Alex Gonzalez

He is what he is — a pretty-good glove man who avoids being a total offensive zero by poking a few homers and a few doubles. Last year he had career highs with 23 and 42 respectively, but most of the homers came in Toronto, and he only slugged .386 in Atlanta. (But the AL is the tougher league.) Not only does he hit for a low average (career .248 and 2010 .250) but he walks little (career and 2010 OBP of .291) he has basically no peripheral offensive skills; a bad bunter, slow, doesn’t put the ball in play. Should never, ever, hit anywhere but seventh in a National League order; you need someone who will take a walk hitting eighth, and anywhere higher than seventh you’ll lose a lot of baserunners to his myriad outs. Despite all that, he’s probably above the median for a shortstop. He’s also the only thing like a major league shortstop in the organization, so the Braves had no choice but to exercise his option.

He is a pretty good defensive player, with above-average range and an average fielding percentage. Some systems have him pretty much equal to Escobar, but I don’t agree. Working with four different third basemen and three different second basemen couldn’t have been easy, and Gonzalez meshed with some better than others. This year, second base should be set all the time, but with Uggla’s poor range Gonzalez will have his work cut out for him even if Chipper is still mobile.

Most-similar player continues to be Alex Gonzalez, by a wide margin; they actually qualify as “unusually similar” even without the name thing. Gonzalez washed out of the majors for good at 33; Gonzalez will be 34.

Alex Gonzalez Statistics

106 thoughts on “Alex Gonzalez”

  1. “Gonzalez washed out of the majors for good at 33; Gonzalez will be 34.” I like this sentence. It would be even better if you used their shared first name.

  2. It might have been a SSS but it looked like AAG was pretty good at the sac bunt this past year. Mac, are you basing the “not a good bunter” line on bunting for hits?

  3. Is it just my National League bias, or is it true that the pitching in the NL is dramatically better than in the AL?

  4. From previous thread:

    All the Soriano and Hoffman news this week has me thinking about our closer situation. We all *know* Wagner is done but I am wondering… Since a lot of people are saying Hoffman retiring makes it harder for Wagner to get in the HoF, could that possibly be the last bit of nudging Wagner needs to stick around for one more year? If he pitches this year then presumably he would get his shot at the HoF the year after Hoffman gets in and maybe that makes his chances of getting in even better since Hoffman will “pave the way”. Deep inside I know it’s wishful thinking but maybe, just maybe…

  5. Wagner sure sounded happy about heading to the farm, but I know what you mean. Worth a phone call, for sure.

  6. Off topic…

    Anyone with ESPN insider care to share why NBA scouts get squeamish about Fredette?

    I assume that it’s lateral quickness on defense, worries about ability to create his own shot, and that he’s not really a PG.

    Anything else? Thanks in advance.

  7. “Alex Gonzalez” is one of only 3 names to be shared by two unrelated players with over 5,000 career plate appearances each.

    The others are:

    George Burns
    Frank Thomas

  8. oh yeah Marc, I forgot about that… and Wikipedia tells me he claimed he chose that name because of the ball players (at least in some interviews).

  9. 12 – Love me some Jimmer time. Here were the negatives of the article:
    Lacks the lateral quickness and point guard speed
    Too small to play 2G in NBA (more like a Euro 2G)
    One dimensional (think Eddie House)
    Unique skillset hard to evaluate and draw comps to (think Steph Curry)
    Won’t be able to get to the basket in the NBA

    In the end they think he’ll go higher than mock drafts currently have him (like Pyscho T). They also say he showed well in workouts last year against top notch competition. He was more athletic in person than people anticipated. Overall it sounded like a positive eval.

  10. 23 — Thanks for the run down. I expect some team could use his shooting off the bench.

    I’m just hoping that BYU will make a good run in the tournament (I could actually see them play that way). Their post play is off and on, they’re better at running than a half-court style, and I don’t believe they can survive a bad shooting night. But, they play good defense and if they’re shooting even ok, they’ll be a tough out.

  11. Greetings from Anaheim…

    Walking this massive NAMM convention, it’s easy to notice today that the most-rocked MLB cap, by far, is SF Giants. The NoCal folk are showing out big-time.

    Go Falcons.

  12. Interesting… convention’s in Anaheim but the cap of choice is the Giants. Do we think that the Giants are going to take off in California the way the Red Sox have in New England, with pink Giants hats for ladies and baby Giants pullovers for infants in strollers?

