After a largely unsuccessful 2017 season, long-time Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez did enough last September to earn a one year contract from Jeff Bridich and Colorado’s front office.
How is the signing looking through the first quarter of the season? Not great.
Through the Rockies’ first 43 games, the 32-year-old outfielder is hitting just .219 with four home runs and 13 RBI in 29 games. He’s one of the anchors contributing to Colorado’s historically bad offensive start, as he has been worth just 55 wRC+ and a .276 wOBA. His fWAR so far is -0.2.
So why did the Rockies take another chance on him after a poor 2017 performance?
The quick answer: His spectacular September.
Before the All-Star Break last season, Gonzalez hit a dismal .221/.299/.338 with six home runs and 22 RBI. He turned it around during the second half, though, highlighted by his last 24 games. During September, Gonzalez hit .377/.484/.766 slugging percentage, good for a 1.250 OPS. The hope was that he would be able to replicate that production this year. It hasn’t happened.
Where do the Rockies go from here?
More from Colorado Rockies News
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: 3 things we appreciated from Tuesday in San Francisco
- What Bill Schmidt’s comments mean for the Colorado Rockies in 2023
Obviously, the Rockies desperately need an offensive boost. The club waited for Gonzalez to come around the entire 2017 season, and barely made the postseason. Colorado finished one game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers, and was able to snag the second Wild Card spot. This is something they cannot afford to do again.
Many who are very closely following the Rockies have been clamoring for more starts for David Dahl, and the stats back it up. In just his second stint in the big leagues after missing the entire 2017 season due to injury, Dahl has been one of the few offensive bright spots for the Rockies. So far, he’s hitting .298/.355/.509 with two home runs. He’s been worth 119 wRC+, good for third on the team behind Nolan Arenado‘s 147 and Charlie Blackmon‘s 137, and 0.3 fWAR, which leaves him fifth behind Arenado, Trevor Story, Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu, all regular players.
Rockies manager Bud Black has started giving Dahl more starts, but mostly against right-handed pitching. More than double of his 57 at-bats so far have come against righties, 38 to be exact, but in order to continue Dahl’s development he needs to gain more experience facing southpaws.
The last thing the Rockies need is another player who can only produce against a certain handedness of pitcher. Gonzalez can’t hit lefties. His line is .206/.241/.321 line against them as opposed to a .283/.373/.463 line against right-handed pitching. Ian Desmond, while not hitting well in general this season, has an especially hard time against righties with a .141/.167/.304 line, versus a .222/.288/.426 line against left-handed pitching.
To make a long story short, it’s imperative that the Rockies give Dahl the time and the plate appearances to continue his development. In an era where the Rockies are starved for offensive production, they can’t afford to wait for struggling veterans to turn the corner.