Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Carlos Gonzalez extended with the Colorado Rockies

At around 5:15pm today, the Colorado Rockies announced a contract extension that will keep the 1-year star outfielder, Carlos Gonzalez, in Coors Field for at least 7 more seasons while paying him about $80 million. He also got a $3.5 million signing bonus.

Gonzalez was originally signed as an amateur free-agent in 2002 by the Arizona Diamondbacks and was traded to Oakland. The former top prospect in the Oakland Athletic's organization was then traded during the 2009-2010 off season in the Houston Street-Matt Holiday trade along with pitcher Greg Smith. Gonzalez had a great first full season in the bigs, with a good line of .336/.376/.598 with 34 homers and 26 stolen bases.

There is already a problem there: the OBP and BA differential is very small, 40 points. But his SLG is obviously outstanding. But that is also another huge problem. I recently learned this in the book Baseball Between the Numbers: a higher OBP is much more valuable than a high SLG. In the book, written by Baseball Prospectus, Baseball Prospectus put certain players and lineups into a computer system called BLOOP. BLOOP calculates how many runs a player or lineup should produce over the course of a full season (162 games). BLOOP was created by the famous Baseball Prospectus group. I am sorry to say that I do not have access to this software but my point is that this proves that if a player with a high SLG but low OBP will create less runs than that of a player with a high OBP and low SLG. Carlos Gonzalez had an extremely high SLG and, yes, a high OBP, but it was not high in relative to his batting average which makes him perhaps a little overrated. Again since I do not have access to BLOOP, I really cannot prove this theory, hence why it is a theory.

"Cargo" saw a decent (in my opinion) amount of P/PA at 3.57 but had a great ISO of .262 in 2010. He was below average in strike out rate, 23%, and below average in walk rate, 6.3%. (MLB average for K-rate: 20.7%. BB-rate: 8.5.) This shows that this kid has a crap load of potential if he just be a little more patient at the plate and get his walk and strikeout rates to average.

And perhaps his plate discipline is a little sub-par as well. His O-Swing% in 2010 was 37%, the MLB average is 29.3%. But what makes this stat even worse is that his O-Contact% was 60.2% and the MLB average is 66.5%. That means that he, himself, shaved off a good portion of his potential batting average, and that raises the ceiling even higher for him in the future of his career. Honestly, I see why Billy Beane traded him.

I think that this is a good choice for the Rockies, but I would have waited one more year to make sure that this is real and it wasn't a bluff year. But I understand that the Rockies wanted to get rid of his arbitration years.

If Gonzalez can just polish up his plate discipline a bit (there is absolutely no guarantee that he will), he could possibly be right up there with Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton. It's good to expect about a .320-.330/.400-.420/.650 line and probably 40 home runs in a few years as that is what seems logical at this point based on what we have seen though his pro career in the major and minors. That's superstar status right there. For Christ's sake, he finished 3rd in the NL MVP voting last season...in his first full season, at the tender age of 24. But for next season, he should take a small step back, but he will still put up strong numbers: .300/.345/.530 and 26-29 homers is a nice bet.

(Statistics in courtesy of: espn.com, baseball-reference.com, and fangraphs.com)


  1. Mikey Mor, you know a lot of stuff for such a youngster, but you make a few questionable assumptions in your article.

    "Once Gonzalez fine tools his plate discipline..."

    By saying 'once' you're presupposing that he will eventually solve his plate discipline woes, that it's set in stone. You can't assume this. There are guys who have issues with plate discipline throughout their entire careers. It's not necessarily a learnable skill; many people believe that it's largely intrinsic, that is to say you either have it or you don't (not in all cases, but many).

    There are guys like Vladdy Daddy who are able to put up Hall of Fame careers with horrid plate discipline, but Vladdy is an anomaly...seriously, best 'bad ball' hitter I have ever seen.

    Gonzalez was more patient in '09 so there is a decent chance he improves but we can't assume that he will.

    "It's good to expect about a .320-.330/.400-.420/.650..."

    Mikey Mor, are you serious projecting a 1.050-1.070 OPS out of CarGo in a few years?

    Very ballsy. Not sure I would go there. That would put him at Pujols level, as you say a sentence earlier, which I feel is not fair to project.

    Could it happen? Maybe. But projecting it is a very risky proposition, especially considering he's had 1 1/2 good seasons at the Major League level.

    All in all, very good stuff Mikey Mor. Keep at it.

  2. Thank you, that's very helpful and I'm glad you wrote this, I'll definitely keep this stuff in mind for future posts.