  13. Joe Posnanski’s column today on mentions that Dale Murphy in 1987 (which was not one of his MVP years) reached base in 74 straight games, which is tied for the third best streak in Major League History. 1, Ted Williams, 84 games-1949, 2, Wade Boggs, 81 games-1985 3T, Murphy 3T, Joe Dimaggio, 74 games-1941, Yes, the Dimaggio 56-game hit streak. Not to shabby of company for a guy that HOF voters equate as not being close to being the equal of Lee Smith.

  14. Ryan, thanks for that article about Chipper. Besides shaking off some rust, he makes a point I never thought of. Maybe 6 months off really can recharge his batteries better than the regular 3 month offseason and he’ll be a bit more productive than we think.

  15. Alright, you’ve heard the last from me about this VU hoops team, unless we make and win a game in the Tourney, or something. Mental weakness. What a shame.

  16. I think UT ought to go ahead and do it – make Summit the head coach of the Men’s team. I’m serious.

    Sometimes the right thing to do is right in front of your face.

  17. Didn’t get to see the UT / Vandy game, but I’m told the Vols came back from 17 down? Really?


  18. Stu,
    Your team’s good. I’d be talking about ’em, too.

    George Harrison? No, I’m pretty tied down with the show. At this rate, I’ll just be happy to plop down in front of a TV for the Falcons game.

    Lotsa rock folk here & usually I’m too busy to care that much—although there are some amusing sightings—but I was a little bit thrilled yesterday to be introduced to Eddie Kramer, Jimi Hendrix’s producer. He was amazingly cool & willing to discuss whatever. I walked off to my next meeting with a skip in my step.

    FWIW, nobody here thinks Atlanta’s gonna beat Green Bay. The Falcons are the one team I never get cocky about. Whenever things are going well, I always expect disaster around the corner (like Jet fans should). But I’d sure love to see them break outta that tonight.

  19. The George Harrison exhibit is at NAMM in the Gretsch booth – they are rolling out a replica of his first electric guitar, and have the original and a bunch of other stuff there.

  20. @35,

    Tennessee played terrible in the first half and then played great, especially on D in the second half.


    It was a clash of titans. I went to the game. It was great. I think Vandy is much better on D than people realize.

  21. He is and always has been a choking loser when it comes to big games.

    And Van Gorder must be incapable of learning anything. EVERY time he rushes three, the Falcons get burned.
    EVERY time.

  22. Well, I’ll be rooting for the Packers past this week. I’d rather them win it all than anyone else left.

    Rogers is such a great player… It still stings to see the Falcons fail so hard when it mattered. They really beat themselves tonight.

  23. @47 Ryan has had a lot of huge comebacks in his short career, he’s obviously a great player. But his mistakes were the beginning of the end in this game and he definitely had a dud of a game two postseasons ago against Arizona. I wouldn’t call him a bad big game QB at all, but he is off to a dubious start when it comes to the playoffs.

  24. Ryan played awful, the defense played worse. You can’t let the offense off the hook with four turnovers and less than 200 yards.

  25. Sorry if I’m pinning it all on Ryan, obviously the defense was atrocious. I don’t think the Packers had to punt all night. Just depressing all around.

    And Mac, at least 14 of those points were caused by Ryan’s turnovers. The underthrow on the possible TD pass would have at least been a field goal, and obviously the pick-six, which was awful.

  26. The Packers had to drive eighty yards to score after the first half interception. I don’t think that’s really a “points off of turnovers” situation.

  27. Well, the first pick cost the Falcons a field goal. The second gave the Packers 7 and, again, cost the Falcons a field goal. So let’s call it 13 points off turnovers. In the end, the halftime score could have been 21-20 and not 28-14. But would it have mattered? Rodgers was on target and the secondary was nowhere to be seen… all the while Van Gorder rushed only three or four.

    Had Ryan played great it would have obviously gone better but the Packers, clearly the better team, would have still won the game. Now, Ryan gets to spend all offseason with questions about his post-season abilities, his ability to shoulder the burden (the way Rodgers, Brees, and Manning all do), his ability not to crack under pressure, etc. And those are fair questions. Honestly, in the back of your minds, have any of you ever wondered if the Falcons’ conservative offense has been to hide some of his deficiencies?

