.3
    2006-10
    1. Matt Holliday, 30.1
    2. Carl Crawford, 24.2
    3. Alfonso Soriano, 19.4
    4. Ryan Braun, 17.4
    5. Johnny Damon, 15.8
    2009-10
    1. Carl Crawford, 13.2
    2. Matt Holliday, 12.3
    3. Ryan Braun, 9.4
    4. Jason Bay, 6.4
    5. Chase Headley, 6.3
    One of the top two left fielders in baseball for nearly a decade = terrific.

    Paul SF May 24, 2011, 3:06 pm
  • Paul, all you did just there is allow a shifting of the focus to Matt Holliday, and an obfuscation of the discussion at hand with an hypothetical diatribe about Theo’s non-pursuit of that player. You know it is coming.

    SF May 24, 2011, 3:15 pm
  • To be fair to James, he was using BRef’s WAR totals, which doesn’t like Crawford nearly as much as FanGraphs does.

    AndrewYF May 24, 2011, 5:09 pm
  • “Gonzalez is experiencing all the same factors the rest of the league is experiencing.”
    Wait, Gonzalez is coming down off steroids-inflated numbers and experiencing the same funky physical problems and ailments as a result?

    IronHorse (YF) May 24, 2011, 6:56 pm
  • Haha, IH. :-) I guess we can debate the role to which steroids played a role in the higher-offense era from the mid 1990s to the late 2000s, but I’m inclined to believe it’s overstated. Certainly I don’t think we can blame steroid testing as the reason for the marked decline in offense leaguewide between 2009 and 2011, more than five years after testing began.

    Paul SF May 25, 2011, 7:40 am
  • so let me get this straight, an individual player’s numbers can be “down” because everybody else’s are down…really?…how does that work?…i don’t understand…apparently gonzo didn’t get that memo…and fenway suddenly is not so hitter friendly according to some stat?…for real?…
    gonzo’s line: 340/391/959/160
    those look like friendly numbers to me, though to be fair, i didn’t split home/away, so that may tell a different story…
    crawford’s a great player…i’ve already said that earlier but it’s worth repeating…i would have loved having him on the yankees…don’t listen to james…

    dc May 25, 2011, 10:07 am
  • DC, let’s say offense is down for a combination of a number of reasons:
    * Bad weather
    * The ball is manufactured slightly differently
    * An influx of better pitchers
    * Banning amphetamines
    This will affect every hitter in some way or another. Certainly Gonzalez would be playing in the same weather, hitting the same baseballs, facing the same pitchers.
    It’s possible that there’s some factor that is completely passing Gonzalez by (a large subset of young hitters given playing time despite being terrible, thus dragging down the overall average, or a large number of roiders have retired or lost their suppliers), but I’m not sure I can think of any that are particularly convincing.
    Of course, hitters move up and move down individually (Jose Bautista is certainly not seeing his offense decline); collectively, however, they are telling a story about the game’s balance between offense and defense, a balance that seems likely to affect every hitter and every pitcher in some way, even if it just means turning a potentially insane season into a merely excellent one.

    Paul SF May 25, 2011, 11:36 am
  • ok….thanks for realizing that i wasn’t trying to be a smarta**…maybe a little ;)…and your theories make a lot of sense…i might toss in player movement, like a new team or a new position…that could have an impact, although i don’t have any idea how many players changed teams or position…

    dc May 25, 2011, 12:26 pm

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