Looking At Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez: Fantasy Ace or Destined To Be A 2014 Bust?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Initially it was reported that Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez had signed a contract worth over $50 million with the Phillies. However, when concerns about his health came to light the contract was reworked to a three year, $12 million pact.

It could be a steal for the Phillies, especially with Gonzalez expected to open the season in the rotation. He has a deep arsenal of pitches, as he explained to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly (click here for the article):

“I have several pitches,” he said. “Fastball, curveball, changeup, cutter, splitter.”

He paused.

“Knuckleball. Sinker.”

That’s definitely a wide array of pitches. Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 (click here for his full Top 10 Phillies’ prospects) recently discussed Gonzalez arsenal, saying:

“I’m told he throws both a four and two-seam fastball that sits 91-93 MPH and tops out at 94. The two-seamer is the better of the two pitches and has some arm-side run with good sink that produces a lot of ground balls.”

A groundball pitcher in Philadelphia would be a good thing, but does he have the rest of the makeup to thrive? We will have to see if he is able to throw them all his pitches for strikes. Various reports have him not pitching much over the past 18 months, so there will obviously be some rust to shake off.

Despite that, if we use Clay Davenport’s translation of his stats in Cuba from 2011 we get a pitcher who would own a 6.5 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and allow over a hit an inning. Obviously it’s an inexact science, but those certainly aren’t numbers that are going to get us excited and certainly wouldn’t translate to being an elite pitcher.

You also have general health concerns, as Wilson describes his mechanics:

“The pitching mechanics are far from smooth with a high leg kick and a traditional drop-and-drive approach. He does throw from a high three-quarters delivery, which given his height, should allow him to get good plane on the pitch. The momentum is just ok with some recoil in his delivery that is not good for long-term health.”

According to Salisbury he had bone chips removed from his elbow nearly two years ago (January 2012). While that may not be a major concern, it has helped limit his time on the mound and you have to wonder if it could be a sign of future issues.

There are clearly a lot of risks involved in Gonzalez, whether it be his health, his stuff, his home ballpark or numerous other things. Without a guaranteed spot in the rotation, fantasy owners have got to be smart in their pursuit of him. In fact, given the layoff and the translation of his numbers from Cuba, I’d be inclined to pass on him outside of a taking a flier in dollar derby or as a late round selection. At this point, the risks far outweigh the reward for him to be anything more than that.

Sources – CSN Philadelphia, Prospect 361, Clay Davenport

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