  28. Right. Which is basically what I said: had Ryan played great the Falcons would have lost anyway. But as it happened, he played pretty poorly when it mattered and so people will obviously–and fairly–talk about that too.

  29. I hate every team that’s still in the playoffs this year except Green Bay. I hope Rogers has a couple more games like tonight left in him.

  30. Watching the Falcons game was almost like a continuation of the first encounter with the Packers. In the first game Rodgers picked us apart at will, but a turnover cost the Packers the game. On that day they were the better team and so last night’s game should not have surprised anybody. For what it is worth, I wish the Falcons would have used more blitzes, but I am sure Van Gorder had his reasons for being more conservative. Maybe more pressue would have backfired, but what we got looked at least to me like a replay or an extension of the first game. Watching Rodgers methodically cut us up the second time was no less frustrating–but, of course, the consequences were much greater….

  31. The Falcons had no clue how to stop the Packers’ offense. Rodgers made is so easy.

    Terrible day for Atlanta. Good that the Braves are not playing.

  32. My hate of the Jets is irrational for a 38 year old. I bought a Patriots hat to wear when i bartend tonight just to piss off the Jets fans.
    It may cost me some tip money but if the Patriots win it will be worth it.

  33. Stephen – Rodgers was a much better player last night than in November. Moreover, up until the fourth quarter in that first matchup, the two teams were even statistically. Ryan played a great game, the O-line played really well, and the Falcons defense got off the field a few of times. Last night was totally different.

    To be sure, someone who watched Rodgers shred the Falcons’ secondary in a losing effort should not have been surprised by a Packers’ win. But nobody could have expected this kind of debacle. It’s the scale of it–not only the margin of victory but the sheer domination on both sides of the ball, on both lines–that is so crazy.

  34. #65–I did not expect a debacle, but I was not really surprised either….The two games developed differently–but Rodgers mastery of the Falcons’ defense was one of the common features of both. You are certainly right–it hardly helped that Ryan had the game he had….

  35. Epstein has a logjam at SS. Wren should be making some phone calls to see what it would take to scoop up Lowrie.

  36. 66 – I guess I got so used to seeing the Falcons play in close games that I somehow ignored the possibility of them getting blown out, at home, with an extra week of rest.

    On another note, I also took it for granted that Mike Smith was the superior coach, but whether that’s true or not turned out to be, and actually always was, irrelevant: McCarthy is a better offensive playcaller than Mularkey, and Capers is light years ahead of Van Gorder in his scheming. Light years.

  37. Michael Turner isn’t getting any younger. The Chargers used to use him as their “fourth quarter” running back, to be employed once the opposing defense was tired from running down LT. I wonder whether Smith would consider moving him back to that role. Snelling might not be an All-Pro, but he can catch the ball and it doesn’t take him a half an hour to change directions.

  38. Capers is light years ahead of Van Gorder in his scheming. Light years.

    Yeah, but does Capers look like a ’70s movie villain?

  39. While it’s true that you can’t give up 48 points (on mostly long drives) and blame the outcome on your QB, Ryan’s 3 end-of-the-half plays really turned the game over to Green Bay in a hurry.

    The first INT cost the Falcons points (and possession time, the game’s precious commodity while the Falcons were ahead or tied). The sack he took after GB’s TD put them in a bad position (on the fringe of FG range with 10 seconds left and no TOs) to throw that disastrous out pattern/pick 6.

    With Rodgers getting the ball first in the second-half, it was hard not to believe that the game was over if GB scored, and they did.

  40. Making Snelling our featured back isn’t a particularly good idea IMO (Turner is clearly better), but I will say I wouldn’t be shocked to see us take a running back in the draft relatively soon. Having Norwood healthy for once would also be big.

    I remain unimpressed with Brian VanGorder. Mularkey’s gotten most of the coordinator criticism, but VanGorder’s the real problem. Anytime we want to hire an actual NFL defensive coordinator, that would be great.

  41. The Pack’s offense was humming last night. I think one of the real difference makers for them was Rodgers’ ability to evade the pass rush. Time after time, he’d just barely spin out of a sack and make a big throw.

  42. You’d think they’d rather move Scutaro, but I guess if Iglesias is the next thing for the Sox, you might as well move Lowrie if you could get something.

