Carlos Gonzalez, a consensus 1st-round pick is underrated? Absolutely.
In Yahoo! standard drafts, his Average Draft Position (ADP) is 8.7. Over at MockDraftCentral his ADP is 6.8. However, a case will be made to draft him 4th overall.
The top three players in almost every fantasy draft will be Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, and Miguel Cabrera, and probably in that order. They will be followed by Votto, Longoria, and Tulowitzki in some order. But Gonzalez offers a unique fantasy package that should go #4 in your draft. There are many viable fantasy options in the outfield, but Gonzalez offers true 5-category potential, more than any other player.
Analysis: Forget the Coors’ Field Factor. Gonzalez was far better at Coors Field (by a whopping 386 points in OPS), but the more impressive (and park-neutral) split is when he it 3rd in the lineup vs. leadoff.
Batting leadoff (44 games): .290, .785 OPS, 8 home runs, 22 RBI’s – 90 total bases
Batting third ( 90 games) : .358, 1.067 OPS, 25 home runs, 80 RBI’s – 241 total bases
To put that in perspective, Gonzalez has more total bases in 90 games batting third than Joe Mauer, Jason Heyward, or Scott Rolen had for their entire seasons. And remember, that .358 batting average is park-neutral and includes data from both home and away games, not just at Coors Field. Over a full season, Gonzalez could put up numbers that rival Larry Walker’s epic 1997 season. Draft him 4th (or even 3rd if you don’t have a “fifth” of confidence in Miguel Cabrera)
Projection: .345 / 44 home runs / 130 RBI’s / 110 runs / 28 steals – and a #1 ranking going into next season.