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Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .359 and on pace for 151 RBIs

Jun 23, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

Boston Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez is congratulated after hitting a solo home run against the Minnesota Twins during the fifth inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston Reuters

Adrian Gonzalez totaled eight hits in three games while facing the Padres for the first time since they traded him to the Red Sox in December and now leads the league in batting average (.359), RBIs (69), hits (109), and doubles (25) while ranking among the top three in slugging percentage (.609), OPS (1.019), and runs scored (55).

Gonzalez’s raw numbers were severely deflated by playing half his games in San Diego’s extremely pitcher-friendly ballpark, as his road numbers always dwarfed his home production. That has all changed now that Gonzalez is calling Fenway Park home, as he’s hit .380 with a 1.025 OPS in Boston.

Gonzalez has always been one of the truly elite hitters in baseball, but now his home ballpark is actually allowing his raw numbers to show his greatness. In addition to the .359 batting average Gonzalez is on pace for 151 RBIs, which would be the eighth-highest total since 1950. He’s also on pace to join Lou Gehrig, Chuck Klein, and Joe Medwick as the only players in baseball history to hit .350 or higher with 30-plus homers, 50-plus doubles, and 150-plus RBIs. Medwick was the last guy to do it … in 1937.

  1. Jonny 5 - Jun 23, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    He’s just trying to make up for Crawford.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 23, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      He’s doing a good job at that.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 23, 2011 at 12:00 PM

        Indeed he is. His hit tracker from Petco superimposed over his new ballpark told this story before it even happened. But then again Crawford showed improvement as well by the same standard.

    • stoankold - Jun 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM

      Make up for Crawford in what way? I really hope you’re referring to Crawford’s current DL stint and not one bad month in April.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:21 PM

        Please dude. He’s been wayyyyy below “Crawford standards” all season long, and he’s now DL’d his ops is lower than it ever has been. Let’s be realistic 2011 has been a bad season for him so far. It is what it is.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

        Triple slash numbers:

        ’11 – .243/.275/.384
        Career – .294/.334/.441

        Iso, SLG, BB%, LD% and others are all below career norms.

      • stoankold - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:29 PM

        Keep in mind that last season was his best season ever and not his normal season.

        This season, he was atrocious in April (.431!! OPS), there’s no denying that. May (.810) was above his career norm (.775) and June (.761) was a touch below. One month does not a season make.

        Case in point, the 2009 version of David Ortiz. Terrible first two months with OPS marks of .623 and .520. I’m willing to bet teams that played him in the final four months didn’t think he was having a terrible season though. With OPS numbers of 1.062, .845, .825, and .947.

        There are highs and there are lows throughout the baseball season. Crawford is a good player and has been playing as such for 2/3 of the season so far.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:57 PM

        There is no doubt he’s a great player, It’s just that we are almost to the halfway point and he’s still below replacement level this season. If it’s one month that did it to him so be it. He’s a great player but he isn’t living up to expectations thus far imo. If you think he is, that’s ok, i guess. His war is still – .

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:10 PM

        This season, he was atrocious in April (.431!! OPS), there’s no denying that. May (.810) was above his career norm (.775) and June (.761) was a touch below. One month does not a season make.

        But don’t look at his OPS, since he plays half his games at Fenway. Here’s another set of numbers:

        April – .204
        May – .328
        June – .298

        That’s his OBP for each month. That’s horrible for the highest paid LF in the game. The comparison to Ortiz is valid though as he could heat up and make this year far better. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case so far.

      • stoankold - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:12 PM

        I guess all I’m saying is that while he is indeed having a below average season, it really boils down to just a ridiculously bad April. Since then, he’s been the normal Carl Crawford.

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 23, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    No doubt he is (and has been) an awesome hitter. However, we should always take “on pace for” stats with a giant grain of salt. Remember Ubaldo was on pace for 30 wins after half a season last year, Matt Kemp was on pace for 40-40 last year, and lots of other guys had great first thirds or halves of the season, only to not sustain quite the same level of achievement for the duration.

    So while celebrating how awesome Gonzalez has been thus far, I don’t know if we should throw him in with Gehrig and Medwick just yet.

    • Ari Collins - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:36 PM

      Yeah, the “on pace for” things are always a bit ridiculous.

      ZIPS, which projects for the rest of the season, taking into account a player’s history (including weighing the season they’re currently in the middle of), has A-Gone ending the season at .342/.409/.591 with 33 HRs, 49 2B, and 136 RBIs, all of which sounds pretty reasonable to me. In other words, he’s only likely to hit one of those .350/30/50/150 numbers, and almost definitely not all 4.

