Appearing in all but five of Los Angeles’ 2013 regular season games, Gonzalez hit .293 with 22 home runs and 100 RBIs. He provided a veteran presence in the middle of a Dodgers lineup that saw little to no Matt Kemp, and provided a valuable mentor to sensation Yasiel Puig as the season progressed and Los Angeles made their historic run to the postseason.
His .803 OPS was in-line with most of his career marks, but there was so much more that Gonzalez offered to the Dodgers than the impact bat. His gritty approach to the game (he’s never been on the disabled list in his career) is something that balances out the eccentric behaviors of some of his Dodgers’ teammates. Then again, he’s known to chime in and have a little fun at times, as well. Just ask the St. Louis Cardinals‘ Adam Wainwright, who called Gonzalez’ actions in Game Four of the NLCS “Mickey Mouse”-like.
A.J. Ellis and Andre Ethier were the next-closest to Gonzalez’ 100 RBIs, with 52 apiece. This statistic alone shows just how powerful of an impact the former Red Sox first baseman has had in Hollywood. He no longer crushes balls with the same authority he once did, but still makes powerful contact regularly. In case you needed a refresher, just take a look at the bomb he hit in Game Five of the NLCS against St. Louis.
Gonzalez is the epitome of consistency, and there’s really no better way to describe it than by a quote by ESPN Los Angeles writer Mark Saxon.
Gonzalez’s swing has evolved since he underwent right shoulder surgery two years ago. He can’t drive balls out of the park to the opposite field as he once did. The strength isn’t there, the front-side stability. But he manages to do what the Dodgers pay him to do year after year: get hits with runners on base. Assuming he gets to 100 RBIs — and it will be close — he will have reached that mark in seven of the past eight years. The one time he missed, he had 99.
Here’s to the unsung hero of Hollywood earning what is rightfully his. A-Gone, 2013 National League Most Valuable Player.