Mr. Ole’ Reliable. Gonzalez has anchored the Dodgers’ lineup for the past 4 and a half seasons.
Despite his power numbers decreasing last year, Gonzalez still had a productive season. Gonzalez hit .285, 18 Home Runs, and 90 RBI.
Those are decent numbers for a first baseman, but the Dodgers could really use a power bat in the number 4 spot. Power isn’t necessarily the reason why Gonzalez will be hitting 4th. Dave Roberts likes hitting in the clean-up role.
A big reason why Gonzalez saw a drop off in his power numbers last season was due to his increased ground ball rate. Last year he had a ground ball rate of 46.2%, which is almost 10% higher than his consistent 38% ground ball rate. That increase directly correlates with his his decreased fly ball rate, which was down 10% from the 2015 season.
Gonzalez’s production is still there for a 34-year-old veteran. His OBP was .349, right around his .340 – .350 career average, but the slugging percentage has dropped off by 45 points. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gonzalez drop lower in the order against left-handers. Especially if the next guy plays to his capabilities.
Projected Stat Line:
.280/18 Home Runs/95 RBI/60 Runs Scored