Looking at Carlos Gonzalez‘s 2010 season, there’s every reason to consider him a player drafted in the first round of drafts this season. So, he’s not overvalued based on his results rather he is overvalued because it’s unlikely that he will replicate those results this season. I was very high on CarGo last season and expected big things from him but even I didn’t expect what we got. And, frankly, I’m not expecting it again this season.
When dissecting last season, let’s start with his home run numbers. The 34 homers and .262 ISO (ISO is extra bases per at bat) were an extremely nice surprise but tempering expectations on those would be wise. The ISO number was much higher than his minor league or early major league career had shown. The effect of playing in Colorado certainly should be taken into consideration (a .357 ISO at home versus .164 on the road is certainly an indication of that as well as 26 of 34 HR’s being at home). Outside of that, according to HitTracker, he was tied for 3rd in the majors in “Just Enough” HR’s with 13 and lead the league in “Lucky” HR’s with 5. If maybe five of those HR’s turn into doubles, his ISO drops to .245 which seems to be a little more realistic for him based on past history. While he has some power and his home field adds to it, 25-30 HR’s is what you should expect of him as opposed to him building upon his 34 HR’s.
The other very nice thing about CarGo was his insane .339 batting average. However, that is where there will be the largest drop most likely. He was a .290 hitter in the minors and worse than that in his first two stops in the majors leading into last season. Yet, as I mentioned in a previous post, he had the third highest BABIP in the league at .384 which basically means that he got extremely lucky on the balls that he made contact with. While he could hit a bit higher than it, expecting him to return to a level around .290 is more logical than expecting above .300 again. Dropping his average that much would mean about 25 less hits for him and that would have an effect on both his R and RBI numbers in addition to SB opportunities. The SB’s were actually a bit of a surprise last year but he does have good speed so getting 20 SB again is certainly reasonable.
All in all, CarGo is a player with 30/30 potential who is a very safe bet for 20/20. His ability to hit for good average and the opportunity to bring in nearly 100 R and 100 RBI make him extremely valuable. But, outfield is a deep position and there are better options in the first round that have better track records on producing consistently for a long period such as Ryan Braun or a host of others. Gonzalez should be a Top 25 player in 2011 but putting him within the Top 5 or close to it is extremely questionable as there are safer options even at scarcer positions available there.