Marwin Gonzalez is batting .308/.391/.576 with 16 home runs, 29 runs scored, 53 RBI, and four stolen bases in 258 plate appearances. On the Razzball Player Rater, Gonzalez is the 62nd overall player. But it gets better. G is the 13th first baseman, ninth third baseman, and 26th outfielder. Holla! Is it sustainable?
The first thing that needs to be addressed is playing time, as G is a utility player. That’s not going to change. Well, he’s played in the last 12 games. Here’s a log for just the past week. LF, 2B, 1B, LF, SS, LF, and 3B. He was also batting fifth in the lineup for all but one of those games. In addition, G is a switch-hitter, which gives the Astros balance and flexibility in their batting order. The Astros will find a place for him to play as long as he keeps hitting, which segues nicely to our next question: Will G keep hitting?
The strikeout rate of 20.2% is nice. G has never been a high strikeout player, so no concerns there. The swinging strike rate is down from 12% to 7.8%. Mmmmm, delicious. That corresponds with an increase in overall contact rate from 75.1% to 80.9% and contact rate on pitches outside the strike zone from 57.8% to 70.8%. That O-Contact rate is a huge jump, but keep in mind that from 2012-2014 with the Astros, that number was in the 70% range.
What really gets me amped is the walk rate of 10.5% and 28.8% swing rate on pitches outside the zone. The walk rate throughout his career had been in the 4-5% range, while the O-Swing% was in the 35% range. The walk rate in particular is a huge jump and could be an outlier. On the other hand, it could also be due to a more refined, mature approach at the plate. G is entering his prime and the potent Astros lineup could afford him more opportunities to wait for his pitch.
Now, let’s get to some other things that stick out. The ISO is .268. G had previously never had an ISO above .163 in the big leagues. Looking at the batted ball profile, G is hitting a tick fewer ground balls while increasing the number the fly balls. In addition, the hard contact rate is down 3% while the soft contact rate is up 4%. That doesn’t sound good. BUT….he’s pulling the ball less and going up the middle and oppo more frequently. I love that kind of approach and makes me more inclined to believe the increased walk rate.
The .308 batting average is buoyed by an elevated .338 BABIP. The likely scenario is that some negative regression takes place, but even if it does, I can see a floor of around .280. Why? Due to what looks like a more patient and mature approach at the plate.
G is only owned in 75% of ESPN leagues. At Razzball? 97% ownership. Not a shocker. Anyways, I just felt like there wasn’t enough pub on G, considering how productive he’s been. I also wanted to get nostalgic and insert some Easy-E. RIP.