  43. I think there is only one team that has a shot to beat the Packers right now.

    A Pats Pack Superbowl will be fun to watch

  44. After his playing days, Delino DeShields Sr decided that he was a rapper, and hired a friend of mine to set up a studio in his home and teach him how to use the software, which he then tried to refuse to pay for because he couldn’t get the hang of it. (Payment was eventually received after threat of lien.)

  45. “I remain unimpressed with Brian VanGorder. Mularkey’s gotten most of the coordinator criticism, but VanGorder’s the real problem. Anytime we want to hire an actual NFL defensive coordinator, that would be great.”

    I’m not going to defend Van Gorder; hell, I already bashed him above. But it should be noted that Mularkey absolutely is a huge problem. The Falcons have most of their top shelf talent on the offensive side of the ball, and they are second to last in the league in plays over 20 yards. Game planning against them cannot be that hard. They never stretch the field and it’s clear that defenses know it, as they crowd the receivers at the line of scrimmage in a way that must look completely mysterious to Falcons fans who watch their own defense routinely play soft coverage (to protect against big plays).

    Basically, the Mularkey offense really only makes sense when coupled with a great defense–like in Pittsburgh. It’s not built for shootouts and assumes there won’t ever be one. And the Falcons, of course, just don’t have that kind of defense.

  46. #80

    Agreed. It should be noted that our skill position players as a group have below-average speed.

  47. Am I allowed to use the word “mediocre” as a noun, the way that people use the word “great”?
    For Example: Delino Deshields Jr., son of Major League mediocre Delino Deshields, was arrested on DUI charges Friday in Athens Georgia.

  48. I realize that, but I don’t think you read my example. You wouldn’t say “former major league greatness Hank Aaron.”

  49. While I’m not Mularkey’s biggest fan, I have a tough time blaming him for the lack of big-play ability when, toward the end of the season, we really didn’t have that capability. Jerious Norwood is, theoretically, our big play running back, and the last year that he was actually on the field for the majority of the season (2008), it worked out pretty well. Without him, our running game is very grind-it-out in nature. At receiver, Roddy White is really our only big-play type guy, and he was apparently more limited than was publicized after banging up his knee midway through the season. Also, our grind it out offense was very effective. I can only think of three or, at most, four games where we had difficulty moving the ball, even against good defenses, and the second New Orleans game is the only one of those that came after early October. Even last night, we moved the ball on every possession when the game was still in doubt. I think if we had Norwood and an additional speedy receiver, Mularkey would adjust. Also, I’m not entirely convinced that some of the overly conservative nature doesn’t come from Mike Smith, but there’s really no way to prove that one way or the other.

    And yes, Hernandez and Young are probably the backup SS and CF, respectively, unless Jordan Schafer goes nuts in spring training…heh.

  50. I think we add another infielder. However, that we will probably add at the end of spring training.

  51. 83—I thought DOB or Peanut recently reported that Wren called Schafer the early favorite, but I may have just imagined that.

  52. Diory’s only reason for being on the club is as a backup SS. His bat provides nothing at the major league level and will completely handicap a bench if chipper has one of those injuries where he needs to sit 4-5 games but doesnt go on the dl.

    With that being said, I think Ed Lucas gets a serious look in spring. He’s shown great plate discipline the past 2 years and provides versatility off the bench. So what if he’s a below average SS. It’s not like AAG is going to sit unless he takes a trip to the DL. If AAG gets hurt during a game, I’d rather have a below average defender out there for 1/2 a game rather than have Diory on the team wasting space.

    And, I know that fielding % is not a good way to judge players’ defensive performances, however Ed’s and Diory’s are very similar (.008 differential).

    I’d take this bench:
    Ross, Hinske, Mather, Young, Lucas

  53. I still like the idea of Jordan Schafer, but I don’t believe in him for the same reason I don’t believe in McLouth anymore.


    Those are Nate’s and Jordan’s MINOR league numbers last year. Legit MLB players don’t have splits like that in the minors. Wish we could pass on both.

  54. Maybe, but his career minor league numbers are now 258/.326/.416 and he’s 24. I really hope he turns into a good player because we’ve all seen the flashes, but at some point you call a spade a spade.

  55. It is probably too early to give up on Jordan Schafer–but between the injuries and the off the field distractions, I would hardly blame the Braves if they moved him. Unfortunately, this is a situtation which was partly the Braves’ own making.

