Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Really Freaking Good

I'm feeling pretty good about watching Red Sox baseball from now until 2018.  Not only because JD Drew will probably keep on feeling that sore hammy until the end of THIS season, but also because we're in good hands at the first base position.  While a lot of players don't really fit the billing that the sycophantic fanboys post for them, Adrian Gonzalez (so far) has done that and maybe exceeded it.

The numbers speak for themselves.  The only one that doesn't look too great is the number of double plays.  He has hit into ten of them already this season, and has had a few games this year where he hit into two.  I guess when a guy's Youkilis Fast, this kind of thing is going to happen.

Everything else has been awesome.  He's hitting .340 through last night's game, and it's not like he's just riding a streak where he's hit .600 for a week a la Jed Lowrie.  He's hit .393 for the last month, but that's prolonged production, not a ten-game hitting streak.  He leads the league in doubles, hits, and RBIs.  I know that Theo Epstein doesn't care about RBIs, but it means he's going up to the plate looking for a hit or looking for a way to move runners along instead of walking.  He's aggressive.  And while that leads to a strikeout every 6.4 at-bats, it also leads to hitting if you have a good swing.

I say "good swing," because he has that sweet swing that they always say JD Drew has - except he is what Drew would be if Drew cared.  He's a smart hitter, and this meets expectations.  He doesn't wait for the perfect pitch, instead going the other way.  The way he swings, though, he can go the other way and still go for extra bases.  With 81 games at the Little League field every year, he could hit 40 home runs, keep on drilling doubles, and maybe set a stadium record for the number of singles hit off the wall.  (One of those guys at Elias Sports Bureau has to have that stat.)  He has the ability to hit the ball down the lines if the pitch is conducive to that.  And unlike a lot of other power hitters, he's not sitting dead red fastballs so he can just hit the ball 450.  He's not a dead-pull hitter, and I think it's unwise for teams to play the shift against him like I believe Cleveland did last night.  He's not a five-tool player, but he has both the contact ability and the power ability.  Incredible.

A lot of this stuff is the kind of stuff you'd write or read BEFORE the guy signs with a team.  Keith Law or Buster Olney said a whole bunch of seemily-hyperbolic garbage that probably reads similar to the previous paragraph.  But that's offseason talk.  You rarely see it during the season, as it's dismissed as hyperbolic bullcrap.  Well, here it is, May 25th and we might actually be saying that Olney, Law, or whoever said it underestimated Adrian Gonzalez.  We might actually be saying that Peter Gammons underestimated him.

He also doesn't seem like a DB.  He didn't get into any contentious contract negotiations like I thought he would.  It wouldn't surprise me if things seven years down the road turned sour, but I hope not.  I'm enjoying what it is today, and what it is today is that Adrian Gonzalez might be the best player in baseball. 

He also just turned 29, which means that he's a mere 16 months and 3 days older than young prospect with a lot of upside, 46, who may someday have Carl Crawford skills and is likely a future Hall of Famer.  All sarcasm aside, it's exciting to think that there are going to be eight more years of this.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

i am not longer logging in when making a comment because this dumb thing asks me to start a blog every time, anyway crawford looked great in the 6th spot may have been alot more comfortable because of the lead they had already got, if he can start playing better this team will be hard to beat
- jason

Anonymous said...

DV

Adrian Gonzalez has been everything we could have hoped for. He sprays the ball everywhere and has power to all fields. It's very impressive. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Manny (as a hitter, not as a person). That said, when you look at Manny's average numbers for a season in Boston/Cleveland and look at what Adrian has done thus far, the results are decidedly in Manny's favor. This is not meant to discredit what Gonzalez has done--the guy has been unreal. It just highlights just how great Manny was (and yes, I realize that PED's are a part of Manny's legacy).

So now that big contract is well on its way to being justified. Carl Crawford? He just went 4 for 4. And he's batting .229. Wow. I didn't think he'd ever be worth $142 million, even if he did what he did in Tampa Bay, but unless he really takes off this year and he gets back to an All-Star caliber level, he won't be worth even $42 million over the length of his contract.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Guys,

First, sorry about not responding yesterday. Was at a conference. But first, regarding Crawford, it looks like he's going to be okay. He's a versatile enough player that he can be an asset to the lineup whereever he is.

As far as Gonzalez goes, he reminds me more of what Drew was supposed to be instead of what Manny was. Manny could be a good comparison, but I can't put that in a vacuum quite yet. Not quite ready to be an adult about it yet.

Anonymous said...

looks like my AL mvp pick (gonzalez) is looking pretty good. bautista might have him right now, and granderson would be on the same plane as him, but by season's end i would not be surprised at all for it to clearly be gonzalez. normally i get very annoyed when red sox play as well as he is, but since i saw this coming from so far away i'm almost completely not bothered. 5% as opposed to 99% level of annoyance.

- pf

the gm at work said...

You really went out on a limb for that one, Pat.

Granderson's kind of out of nowhere, though.

Anonymous said...

sure, it's not out on a limb, but most mvp picks aren't out on a limb. because after all, is it better to go out on a limb or try to pick the right guy? if you go out on a limb and get the right guy, then you look great. but the chances of that are low. so i just try to pick the right guy irrespective of whether or not i'm going out on a limb.

also consider that gonzalez finished 20th, 18th, 12th, and 4th in the four years he registered in the NL mvp voting. so while he was clearly moving up the ladder, we aren't talking about a guy who has been knocking on the door for years here. yes he is coming from the biggest pitcher's parks in baseball to one of the biggest hitters parks (standing to have his great numbers improve further) and he's coming to a much more relevant team (giving him more mvp exposure). but he's also coming to a much more competitive division (where some adjustment time would have been forseeably reasonable before the season) in a league where there is a ton of individual offensive talent. not out on a limb, but not exactly a lock.

anyway, it's not like he won the award, or if he does that i'm going to be super proud of myself for picking him. i was just flatly pointing out that the pick looks pretty good right now.

- pf

Anonymous said...

and by foreseeably reasonable, i mean reasonably forseeable.

- pf