Marwin Gonzalez Deserves a Chance to Start


In general, the entire left side of the Astros is considered problematic. The Astros truly do not have anything that resembles an everyday left fielder. Robbie Grossman would probably be best as a fourth outfielder, while L.J. Hoes looks like he needed a lot more time in the minors. Matt Dominguez just could not hit, and actually regressed from his performance in 2013. Shortstop, specifically Jonathan Villar, was also a black hole offensively, as he just could not get on base enough to use his excellent speed.

With that being the case, it is thought that shortstop could be a possible area to upgrade in the offseason. However, it may be that the Astros have their shortstop already on the roster in Marwin Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, who appeared at five different positions last season, acquitted himself quite well defensively at short. Despite being on the short end of the time share with Villar, Gonzalez was worth six more defensive runs saved and outranked Villar at virtually every defensive category.

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Not only was Marwin Gonzalez solid defensively, he performed well at the plate as well. While Jonathan Villar only produced a .209/.267/.354 batting line with seven home runs and 17 stolen bases, Gonzalez hit at a .277/.327/.400 rate with six home runs. Granted, Gonzalez does not have the speed that Villar displayed, but he also was not a black hole in the lineup either.

Even though Gonzalez may not be the most exciting player, or even someone that one would normally consider as a starter, he may be good enough to hold the fort for another year or so. Given the plethora of holes that the Astros need to fill this offseason, should Gonzalez be able to replicate his performance in an expanded role, it could be a major help going forward.

Marwin Gonzalez may even be able to be that bridge to Carlos Correa, who might be another year or two away from making his debut in Houston. If so, Gonzalez may prove to be even more valuable than one would have expected the utility player to be.

The Astros have a lot of holes to fill, but shortstop may not be one of them. It may be time to give Marwin Gonzalez a look as the Astros starting shortstop.