San Diego’s Petco Park is the hardest place in baseball for a hitter to thrive. For years, Adrian Gonzalez has had to overcome the distinct disadvantage of having to hit in America’s most beautiful city.
Bill James notes that the park factor in Petco for home runs for lefthanded hitters the last three seasons was 59, with 100 being the average big-league park. That means it was 41 percent harder for a lefty to homer in Petco than anywhere else! Imagine how badly a left-handed power hitter would want to get out of there.
Over Gonzalez’s career, he has endured a .267 average with 57 homers in San Diego while hitting .297 with 111 home runs on the road! That’s a man who must have liked to pack his bags.
Gonzalez’s move to Fenway will greatly enhance his numbers. On a team laden with right-handed bats, Gonzalez gives the Red Sox the left-handed power bat that it needs.
The Red Sox need not look any further than last season and Adrian Beltre to know what a move to Beantown can do for a hitter. Beltre, a career .275 hitter, came off of a .265 season in Seattle in 2009 to hit .325 for the Red Sox last year. Beltre added a league leading 49 doubles and cracked 28 homeruns, the most the slugger has had since he hit 48 during the inflated (if you know what I mean) 2004 season.
As for where Gonzalez will hit in the Boston order, Gonzalez doesn’t know. ”I don’t have a preference,” he said, “but when I’m on base, I do clog up the bases. I’m thinking I’ll probably hit 4. Ellsbury, Crawford, Pedroia, me, Youkilis.” That’s a lot of speed in front of Gonzalez so that’s got to give him a great chance to enhance his RBI totals.
Adrian Gonzalez 2011 Fantasy Baseball Projection: Fantasy baseball owners have long wondered how big Gonzalez’s numbers would be outside of Petco and with greater protection in the lineup. Now, we’ll get to find out. With the Red Sox strengthened lineup for 2011, it is very possible that Gonzalez will be able to exceed his top career numbers of 40 home runs and a .304 batting average. In the RBI category, with all of those burners in front of him, Gonzalez should be able to match or exceed his career high of 119 RBI that he set in 2008. With the Red Sox lineup and the friendly confines of Fenway Park, Gonzalez has to be considered one of the top first basemen in the 2011 fantasy baseball draft.