From a Fantasy perspective the contrasts between the NL West and the AL East, as well as those between spacious PETCO Park and the lefty-friendly Fens, make the Adrian Gonzalez move one of the most intriguing in recent years.
Analysis: The automatic assumption is that moving from a pitcher’s park to a place where talented lefties seem to pepper balls off of the Green Monster at will means a significant spike in Gonzalez’s slash line. After crunching the numbers and going over the evidence, I cannot argue with that premise. Most detractors to this theory pull out the “AL East argument” right away and, although A-Gone will be up against some pretty tough opponents in his new division, the NL West has sported some of the best arms in the game as of late. Keep in mind that Gonzalez has also spent the majority of his career in lineups that were nothing short of offensively anemic. Now surrounded by an impressive cast of characters and playing in front of one of the most passionate fan bases in all of baseball, Adrian is poised to take Beantown by storm.
Projection: All signs are positive for A-Gone in Boston. He may get off to a slow start in Spring Training, as he is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. However, everyone in Boston (including Gonzalez) has been exuding confidence that he’ll be ready for Opening Day. He may also be the center of attention for a few more weeks for contract-related issues, but a multi-year extension seems like a foregone conclusion at this point. All that aside, Adrian and the Red Sox seem like the perfect marriage for Fantasy owners. He may lose a few line drive home runs due to the height of The Monstah, but those can be made up by taking advantage of some of Fenway’s other cozy dimensions. Besides, those lasers off of the wall will just pad his doubles total even more. Take into consideration that 107 of his 168 career dingers have come on the road, and it becomes evident that a change of home venue instantly puts Gonzalez in perennial MVP contention. Look for 40+ home runs, 125+ RBI, and an OBP in the .415-.430 range this season. This is a player with the potential to produce like a top 5 pick, but may be obtainable somewhere within the 10th-15th pick range in some leagues.