Nine to Know – Adrian Gonzalez (edited)

Adrian Gonzalez, who started his career with the Texas Rangers and became a superstar with his hometown San Diego Padres, is on the verge of bringing enormous life to the moribund Boston Red Sox lineup. The 28-year old, left hand batter. Is a three-time All-Star and is an outstanding first baseman who has never played a game in Boston but has an inside-out swing that should be ideal for Fenway Park. It should be noted that the Red Sox had a previous player, born in San Diego, who played for the Padres (1936-37) by the name of Ted Williams.

In the June Draft of 2000, Adrian was the first overall pick, chosen by the Marlins. His brother Edgar Gonzalez went in the 30th round to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Adrian was the first high school infielder taken #1 since Alex Rodriguez in 1993 and just the first baseman following Ron Blomberg in 1967. Adrian and Edgar both homered for the Pads on September 11, 2008. In July 2003 he was traded by the Florida Marlins with Will Smith (minors) and Ryan Snare to the Texas Rangers for Ugueth Urbina (who also pitched for the Red Sox). In January 2006 he was traded by the Texas Rangers with Terrmel Sledge and Chris Young to the San Diego Padres for Billy Killian (minors), Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka.

Gonzalez has a personal website found at www.agonzalez23.com.

Here’s Nine to Know:

  1. Gonzalez hit his first home run on April 25, 2004 against Kevin Jarvis (had initially been written as Pat Jarvis) of the Mariners while a member of the Texas Rangers. He’s hit two walkoff homers in his career (both with the Padres): the first against Edinson Volquez of the Reds on 5/25/2008 and the second, last season against the Mets’ Raul Valdes on June 2.Of his 168 homers, 101 have been away from San Diego’s spacious Petco Park. He’s hit to homers in a game 10 times in his career. He’s hit four grand slams, three of them last season. He’s had one five RBI game and one six RBI game, both last season. Gonzalez ends his Padres career with 161 homers just two shy of Nate Colbert‘s all-time team record. The current second place homer hitter who is on the active Padres roster is Chase Headley who has 32 homers.
  2. Red Sox Nation must be patient; Gonzalez is a better second-half hitter hitting .299 after the All-Star Game as opposed to .272 before.
  3. He is a lifetime .312 hitter with runners in scoring position and a .272 hitter with RISP and two outs.
  4. He has hit 46 of his homers to the opposite field, which should create an intimate relationship between the Green Monster and Gonzalez.
  5. Look for Gonzalez to be a doubles machine at Fenway. The Olde Ballpark led the majors in surrendering doubles last season and Gonzalez has hit more doubles (55) to left in his career than pulled them (48).
  6. Gonzalez is brutal when he gets ahead on the count, hitting. .343, as opposed to .213 when the pitcher is ahead. He hits righties at a .295 pace and lefties, .262. He is an even .300 with a full-count on him. His favorite innings to hit are the 5th (.319) and 6th (.310).
  7. His lifetime numbers are similar to Larry Doby: Gonzales has an .875 lifetime OPS, Doby’s was .876. Doby was a lifetime .283 hitter, Gonzalez is a lifetime .284.
  8. Looking for Mark Teixeira comparisons? Over the last four seasons, Teixeira has hit .290 with 135 homers, 456 RBI, and an .928 OPS while in the last four seasons, Gonzalez has hit .284 with 137 homers, 419 RBI, and an .894 OPS. Gonzalez played his first game in the the majors for the Texas Rangers on April 18, 2004 when Teixeira went on the DL. A-Gone picked up his first hit on April 20 when he singled to center off of Ramon Ortiz of the Seattle Mariners. When Teixeira came back from the DL, Adrian went back to the Class-AAA Oklahoma Red Hawks. He rejoined the big club in September and played in some games with Teixeira.
  9. Don’t expect speed from Gonzalez, no active player has as many plate appearances (3630) with fewer than Adrian’s one career stolen base. All-time, only catcher Gus Triandos, who played from 1953-65 has more plate appearances (4426) with just one stolen base. His only steal came on 4/28/09 at Coors Field off of Jorge de la Rosa and Yorvit Torrealba of the Rockies. It was a straight steal and it came with two out in the 6th after Gonzalez had singled. He has catcher’s speed; since 2006, he has hit into 92 double plays, the same amount as Jose Lopez, Victor Martinez and Ivan Rodriguez. He has eight career triples, the last in 2009.