Just who was that Superman leadoff hitter for the Colorado Rockies in the NLDS?
If you didn’t know much about Carlos Gonzalez prior to the Rockies playoff series with the Phillies, you know him now. Charlie Manuel sure does.
Gonzalez hit a sizzling .588 during the series (10-17) with 2 doubles, 1 homerun, 5 runs, and 2 stolen bases. There’s no doubt he can hit the lefties that the Phillies threw up against him.
Gonzalez, who will get to celebrate his 24th birthday at home on Saturday, was traded to the Rockies from the A’s in the Matt Holliday deal. Down the stretch, he was one of the best outfielders in MLB.
The Venezuelan started the season with Triple-A Colorado Sky Sox where he hit .339 with 10 homers and 59 RBI in 48 games. The Rockies couldn’t keep him down much longer so they recalled him in late June. Gonzalez hit .273 in July, a sizzling .371 in August, and .277 in September. In August, he homered in four consecutive games. He hit .320 after the all star break.
Last year, Gonzalez appeared in 85 games for Oakland and hit .242 with 4 homers and 26 RBI. Hardly the kind of stats that warrant a trade for Holliday. This year, in 89 games for the Rockies, he hit .284 with 13 homers and 29 RBI.
“We have a very, very special player on our hands,” said Jim Tracy, Rockies’ manager.
No doubt. Hitting atop a powerful Rockies lineup, Gonzalez could project to be a top 20 outfielder in the 2010 fantasy baseball draft. He is an easy 20-20 man and has potential to ultimately be a 30-30 man if he can put his power numbers up without sacrificing too many more strikeouts (he struck out over 25% of his at bats in 2009).
Like any young player who has a strong post-season run, however, expect Carlos Gonzalez to be over-valued by many managers in the 2010 fantasy baseball draft. We’d wait another year before drafting Gonzalez in the first five rounds.