Adrian Gonzalez disappointed a lot of fantasy owners with his poor 2017 season. With the Mets giving him a chance, can he rebound this season?
The New York Mets have finally decided to join the free agent this offseason. After two months of nothing, the front office made two moves to add bats to their offense. The first was to bring back Jay Bruce. The other was a bit of a surprise as they signed Adrian Gonzalez. At 35 years old, is there one more good season left in the tank?
Gonzalez had the worst season of his career. In just 71 games, he hit .242 with three home runs, 30 RBI and 14 runs scored. He also had 43 strikeouts, 16 walks and a .287 on-base percentage. At the end of April, Gonzalez hit .259 with zero home runs and 10 RBI. Any fantasy owner that had Gonzalez dropped him like a lead balloon.
He was drafted as the No. 15 first baseman in ESPN leagues with a 143.2 ADP. That equates to a 15th round pick in standard leagues. After the season he had in 2016, it makes sense why he was drafted as high as he was. Gonzalez hit 18 homers, 90 RBI and .285 in 156 games.
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Unfortunately, things did not go the way anyone planned. He finished 985th on the Player Rater, between Drew Rucinski and Felix Jorge. Who? Exactly. I didn’t even know the rater went that far down.
He finished with a lowly 10.3 percent ownership by season’s end. Those had to have been owners who gave up halfway through the season.
The Mets needed a first baseman for this season. Without Gonzalez, the in-house option would have been Dominic Smith.
In 49 games last season, he hit .198 with nine home runs, 26 RBI and 17 runs scored. He had a 50.4 ground ball rate, 7.7 walk rate and 26.8 strikeout rate.
Though Gonzalez hasn’t posted a walk rate above 10 percent since 2011, he can still get the ball off the ground and a few go over the fence. Even in his poor 2017 season, he had a 41.1 ground ball rate, 37.0 fly ball rate and 17.1 strikeout rate.
The Mets lineup with Gonzalez inserted doesn’t look great on paper but with Yoenis Cespedes, the young Amed Rosario and recently signed Bruce, runs could be scored in New York. The National League East doesn’t feature the greatest pitching rotations and two of the five parks rank in the top half for home runs.
Gonzalez may not hit another 30 to 40 home runs this season. However, as the Mets starting first baseman, he could get close to 20 with a .260 average. As your No. 3 first baseman or utility option, there are worse options to draft.