A year after hitting 40 home runs and reintroducing himself as one of the better players in the National League, Carlos Gonzalez followed up his 2015 with a .298/.350/.505 season, a comparable OPS+ of 110 and 100 RBI (the most important stat of all). CarGo has transformed his oft-injured image into a perennial lineup threat who continues to play good outfield defense.
For the Rockies, Carlos’ health has been a welcome addition to the team’s quick turnaround after the trade of Troy Tulowitzki. His monster second half in 2015 helped fuel optimism and his continued stable health in 2016 has surged the potential for this team in 2017.
Gonzalez’ 2016 started about as hot as anyone’s ever, with hits in his first 11 games and 18 of his first 23. If it weren’t for Trevor Story’s incredible run through April, CarGo’s month would’ve taken center stage for Rockies fans.
A slight dwindle in power was hardly noticeable as Gonzalez racked up 174 hits, his highest since his batting title season of 2010. Gonzalez may not be the generational talent we all believed we saw in 2009, but he is a very good hitter — and will likely continue to be a very good hitter through 2017.
The presence of CarGo, the last surviving member of the 2009 Playoff Rockies, on the roster is more than just the fact he’s a good hitter. After the trade of Troy Tulowitzki, CarGo could’ve become frustrated; he could’ve voiced criticisms and demanded a trade. He could’ve done a lot of things that some could argue were justifiable in the aftermath of Tulo’s departure. He didn’t.
He hit 40 home runs, he smiled and spoke to the press, he worked hard in spring training and raved about young players like Trevor Story. Carlos Gonzalez, more than any other player outside Arenado, made it feel good to support the Rockies again.
He continued that in 2016. CarGo represented the Rockies in the home run derby, he was just as flashy, fun, and good as ever. Carlos may not be the perennial MVP candidate he looked like when he came up, but he has a hell of a pretty swing and a bat drop that makes you believe in the power of love again.
Nobody really knows what Carlos’ future will be. There have been rumors of an extension; there have been rumors of a trade; there have been rumors he’ll be moved to first base. For now, he’s the Rockies’ starting right fielder, a middle of the lineup run producer, and a fan favorite.
If Carlos is traded, it will be a bitter moment, an end to the good ol’ days. But for now, he’s here. He could still do this.