We all know who the clear-cut first round selections are. It’s obvious that players like Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, Albert Pujols and a handful of others are going to be among the Top 12 selected on draft day. The questions really start to come in around pick nine or ten as things start to become extremely borderline. In this series of articles we will take a look at all of the options for the tail end of the first round of your draft and try to determine who should be selected and who we should wait until the second round to select.
We all know how talented Carlos Gonzalez is, but injuries have continued to handcuff him. While the overall numbers were impressive, he was limited to 127 games and has gained the unenviable label of injury risk. Does the upside outweigh the potential problems? Let’s take a look:
.295 (142-481), 26 HR, 92 RBI, 92 R, 20 SB
The Case For Him
Outfield is not as deep of a position as it once was. The number of potentially elite players at the position can basically be counted on one hand. In all honesty, there’s Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun and Jose Bautista, who basically belong in a class by themselves. You have Carlos Gonzalez, who is right there, along with Justin Upton and maybe Andrew McCutchen. Is there really anyone else who you can consider borderline “elite”?
That alone has got to make him at least a consideration for a spot in the first round.
We all knew that he wasn’t going to be able to maintain his .384 BABIP in ’10, meaning his .336 average was a pipe dream. However, he still backed up his breakout campaign with a solid average, as well as his second straight 20/20 season (even with the limited playing time).
Despite seeing time at the top of the batting order in 2011 (133 AB), you would have to think that he is going to again slide down to hitting third in front of Troy Tulowitzki. That spot will put him in line to go 100/100, if not better, just as he did in 2010.
In other words, we are talking about a player who has the potential to go 30/30/100/100. That’s a lot of reasons to give him consideration.
The Case Against Him
Injuries. That really is the only thing that those who want to delay taking him can base their decision on. Even if he simply matched his numbers from 2011 but did so over 575 AB, I don’t think there would even be a debate.
However, only once has he played over 130 games in a season. That is going to give owners reason to question if he can stay healthy for an entire year. When we are selecting in the first round we would all like to pick a sure thing. It’s hard to win your fantasy league in the first round, but it’s easy to lose it. The potential to miss significant time clearly is a potential detriment to your roster.
Very few players enter the 2012 season with the type of potential that Gonzalez has in both the power and speed departments. You throw in the ability to drive in runs, score runs and hit for a high average and there are too many things working in his favor. Yes, the fear of injury would make me pause, but look at what he did despite the injuries in 2011.
I would definitely recommend drafting a good extra outfielder, so you are prepared just in case he does miss some time once again. However, he has proven that he should be considered among the Top 12 players in the sport. At the tail end of the first round he is a no brainer.
What are your thoughts on Gonzalez? Do you think he belongs in the first round? Why or why not?
Make sure to check out all of our preliminary 2012 rankings: