Astros: Let’s admire Marwin Gonzalez for a moment

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 19: Marwin Gonzalez
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 19: Marwin Gonzalez /

One Astros batter has arguably been the team’s MVP up to this point in the season.

If I recall correctly, Marwin Gonzalez made his major league debut in 2012. The Astros won 55 games that season. The NBC hit show, “The Office“, was finishing its first full season without Steve Carrell. The uniform set was still brick red-and-black. I was in the process of looking for my first full-time professional job.

Holy crap; I feel old now.

And I also realize how much I miss Steve Carrell playing the role of Michael Scott. I feel a Netflix binge coming on after this post.

Anyway, the Astros rebuild was on. And Gonzalez had a prime seat for the action.

Over time, it became evident that Gonzalez had the capability of being a serviceable major league player. Sure, I wasn’t expecting a player producing a massive WAR or anything. But for a rebuilding club, you couldn’t be picky on who could make the team better.

For his first few seasons, though, Gonzalez had the look of a below-to-slightly-above replacement level player. Per Fangraphs, Gonzalez posted the following WAR from 2012-16: -0.4, -0.4, 0.9, 1.6 and 0.3. Exactly a two-win player in his first 516 games as a major league player.

Then 2017 happened.

In 287 plate appearances this season, Gonzalez has posted a career-high 17 home runs and a .963 OPS. You can argue that he has been one of the most valuable Astros batters this season. He actually proved this point last night when he pinched-hit for Collin Moran. The end result is worth noting.

Thanks in part to his home run last night, the Astros were propelled to their 65th win of the season when it appeared that they wouldn’t. While it was extememly unfortunate what happened to Moran, Gonzalez proved why he is a key piece to the roster this season.

In fact, one could make an argument that he is more valuable this season than numbers stars in the game today.

Per Fangraphs, Gonzalez has already exceeded his career WAR this season at 2.2. In fact, he has more than doubled his career WAR in less than half of a season in terms of games played. For comparison sake, his 2.2 WAR currently exceeds the following names: Manny Machado, Robinson Cano and Evan Longoria.

Heck, Gonzalez was tied with Francisco Lindor in WAR yesterday.

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I believe it is fair to say that Gonzalez’s 2017 season has been a welcomed, yet unexpected surprise. And this is why we should appreciate the season Gonzalez has had up to this point in time. This type of production isn’t guaranteed in future seasons. So I suggest you, the fan or casual observer, to soak it all in.

**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and**