    The Braves had two young players (Blanco and Schafer)who might develop into CFs and in 2008 one demonstrated that while he would never be a star could still be a useful player. The other, who had already been suspended and carried a reputation for being difficult to deal with, but clearly had the higher ceiling and after a great AFL campaign became the darling of the organization. Schafer had never played AAA ball but became the annointed one. Instead of believing in Blanco the Braves invested prematurely in Schafer. The Braves went with Schafer he imploded and Blanco spent a good chunk of the season at AAA–a demotion, not suprisingly, that he did not handle particularly well and he was ultimately sent packing to KC. The Braves then traded for McLouth who did ok in 2009 but imploded in 2010 (not the organization’s fault) and so the Braves now have one player who was once pretty decent and another who was a prima donna (Schafer) who has never really made it. Going into 2011 the Braves are still in need of settling on a reliable CF….

  56. I’ll hold out hope that someday the Braves will acquire/develop an actual center fielder, but for now it looks like, yes, Young will be backing up our already defensively-challenged center fielder.

    Of course, if Chipper isn’t ready and Prado has to start the year at 3B, I have to think the team will look to get an actual outfielder. I suppose they can platoon Mather and Hinske, but they weren’t even giving Hinske time in LF when the other options last Fall were Melky and (slumping) Diaz, so it’s likely they won’t stick him out there now. I do believe the backup outfielders will play a bigger role for us this year than the backup infielder(s), and so I hope Wren makes a savvy move before April–the type of move that nets us a glove guy for CF who allows McLouth to slide over to Left when necessary.

  57. Blanco was never and will never be an every-day CF. He’s a guy you can have play there sometimes, and a decent 5th OF. But let’s be realistic here.

  58. this UNC team is infuriating. it’s got talent. it’s got guys who can get their own shots. but Roy seems, well, seems to be killing this team’s confidence.

    i’m probably the biggest UNC homer out there, but Roy’s looking like this should be a time for him to rethink how long he continues to coach.

  59. Schafer didn’t implode, he got hurt. He’s never played poorly when healthy.

    I understand Schafer fatigue — he strutted around like a punk his first spring training, got involved in some shady business, then injured his wrist and didn’t say anything about it, effectively (according to him) costing him two seasons. So he’s been taken down a couple of pegs, but maybe that’s just what he needed. It’s setting up to be the anti-Francoeur narrative.

  60. #101–Your narrative describes an implosion–How many times to you see a very good propsect lose two years because he didn’t know how to behave?

    Schafer was a talented propsect without any maturity and it caught up with him–both on and off the field.

    That said, he should be given a chance to regain his status first as a very good prospect and possibly a solid CF.

    #99–I don’t think it is beyond Blanco to have a couple of seasons where he could be a CF. In 2008 he had a respectable OBP for a rookie and he could probably develop into someone who could steal bases.

    FWIW, I would have taken the Blanco of 2008 over the McLouth of 2010…..

  61. It’s semantic, but when I think “implosion” I think of McLouth — a precipitous drop in performance lacking an obvious cause. Schafer hasn’t been able to swing without pain since the first week of ’09. Yes, the duration of the problem is due to his poor handling of the situation…but if there’s anyone who should now be suitably chastened, it’s him. His career is in serious jeopardy. But again, he’s always played well when healthy.

  62. Baseball America is ranking Minor as the fouth best Braves prospect, writing… “Minor should open 2011 as Atlanta’s fifth starter. He has a ceiling as a N0. 2 starter, though he may not serve in that role with so many power arms in front of him.”

  63. Mac,
    Diory will be 27 and Ed will be 29. There’s not a big difference there. Sure, Diory has the upper leg because he’s already on the 40-man, but what value does he bring to the club? I mean, aside from SS, where would he land on the depth chart for 2b and 3b? My guess is there would have to be at least 2 injuries before he got any playing time.

    And sure, it’s a sample size, but Diory has a .423 ops in 103 plate appearances. If Ed is the hitter that he has been the past 2 years, he could be very valuable being a 3rd option for every position.

    Compared to Diory, he’s a better hitter, better runner, can play more positions in the field, and is probably a bit worse of a SS. If the last part is the part this team values, then I guess Diory gets the spot. In my opinion, it’s dumb to handicap the bench with any player who’s only real capability is, “He can play SS okay”.

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