      ZIPS does project him to win the batting title and RBI crown, though. And probably the MVP.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:59 PM

        Like being “on pace” to win 100 games? 😉 Huh Ari?

      • Ari Collins - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:44 PM

        Heh. We’ll see. I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong in the Phillies’ case! But I’d probably still bet they end up more like 95-98.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:46 PM

        c’mon, don’t be so cranky. Just next week we get to see the two hottest teams go at it. Aren’t you excited yet?

      • Ari Collins - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:58 PM

        Hell yeah. Here’s hoping Beckett’s over his flu! Could be some great pitching matchups.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 23, 2011 at 4:06 PM

        Yup, here’s to Beckett getting over his flu. (owww, that hurt me to type, brain shrinking….)

        I’d rather see the best the Sox can throw at them, it’s just better that way.

  3. aceshigh11 - Jun 23, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    This guy is scary-good right now. I couldn’t believe it when I pulled up the box score and saw he went 4-for-4 yesterday. Just a total monster at the plate.

  4. frankvzappa - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Gonzo is the real Albert Pujols

    • frankvzappa - Jun 23, 2011 at 5:10 PM

      no thumbs downs at all? you guys are losing it…

      • marshmallowsnake - Jun 23, 2011 at 7:02 PM

        I do not know if he is the real Pujols…as that is Pujols, but he taken over for him this year, for sure!

  5. icanspeel - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Adrian is a franchise player the Padres wish they could have afforded. He is a great guy, has a great swing, plays great defense and will make the Red Sox glad they have him locked up

  6. FC - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    If Petco park can seriously depress a guys career numbers in that fashion then the Padres should really consider moving in those outfield walls. I mean they already struggle offensively. I’m not saying go in the other direction, but make an analysis of what would be the average and move a little closer to that. There’s a fine line between Pitcher-Friendly and Hitter-Hostile…

  7. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    Small sample size caveat obviously, but here’s his ’11 split:

    RHP – .384/.432/.719
    LHP – .307/.386/.386

    Hitting LHP much better than before, but absolutely zero power

    Home – .380/.424/.601
    Away – .336/.396/.616

    Sheesh, doing damage both home and away so he’s not a product of his new ballpark.

  8. 5thbase - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    I don’t follow the contracts that closely, but is Adrian making less than the guy playing 1B for the Yankees who’s hitting 100 points lower and has very obvious and ugly holes in his swing?

    I thought coming into this year that Adrian is the best all around hitter right now in baseball and I expected huge numbers from him getting out of Petco. While Bautista’s continued performance has made me question that, I would still take Gonzalez overall. And I predict that whoever doesn’t win the AL MVP this year will rank way up on the list of the best seasons without being MVP.

    • Ari Collins - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      $22.5M annually for Teixeira from here on out versus a $22M AAV for Adrian beginning next year. Both contracts run through their Age 36 seasons.

      Adrian looks better now than Tex, but he’s two years younger. He may end up with the same dropoff when he hits Tex’s age. For what it’s worth, though, Adrian is better now than Tex was two years ago.

  9. addictedzone - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    First since Medwick? Well that’s just Ducky!

  10. mrklutch - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    I definitely thought he wouldn’t play up to his contract or expectations. I was wayyyyy off. Been better than what I thought. Very easily makes up for Crawford.

  11. dirtyharry1971 - Jun 23, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    it’s early yet, the guy is in a new league, most of the pitchers never faced him before, give it time cause this guy isnt a .350 hitter, no freaking way and when its all said and done he wont be and he wont have the same power numbers he had in the NL either.

    • marshmallowsnake - Jun 23, 2011 at 7:04 PM

      You may be right…but with the way he can pepper that wall in Boston…he may become one.

    • Ari Collins - Jun 23, 2011 at 11:50 PM

      Not sure if it’s true or not, but pitchers are generally supposed to have the advantage when you switch leagues.

      Mostly,we’re just seeing what happens when you take one of the best hitters in baseball out of a park that’s death to hitters.

      And while Fenway is great for LHH AVG and 2Bs, it’s actually hard for LHHs to hit homers there.

    • marshmallowsnake - Jun 27, 2011 at 5:57 PM

      You are crazy about the power numbers talk too…his numbers away from Petco were so much better! Now, he will always be away from there…this is where he becomes one of the best, if not the best in the game.

  12. seeingwhatsticks - Jun 26, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    You have to give the Red Sox front office a lot of credit for discovering this guy Adrian Gonzalez. I had never heard of him before they traded for him so I’m really surprised at what he’s been able to do, especially given how hard it is to produce in the AL East. It really is remarkable to watch a guy go from unknown and bad to great just from the passion of the fans in Boston.

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