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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fantasy baseball: Carlos Gonzalez's curious draft-day fall

I had my rankings set, then decided to see where everyone else had Carlos Gonzalez in their top 10.

To my surprise, the Rockies outfielder consistently was ranked outside the top 10 by many experts, and his average draft position in leagues was 10.6.

At that point, I began to question my rankings -- which began with Albert Pujols, followed by Gonzalez, one spot ahead of consensus No. 2 overall choice Hanley Ramirez.

I decided to stay true to my rankings -- like a stubborn college football poll voter who refuses to acknowledge Boise State or TCU.

But I'm left wondering why a 26-year-old outfielder who batted .336 with 111 runs scored, 34 homers, 117 RBI, 26 stolen bases and a .974 OPS in 2010, his first full major-league season, would be considered a fringe top-10 pick.

Was it because Gonzalez is an outfielder, a position much easier to stockpile later in the draft, compared to third base (Evan Longoria) and shortstop (Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki)?

More likely it was because of Gonzalez's home-road splits in 2010.

In 300 at-bats at Coors Field, Gonzalez hit .380 with 26 homers, 76 RBI, 70 runs and a 1.162 OPS last season. In 287 at-bats on the road, he batted .289 with less-than-mediocre power numbers (eight homers, 41 RBI, .775 OPS). The only significant category in which Gonzalez was better on the road than at home was steals (16, compared to 10 at Coors Field).

My response: You still get those ridiculous Coors Field numbers half the time Gonzalez plays. In 865 at-bats in Colorado in 2009 and '10 (roughly a season and a half), Gonzalez scored 164 runs, stole 42 bases and had 47 homers and 146 RBI.

I had the last pick in the first round in the News-Herald fantasy league and didn't come close to getting Gonzalez. In a 14-team league, I also drafted 12th and missed Gonzalez by a couple spots.

If you nabbed Gonzalez outside of the top 10, it could prove to be one of the best picks of the draft.

If you passed on him for the likes of Longoria, a quick question: Why?

It's probably the same thing you want to ask me -- as in, Why, a week after the draft, are you still focusing on when Carlos Gonzalez went off the board?

Great point.

(By the way, Gonzalez is batting .444 with a 1.056 OPS in his first two games.)

(And how did Josh Hamilton last until the second round in most leagues?)

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