Houston Astros Countdown: Top Five “Sixth” Men for A.J. Hinch
If you were to name an MVP for the Astros 2017 season right now, Marwin Gonzalez has to be near the top of the list.
First of all, Gonzalez has turned himself into an everyday player just because of his versatility on the baseball diamond. So far in 2017, he has played left field, right field, first base, third base and second base. Oh, I almost forgot. Gonzalez came into the league primarily as a shortstop.
Margo goes Fargo
Second of all, offensively, Gonzalez has been on fire. After only 27 games this season, he has hit nine home runs, four away from surpassing his career high 13 home runs in 2016, and driven in 21, scoring himself 11 times. He is hitting .270, leading the team in OPS at 1.037, .185 points higher than Gattis who is in second place.
The increased offensive production may have something to do with his increased patience at the plated. His walk percentage has sky-rocketed from just over four percent in 2016 to 12.2 percent this season. He is also taking fewer swings, lowering his swing percentage by 8.6 percentage points. However, his strike zone contact percentage is up to 92.3 percent, his highest since his rookie season in 2012.
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In summary, Gonzalez, playing nearly every day at nearly every position on the baseball diamond, is being more selective at the plate, giving him better pitches to hit, which is increasing his power. In fewer words, Gonzalez is becoming one of the best utility players in all of baseball.
***Stats provided by MLB.com, Baseball-Reference, and FanGraphs***